Select your state


DMV hearings

A DMV (Department of Motor Vehicles) DUI/DWI hearing is an administrative hearing to determine whether the state should suspend the license (driving privileges) of a driver who has been charged with DUI/DWI. This hearing is also known as an “administrative per se” or “admin per se” hearing or an “administrative license revocation” or ALR hearing, and generally must be requested within a matter of days following the DUI/DWI arrest to challenge the automatic suspension of the driver’s license.

A defendant has the right to be represented by an attorney at such a DMV hearing—but unlike the criminal prosecution portion of a DUI/DWI charge, a defendant does not have a Constitutional right to counsel in an administrative DMV hearing and must hire an attorney (or be self-represented or pro se), as the state will not appoint an attorney to represent the defendant.

Laws regarding DMV hearings for driver’s license suspensions or revocations in DUI/DWI cases vary from state to state—including procedures and deadlines—and are generally located in a state’s statutes—often in the vehicle code, penal or criminal code, or administrative code.

In Texas, a DUI/DWI arrest can lead to an Administrative License Revocation (ALR) hearing, which is a civil administrative process separate from the criminal proceedings. The purpose of the ALR hearing is to determine whether the driver's license should be suspended due to the arrest. Drivers arrested for DUI/DWI have 15 days from the date of arrest to request an ALR hearing. If a hearing is not requested within this timeframe, the suspension goes into effect automatically. At the ALR hearing, drivers have the right to be represented by an attorney, but unlike in criminal cases, the state does not provide a court-appointed attorney for this hearing. The driver must either hire an attorney or represent themselves. The outcome of the ALR hearing does not affect the criminal DUI/DWI charges, which are handled separately in the criminal justice system.

Legal articles related to this topic