If you’re charged with driving while intoxicated (DWI) in Texas, your license may undergo an administrative and criminal suspension. These two different types of suspensions both require separate proceedings. One proceeding is administrative, and the other proceeding is criminal. In order to retain your driving privilege through your DWI trial and after, your lawyer must represent you for your administrative hearing and your criminal trial.
If you blew over a .08 on a breathalyzer, or if you refused the test, your license may face an immediate administrative license suspension. Furthermore, if your DWI charge leads to a conviction, your judge may sentence your license to further suspension. The length of this further suspension depends on the specific circumstances of your case. If you have questions about a DWI license suspension in Texas, you need a seasoned Fort Worth DWI attorney with knowledge of the complex nature of DWI cases. Our lawyers at Hoeller & McLaughlin PLLC are here to help. Contact us today.
How Long Will Your License Be Suspended?
The length of time your license can be suspended for depends on the four different DWI case types:
- First DWI conviction: 90-day to 1-year license suspension
- Second DWI conviction: minimum 180-day suspension, or up to 2 years maximum
- Third DWI conviction or more: 180-day to 2-year license suspension
- DWI with child passenger: (children aged under 15) 180-day license suspension
Some courts credit the length of your license’s administrative suspension to your criminal suspension. For instance, should conviction for your first DWI offense occur 50 days from the time your administrative suspension started, then your criminal suspension could be only 40 days.
Obtaining an Occupational Needs or Hardship License
Unfortunately, if your license is suspended, your entire life may feel like it’s been put on hold. This is especially true if you do not live in an area with decent public transportation. Your suspension may hinder your life if you’re unable to:
- Drive to a job interview
- Get to work or college
- Drive your children to school or other activities
- Attend any religious services
- Do everyday activities like grocery shopping
The fact of the matter is that a DWI license suspension in Texas can be a harsh punishment for ordinary people trying to live normal lives after conviction. Fortunately, the Texas Department of Public Safety allows the possibility of receiving an occupational license. This license is available to individuals that show a significant need to drive due to one of the reasons listed above. Note that you cannot receive an occupational license if you’ve applied for one within the last 10 years.
An occupational license is valid for only 1-year, and allows you to drive only during a 12-hour period every day. Sometimes other restrictions may be placed, such as an ignition interlock device installed on your car. Make sure to consult your DWI lawyer when filling out your application. Your experienced lawyer can help you properly demonstrate your need to drive.
Alternatively, you may opt to apply for a hardship license instead. While the application procedures are similar to an occupational license, a hardship license also requires that your demonstrate the following:
- Your inability to drive will result in extreme economic hardship for your family
- Your need to drive involves caring for a sick or disabled family member
- You’re attending vocational education that requires a driver’s license
Fight Your Criminal DWI License Suspension in Texas
Your driving privileges are still in jeopardy even if your lawyer successfully avoids an administrative suspension of your license. Having a knowledgeable lawyer who has experience with DWI criminal license suspension cases will give you peace of mind. Our lawyers will analyze your case and search for any evidence that can result in a dismissal. For example, our lawyers have found evidence of authorities breaching constitutional rights during DWI suspected traffic stops that have led to successful case dismissals.
In the event that still receive a DWI conviction, an experienced lawyer can help advocate for a more lenient sentencing. An example of a more lenient sentencing includes requesting that your driver license suspension is probated. This means that you can still retain driving privileges if you attend driving classes or substance abuse treatment programs.