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suspended or revoked license

In most states a driver who is arrested for DUI/DWI will have their license confiscated by the arresting officer and it will be automatically suspended when the department of motor vehicles (DMV) receives notice of the arrest. An administrative hearing (at a DMV office rather than in court) generally must be requested within days of the arrest and the driver must appear at the hearing in order to challenge the suspension or revocation of the license.

The purpose of such a DMV administrative hearing is to determine whether the state should suspend the driver’s license (driving privileges) of the driver 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. 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, when a driver is arrested for DUI (Driving Under the Influence) or DWI (Driving While Intoxicated), the arresting officer may issue a notice of suspension and temporarily confiscate the driver's license. This triggers an Administrative License Revocation (ALR) process, which is separate from the criminal proceedings. The driver has 15 days from the date of receiving the notice of suspension to request an ALR hearing. If a hearing is not requested within this timeframe, the suspension goes into effect automatically. The ALR hearing is an administrative process conducted by the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) to review the legality of the driver's license suspension. At the ALR hearing, the driver has the opportunity to challenge the suspension, but unlike in criminal court, there is no constitutional right to a state-appointed attorney. The driver may choose to hire an attorney to represent them 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.

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