Let’s say you are arrested for DWI in Austin, Tx, and face 2 cases: (1) the criminal DWI charge, and (2) the Driver’s License Suspension Hearing.
In Austin, the Driver’s License hearing will be probably be held before a resolution of the DWI, so again, continuing our hypothetical, let’s say the 180 day driver’s license suspension is imposed for your refusal to take the breath test. Remember, you were already under arrest for DWI when you were asked to submit to a specimen of breath or blood, so you made a wise choice as far as the criminal charge is concerned to refuse the test.
Now let’s say that your DWI lawyer goes to court, and prior to trial, works out a deal with the prosecutor that they agree to reduce the charge of DWI to Reckless Driving, or maybe even a traffic ticket. The benefit to you is that you are assured of not being convicted of DWI.
So you accept.
Well, you may still be under that DL suspension, driving around town with an Occupational License, but not 24/7 like you are used to. The suspension will be lifted, right?
Wrong. Only a ‘Not Guilty’ verdict at bench or jury trial will reverse the suspension now. Texas Transportation Code Section 524.015 states, in part:
…the disposition of a criminal charge does not affect a driver’s license suspension under this chapter and does not bar any matter in issue in a driver’s license suspension proceeding under this chapter… A suspension may not be imposed under this chapter on a person who is acquitted of a criminal charge under Section 49.04…
A ‘dismissal’ of a DWI charge is not an ‘acquittal’ (i.e., not guilty verdict), and therefore the license will stay suspended for the original term imposed. An in jurisdictions outside of Austin, where the DWI case may run quicker than the suspension hearing, you will still be facing the loss of your license.
In my experience, most clients prefer a certain outcome in terms of getting the DWI dismissed, than to risk it all by rolling the dice at trial. But it’s something to think about. And if you are facing DWI charges in Texas, your lawyer needs to be able to lay out all the options for you.