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What is the 15-day rule in Texas DWI cases?

On Behalf of | Nov 18, 2022 | DWI

Texas has very strict rules in place related to impaired vehicle operations. Those accused of driving a motor vehicle while under the influence of drugs or alcohol will face serious consequences. A driving while intoxicated (DWI) offense in Texas might lead to prison time, large fines and the loss of your driving privileges.

There are numerous rules that apply to DWI charges that defendants need to know about if they hope to assert their rights. What is the 15-day rule for those facing the administrative suspension of their license?

Those who want to keep their license must act quickly

Those accused of a DWI only have a brief window of opportunity in which to fight the loss of their driving privileges. You need to file paperwork requesting a hearing within 15 days of your arrest if you want to preserve your driving privileges.

Under the administrative license revocation program, anyone who fails a breath test or refuses to take one can have their license taken immediately went at the time of their arrest. The police officer will usually give you a temporary driving permit. That permit is only valid for 40 days, which usually means that you will lose your driving privileges 40 days after your arrest.

However, if you file the necessary paperwork with the state under the 15-day rule, you could avoid the loss of your license if you successfully defend yourself at a hearing. You are allowed to have an attorney represent you in that hearing, just like you can have a lawyer represent you in criminal court.

What if you don’t make use of your rights?

If you don’t contest the suspension of your license within 15 days, you could lose your license for anywhere from 90 days to two years depending on the circumstances and your prior criminal record.

The loss of your driving privileges could very well create a significant hardship, as you will either depend on the public transit system, the support of other people for transportation or the massive personal expense incurred by hiring taxis and rideshare services every time you need to get to work or go to the grocery store.

Knowing and asserting your rights will make it easier to minimize the penalties you face when accused of a DWI offense.