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Drunk driving cases are not just handled in criminal court

Most people think that if they get charged with driving under the influence, the whole issue can be settled in a Texas criminal court. While the bulk of fighting a drunk driving case happens in criminal court, there is another side to it, of which many people are not aware. In order to fight to keep driving privileges following a DUI arrest in which one refused to submit to chemical testing or failed chemical testing, one has to go through an administrative hearing.

The Administrative License Revocation Program works to keep DUI offenders off the road. Anyone accused of driving under the influence but who failed to submit to breath or blood tests, or who failed these tests, could -- according to state laws -- lose their driving privileges for anywhere from 90 days to two years. Depending on the number of offenses on one's record, it could be longer.

When arrested for DUI, the arresting officer will give one a piece of paper with information about the ALR program. Unfortunately, a lot of people may disregard this information without even reading it. The simple truth of the matter is, after a DUI arrest, the offender only has about 15 days to request an ALR hearing. If a hearing is not requested or attended, one's license will be automatically suspended. It is at this hearing that, with legal assistance, one can fight any potential suspension time.

Failing to request a hearing in the appropriate time frame will result in any hearing requests submitted late being denied. If a hearing request is accepted, it can take up to 120 days for a hearing to be put on the books. Until then, one's driving privileges will remain intact.

Losing one's driving privileges can be a tough pill to swallow. It can make taking care of one's family and getting to work impossible. While fighting a drunk driving charge in a Texas criminal court is important, so is making sure one's administrative case is on track. A skilled legal representative can keep tabs on both the criminal and administrative side of things in order to take the necessary steps toward achieving the best outcome.

Source: dps.texas.gov, "Administrative License Revocation (ALR) Program", Accessed on Dec. 16, 2017

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John M. Petruzzi, Attorney at Law
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