Getting an Occupational License in Texas
You may still be able to drive after a DWI or refusal to take a breath test!
The Texas Transportation Code makes it clear: Your license is going to get suspended if you refuse to take a blood-alcohol test, fail one, or get convicted of DWI.
Texas has an implied consent law, meaning that licensed drivers in the state are required to submit to a breath, blood, or urine blood-alcohol test when a police officer develops probable cause to make a DWI arrest.
Refusal results in automatic suspension. For someone with no previous DWI cases, the suspended license period is 180 days. A driver with a DWI arrest in the previous 10 years is suspended for two years.
Take the test and fail it, and you will receive an administrative license revocation, or ALR. That’s 90 days with no previous DWIs in the last 10 years, and one year if you have a prior DWI.
DWI also carries an automatic suspension upon conviction, as well, so that your license is suspended from 90 days to one year for a first offense, and for six months to two years for subsequent offenses.
Filing a Petition for a Texas Occupational License
You have the right to file for a restricted driver’s license if you have not already received one in the last 10 years. The occupational license will allow you to drive back and forth to work, to school, or to carry out critical household tasks.
To get an occupational license, you must explain your “essential need” in detail in a petition, and file it with the clerk of court. The judge will hold a hearing on whether to issue an order granting you the restricted license.
The judge must consider you driving record when deciding if you have an essential need, and, if he decides you need the license, must determine exactly when and under what circumstances. You also will be required to show proof of insurance.
Getting The Restricted License Court Order Approval
The judge’s order granting you a restricted license must specify certain information, such as:
1. Hours and days of the week during when you can drive.
2. Permitted purposes for which you can drive.
3. Areas or routes where you are permitted to drive.
You will not be allowed to drive more than four hours a day, unless the judge rules otherwise.
Once the judge issues the order, the occupational license takes effect immediately, unless you have had a previous DWI offense within the last five years. In that case, you may have to wait six months to one year from the date your license was suspended for the order to take effect.
Requirements of the Occupational License
The transportation code requires that the judge impose certain restrictions on you when granting an order for a restricted license. They are:
1. Carry a certified copy of the court order whenever you are driving.
2. Get alcohol dependence counseling from a state-approved facility. This counseling is separate from the mandatory DWI education program imposed as a requirement of probation.
3. Use an ignition interlock device to keep your vehicle from starting if you have been drinking. The judge has the option to make this a condition of the occupational license in DWI first offense cases. It’s mandatory for second and subsequent offenses.
Failure to keep up with any of those conditions is a Class B misdemeanor, punishable by up to 60 days in a county jail, and could result in revocation of the occupational license.
As part of your DWI defense, we will help you prepare the petition seeking a Texas occupational license, and will carefully guide you through the process so that you understand what the law expects of you.