I am asked quite regularly about driver’s license suspensions when it relates to DWI’s.  The following is a brief outline of what Texas law states about driver’s license suspensions.  When it comes  to a drunk driving arrest in Texas, a person’s  license may actually be suspended twice! The first  suspension will be what we call an “ALR suspension”.  This suspension is a result of being arrested and  refusing or failing (.08 and above) a breath test or  blood test.   Your license will be suspended for a certain period of time depending on whether you refused the test or failed the test.  It also depends on whether or not you are charged with your 1st, 2nd or higher.

The second suspension may come as a consequence of being convicted for DWI or DUI either at trial or by pleading guilty and electing for jail time rather than probation.

OFFENSERefusal / Failure of TestSuspension
First DWI“Failure” case (Blood alcohol of .08 or more)           Transp. Code 524.012(b)(1)90 Days
“Refusal” case (refusing to take breath test or blood test) Transp. Code 724.035(a)180 days
2nd + DWIfailed breath test or blood test1 year
refused breath test or blood test2 years


DWI ConvictionSuspension
1st DWI conviction (or guilty plea)90 days to 1 year *
2nd DWI conviction (or guilty plea)180 days to 2 years
2nd DWI within 5 years of 1st DWI1 year to 2 years


The license suspension period varies by court order.  On First offense DWIs, there is no driver’s license suspension if the judge approves a  plea deal for DWI probation involving either: (1) the taking (and successful completion) of an alcohol education program, or (2) equipping your vehicle with a deep lung device.  These exceptions to automatic DWI license suspensions exist only if this is your first arrest.  You could also avoid a driver’s license suspension ( in Texas) if you are convicted by a jury if the jury recommends that your license not be suspended.  A DUI (“Driving under the influence of alcohol”, which is a different standard than and applies only to minors) conviction for someone under the age of 21 will result in an automatic suspension for one year. Texas Transportation Code 521.344.

NOTE: It is possible to receive a suspension for a conviction AND a suspension for a blood/breath test refusal/failure arising from the same arrest.

      Texas Drivers License Reinstatement Requirements * A reinstatement fee will be required prior to the renewal/issuance of a driver license. * Obtain proof of insurance (form SR-22) from your insurance company and submit to the Texas Dept. of Public Safety (DPS). The SR-22 is required for two years from date of conviction. If a Repeat Offender’s DWI education program has been required by the convicting court, certificate of completion must be forwarded to DPS prior to the expiration of the suspension to prevent an additional revocation period.

 If the driver holds a Commercial Driver License, a breath test refusal or failure will result in an automatic one year disqualification. (Access the Administrative License Revocation) Texas Transportation Code Chapter 524, Texas Transportation Code Chapter 724, 37 Texas Administrative Code 17.7.

Published by Hector Gonzalez on 03-01-14