A penalty commonly associated with driving while intoxicated (DWI) is a criminal license suspension. It can be confusing, but a criminal license suspension is different than an administrative one. It’s much more difficult to fight a criminal license suspension because it’s a part of your statutory penalties for DWI.
An administrative license suspension occurs before your DWI is even prosecuted. It stems from failing or refusing to pass a DWI test by law enforcement and is imposed by the Department of Public Safety (DPS). A criminal license is separate and is implemented after a DWI conviction.
You cannot fight a criminal license suspension with an administrative license revocation hearing (ALR). Instead you’ll have to hire a formidable defense to fight your DWI charges altogether. If you or someone you know has been charged with DWI, it’s imperative you contact a criminal defense attorney.
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Overview of Criminal License Suspensions in Texas
Driving while intoxicated comes with a slew of consequences. One of these include a criminal license suspension under Texas Transportation Code § 521.344. Your suspension will rely on your criminal record, age and if you are a commercial driver or not.
It’s important you don’t get your criminal license suspension confused with an administrative license suspension. An administrative license suspension is solely for people who have refused or failed DWI testing. A refusal or failed DWI test could mean you’ll be facing not one, but two license suspensions. Fortunately, administrative license suspensions can be handled before court proceedings by requesting an administrative license revocation (ALR) hearing.
Criminal license suspensions happen after conviction. Your license will be criminally suspended for 90 days up to one year if it’s your first DWI or intoxication assault. However, if it’s your second or subsequent DWI your license could be suspended from 180 days up to two years.
An intoxication manslaughter conviction will result in a license suspension from 180 days up to two years. Subsequent intoxication manslaughter convictions could result in a total revocation of your license. This means you will have to apply for your license all over again.
Underaged drivers can also have their license suspended from DWI. A first DWI conviction will result in a license suspension from 60 days up to 180 days. A second DWI offense will lead to a license suspension between 120 days and 2 years. If you have a third DWI conviction, then your license will be suspended from 180 days up to 2 years.
If you possess a commercial driver’s license (CDL), the law treats your suspension differently. Texas has implemented stringent laws for commercial drivers since they are supposed to follow traffic rules for the safety of the public. Commercial drivers have their license disqualified instead of suspended according to Texas Transportation Code § 522.081.
A DWI conviction will result in the disqualification of your CDL for up to one year. If you were carrying hazardous material, then your disqualification may be enhanced to three years. You could be disqualified for life if you have a combination of two or more of the following:
Drivers also face administrative license suspensions. You could also have your CDL disqualified for life by DPS if you do two or more of the following:
MADD – Visit the official website of Texas Mothers Against Drunk Driving to learn more about the effects of driving intoxicated. Access the site to learn DWI statistics, stories from survivors, how to get involved with MADD and victim impact panels.
CDL Disqualifications – Visit the official website of the Department of Public Safety (DPS) to learn more about commercial driver disqualifications. Access the site to find more information surrounding CDL rules, disqualification periods, the Texas Hold’em initiative and more.
If you or someone you know is struggling with DWI charges, it’s imperative you contact a skilled attorney today. You could be facing harsh penalties including a criminal license suspension. Commercial drivers could even lose their CDL for life depending on the circumstances. Don’t wait another moment and contact [firm].
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This article was last updated on March 7th, 2019.