Stephen H.: Hello. My name is Stephen Hamilton and I’m a board certified criminal defense attorney. Today’s video tip dealing with DWI is why are the three reasons a person should contest their driver’s license suspension? In Lubbock or in Texas, when a person gets arrested for a DWI, we have 15 days and only 15 days to request a hearing on your driver’s license. If you don’t do that, then your license will go into an automatic suspension at the 40 day mark. In other words, you’ll have a temporary permit to drive for 40 days from the day of the arrest if you either gave a breath sample and you are over the legal limit or you refuse to give a breath sample. 40 days is not much time. Here are the three reasons I think every person arrested for a DWI should request a driver’s license hearing.
Stephen H.: One we already talked about, it extends the time that you get to drive. Typically, we’re not going to do the driver’s license hearing for 90 or 120 days, so you’ll be driving legally during that period of time. If we end up losing the driver’s license hearing, we need to get you an occupational or an essential needs license, and we need some time to get documents together from the department of public safety to be able to get that temporary permit.
Stephen H.: Second reason is sort of what my dad used to say, if you don’t swing, you can’t win. We don’t know what’s going to happen at the driver’s license hearing. The officer may not have probable cause to stop you. The officer may not have conducted the field sobriety tests correct. And so, the administrative judge who is going to be hearing your driver’s license case may not grant the department’s request to suspend your driver’s license.
Stephen H.: The third reason, and I think the most critical reason, is it is a civil case. What that means for a criminal defense attorney is discovery. Early on in the case, we get to subpoena the arresting officer, bring him to the driver’s license hearing, and basically ask him a lot of questions under oath so that we can get those questions in writing. He’s tied down to that transcript, that document that is produced, so that later on if we do a criminal trial, he can’t change or adjust those answers. You would not believe sometimes the answers that we get at the driver’s license hearings.
Stephen H.: If we’re talking about a legal reason to stop somebody, if the officer says, “Well, I didn’t have this,” fill in the blank, then the case may end at that point in time. If we don’t do the driver’s license hearing and we do a trial, that may not be the answer because he would have been prepared a little bit better by the criminal attorney that’s handling the case for the state. That’s why I tell everybody it’s absolutely critical to request a driver’s license hearing in every single case.
Stephen H.: That’s it for today’s video tip. My phone number, (806) 794-0394. This is what I do. Give me a call. I can help you. Thank you.