Getting Witnesses to a License Suspension Hearing in Texas
I’m writing about this issue because it has come up for me recently. This situation also deals with the Travis County Sheriff’s Office. But this post isn’t specific only to the TCSO. Most driver’s license suspension hearings are due to an arrest for DWI. If you read some of my previous posts, I explained the hearing process for:
If you read those three links above, it should bring you up to speed and give you a general idea of what’s going on. This post is really the second part in Preparing for an ALR Hearing as I listed in #2. Now, the question for today is how do you go about getting witnesses to a License Suspension Hearing in Texas?
The Administrative License Revocation Subpoena
In a previous post I wrote about Texas Criminal Subpoenas. These are Court orders which order a witness to appear in Court for a certain reason. In the ALR Hearing context, you’ll want to use a form (here’s the one I use) ALR Subpoena from the State Office of Administrative Hearings. This subpoena must be served at least 5 days prior to the hearing. Like all other Court documents, make sure that you start at the top of the paperwork and work your way down. Assuming that you requested your ALR Hearing and ALR Discovery, you should have all the information you need to fill out your ALR Subpoena.
How to Fill Out an Administrative License Revocation Subpoena?
Click the link above and pull up the Subpoena form in a new window. There are two pages. Let’s start with the first. It starts with State of Texas vs. (You). Next, include the Cause Number, Docket Number, etc… on the right. This is your specific case number. After that, you’ll need to include the Witness’ name and address. If it’s a police officer (and it normally is) then you can contact that police department to find out how to have the officer served. The Austin Police Department and the Travis County Sheriff has a person in charge of this.
Make sure you include the time, date, and location of the hearing. The witness needs to know where to go! Next, you’ll have to give your contact information so that you can be notified once the person is served. This is where the second page comes in. This is the Return of Service. This is the part that has to be signed by the person serving the witness (usually a process server) and the witness themself. The Return of Service page has to be returned to the State Office of Administrative Hearings to prove that the witness was actually served.
What happens next in the ALR Hearing Process?
You start preparing for your ALR Hearing and weeding through the police reports, videos, pictures etc… to see if police made any errors. You’ll want to bring these up during the ALR Hearing. If police did make mistakes, you can highlight these. Possibly the basis for the stop was bad. Maybe they arrested you too early and without Probable Cause. If that is so, your License Suspension case may be dismissed.
Why is this ALR Hearing and Subpoenaing the Officer so important?
This hearing gives you two bites at the apple. The officers and all witnesses will be under oath when they testify. This means you can get a preview of their testimony later on at trial. Normally you wouldn’t have this chance at all. It also gives you the opportunity to weigh the strengths and weaknesses of your defense more carefully. If you win your ALR Hearing this may pay off big time when you’re ready to plea bargain in your criminal case. If you lose the ALR Hearing, then you will need to Request an Occupational License.