Need Help Applying for & Getting an Occupational Driver’s License?
Our Law Firm Can Help You.
Did you have your license suspended after getting a DWI? The attorneys at Johnson, Johnson, & Baer, P.C. in Houston, Texas defend DWI charges and may be able to help you obtain an occupational driver’s license so that you can keep your job, drive your children to school, and restore your independence. Our experienced occupational license lawyers are here to help. Contact us now to schedule a free consultation.
Why Do I need an Occupational License?
If you’ve just been charged with DWI, your license will be suspended automatically and the only way you can drive legally is to get an occupation license. You only have 15 days to request a hearing to dispute your automatic license suspension (aka ALR). Under Texas’s implied consent law, any licensed drivers who operate a vehicle on a public road are obligated to provide a blood or breath sample in cases of suspected DWI, and failing to do so – or providing a sample that shows you’re over the legal limit of .08 blood alcohol content (BAC) – can result in an automatic license suspension.
An attorney experienced with the occupational license application process can increase your chances of getting your license request granted. Contact our law firm to schedule a free case evaluation.
What can you do with an occupational license?
An occupational license allows you to operate a passenger vehicle in connection with work, school-related activities, or the performance of essential household duties (like grocery shopping or shuttling kids to and from activities). These licenses can be issued to individuals whose licenses have been suspended for certain criminal offenses, and are most commonly issued to those who have been charged with or convicted of DWI.
Having an occupational license can eliminate many of the complications that arise when your driver’s license is suspended; because you’ll still be able to travel to work, get your kids to school, and run necessary household errands, you should experience minimal disruption as a result of your DWI charge or conviction.
Occupational Licenses in Texas: How to Get One And What You Need To Know
How Can I Apply for an Occupational License?
To obtain an occupational license, you or your attorney (we highly recommend getting legal counsel) need to submit an application to Harris County, Fort Bend County, or whatever county court in which your driver’s license suspension occurred.
After filing your petition for an occupational driver’s license, you’ll be able to obtain a signed court order, which can be used as a temporary license until the court rules on your petition. (This signed order is valid as a temporary license for only 30 days.)
You’ll then need to visit the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) and provide them with several documents, including:
- A copy of your petition for an occupational license;
- A copy of the signed court order;
- An SR-22 certificate from your insurance company verifying your coverage;
- Any other documents specifically requested; and
- Your reinstatement fees plus a $10.00 occupational license fee.
These documents and funds can be dropped off in person or submitted by mail.
If your driver’s license was suspended because of a first-time DWI charge, you’ll be required to wait 90 days before your occupational license can be granted. Those with two or more license revocations on file will be required to wait a full year before being granted an occupational license.
Are there any exceptions to these waiting periods?
If you’re able to argue that the suspension of your license would cause an undue economic hardship for your family (for example, the loss of a job), you may be issued a temporary hardship license that will remain valid during the statutory waiting period for issuance of an occupational license.
To prove your eligibility for a hardship license, you’ll need to provide specific information about how the loss of your license will negatively affect you; simply showing up and telling the court you assume you’ll lose your job if you’re unable to drive to work isn’t likely to persuade the judge that you’re entitled to this remedy.
Is anyone restricted from getting an occupational license?
Those whose licenses have been suspended for medical reasons aren’t eligible for an occupational license, as even permitting this restricted activity could put other motorists at risk if the driver suffers a medical episode while behind the wheel.
What can you expect if you’re granted an occupational license?
There are several additional terms and conditions that are required to be imposed upon anyone who is granted an occupational license. These terms and conditions are non-discretionary, which means the judge has no leeway to waive any of them on your behalf – even if you have a valid argument as to why one or more should not be required.
Requirements for people driving with an occupational license include:
- Carrying a certified copy of the court order granting you an occupational license whenever you’re behind the wheel; you may want to keep this order with your car’s registration for easy access if you’re pulled over.
- Participating in alcohol dependence counseling from one of several approved providers. This counseling is in addition to any counseling that may be required as part of your underlying DWI case.
- Using an ignition interlock device, which requires you to provide a breath sample before your vehicle can be started to ensure there’s no alcohol in your system. The ignition interlock device will also prompt you to provide a sample at various random points during your drive, and failing to provide a breath sample (or providing one that tests positive for any alcohol content) will cause your engine to stop. You’ll be required to cover the cost of installation of this device yourself.
Violating any of these conditions is prosecuted as a Class B misdemeanor, which will almost certainly result in the revocation of your occupational license and may be punishable by an additional 60 days in jail.
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