Senator Steve Ogden from Bryan has just introduced a bill, SB 768, which, if passed would result in a serious decay of what little due process rights exist in the ALR Process.
Senate Bill 768 would allow everyone except for the Judge and the defendant, or their attorney, to appear by affidavit. Attorneys would no longer be allowed to subpoena and require a police officer to attend and to stand by his decision to arrest the person. Further, even the State’s own attorney, the “prosecutor” in these types of cases, could appear by subpoena.
Also, under the proposed Bill, DPS would be the one that would adopt the form of the affidavit.
Now, it seems fundamentally unfair to suspend someone’s license for failing a breath test, when you have no opportunity to question parties to the action. To suspend a person’s license under this section, they must prove reasonable suspicion to stop or probable cause to arrest or take a person into custody, and that the person had an alcohol concentration of .08 or higher while operating a vehicle in a public place. They can certainly make an affidavit with 4-5 boxes to check that might very well make it easier on the people involved…the officer etc. However, shouldn’t a person who is facing a license suspension for up to a year be allowed to question the folks that have alleged the relevant facts?
I certainly hope the Legislature will see that this is a bad law.