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Texas ALR: Administrative License Suspension Injustice

Texas ALRHere is some Texas ALR Administrative License Suspension Injustice:

DPS can suspend a license for refusing to give breath or blood

There is a grave injustice in punishing someone for exercising the right to refuse. This is what Texas calls its “implied consent” law for Texas ALR license suspensions. Under this law, Texas says a person is deemed to have consented to “the taking of one or more specimens of [their] breath or blood” after an arrest for DWI, DUI, or BWI. In other words, a refusal means absolutely nothing other than the length of suspension DPS issues. The statute does have a bit of a saving grace, though. The statute states that a person may consent to the taking of any other type of specimen. In other words, if the officer asks for blood, the person can say “no, but I will give breath” to the officer.

You can get a Texas ALR suspension for refusal EVEN IF you are completely sober

When it comes to a Texas ALR hearing for a ‘refusal’ case, there are 4 main issues:

  1. Whether the officer had reasonable suspicion to make the stop (or be on scene);
  2. Whether the officer had probable cause to believe a person is driving while intoxicated;
  3. If the officer made a request for breath or blood upon arrest; and
  4. Whether the person refused that request.

There is one notable absence: Whether the person was, in fact, intoxicated. Unlike with a hearing based on consent, a Texas ALR refusal hearing focuses solely upon the issues above.  This means that even a toxicology result that shows no alcohol or other drugs means nothing to the administrative judge. The statute does not “require or empower the ALJ to decide the ultimate issue of whether [the person was] actually [driving] while intoxicated” according to Church v. State and Texas Department of Public Safety v. Butler. The statute requires only that the ALJ decide “whether probable cause exists to believe . . . [the person was driving] while intoxicated”.

In essence, an officer may arrest a person for Texas DWI if he has enough “evidence” to show intoxication. On top of the normal “indicators” such as odor of alcohol and watery eyes, officers will use the unscientific SFSTs to test for impairment. Heck, they will even use statements like “I can’t even do that when sober” against people!


These are some examples of how Texas ALRs are a complete injustice despite being “due process” before DPS suspends a person’s license. This is why, as hard as an ALR attorney works, the ALR hearings will almost always end in DPS’ favor. Further, with the complete injustice of revoking CDL privileges for a year (or life), ALR suspensions poorly serve our community.

More about Mimi Coffey

When people look for a Top DWI Attorney or Best DWI Attorney, they look for experience, certification, and respect in the legal community. Mimi Coffey is a nationally-renowned trial attorney, board-certified in DWI by the NCDD. She has been practicing for over 24 years and is an author of multiple DWI Defense textbooks. She is also a national and state-wide lecturer on the law.

The Coffey Firm handles a wide variety of cases, including Unlawful Carrying Weapon (UCW), Assault (including family violence), Theft and Possession charges.

Mimi is also listed on several “top” directory listings such as DWI Lawyers for Wise County, DWI Lawyer Tarrant CountyDWI Lawyer Dallas County, DWI Lawyer Collin County, DWI Lawyer in Johnson County and DWI Lawyer Parker County. Mimi is a caring DWI Lawyer in DFW, She is also involved in the Texas Tech School of Law foundation and enjoys using the skills she has developed to give back to the community.