If I have witnesses I want to subpoena on my DWI case, can I bring them to the ALR hearing?
The short answer is yes, you can bring witnesses to the ALR hearing at the State Office of Administrative Hearings (SOAH). Theoretically, DPS can prove every element of an ALR case through written documents. However, through a combination of written request and subpoenas, you can force DPS to back up almost every element of its case through live testimony. I say “almost” because even though the rules allow you to secure the presence of the breath test operator and technical supervisor by filing a written request, judges often reject these requests.
To secure a witness at the ALR hearing you must have a subpoena issued and personally serve the desired witness. In addition to the subpoena you must state good cause for the witness’s presence or the subpoena will be rejected. For example, you might state, “this witness observed all facts leading to the arrest of the defendant and is the only witness who can corroborate or deny the facts in the police report.” Generally, the persons you will be subpoenaing will be the officer who made the stop and the officer who did the DWI investigation if they are two different people. However, be aware that SOAH rules limit you to only two witnesses at the hearing.
At the ALR hearing, the officer’s testimony will usually be limited to facts regarding the reason for the stop of the vehicle and up to the point of arrest. Even if the facts seem impossible to beat it is always important to subpoena the officer(s) anyway. By subpoenaing the officer(s) to the ALR hearing you can learn additional facts about your case not in the police report and pin down the officer’s testimony under oath. Additionally, if you subpoena and obtain service on the stopping and/or arresting officer and that witness fails to appear, the administrative law judge will generally dismiss the case against your driving license, and you won’t serve a suspension!
Preparing for and having an ALR hearing will not only impact your driving license but also can have a dramatic impact on your criminal case. This article was written to be informative but in no way should replace hiring a qualified DWI attorney to fight your ALR. If you or someone you know has been charged with a DWI, you only have 15 days to request a drivers license hearing from DPS. Do not hesitate to call our office to setup your free consultation!