In Texas, following an arrest for Driving While Intoxicated (DWI), the person arrested or their criminal defense attorney has 15 days to request a hearing with DPS. If this is not done correctly or in a timely manner, then DPS will proceed to to suspend your license without the ability to get it reinstated until after the suspension expires. So what happens once you make the request within the 15 days? Eventually, DPS will issue a hearing date and the process gets even more confusing.
Throughout the process, the arresting officer utilizes pre-printed forms in order to provide all relevant information to DPS for the suspension process. They have names such as DIC-23, DIC-24, DIC-52, and probable cause for the traffic stop. These forms are extremely important and the information contained in them should be examined carefully in order to identify missing or incorrect facts. The entire drivers license suspension process by DPS is based entirely on the content found in these forms. After obtaining your hearing date, your criminal attorney should also send a discovery request to DPS to get copies of every single document that DPS is going to use against you, including any prior suspensions related to DWI/DUI or any alcohol violations.
The officer must also have included in the forms whether sufficient reasonable suspicion to make a traffic stop was present and often this information is absent.
The next question that must be determined is whether to subpoena the arresting officer to appear at the suspension hearing. If the forms are completed correctly, the officer should absolutely be served with a subpoena because if the officer fails to show up, then DPS cannot suspend your license absent the granting of a continuance by the judge.
If the officer does appear as requested, then a well prepared criminal defense lawyer will be able to gain invaluable information for your pending criminal case through questioning the officer. The officer should be extensively questioned about the facts surrounding why he made the traffic stop. Another area that should be explored is the officers’ knowledge of field sobriety tests and their experience administering these tests.
As you can see, the DPS case is an entirely separate matter where you will need a knowledgeable Houston criminal lawyer to represent your interests, in not only the DPS case but in planning accordingly for your criminal case to exploit weaknesses to achieve the best possible outcome.