In the State of Texas, you may qualify for an Occupational License if your driver’s license has been suspended because of a DWI (driving while intoxicated) conviction. With an occupational license, you will be permitted to do some driving while your regular driver’s license is under suspension. There are rules you will be required to follow to maintain this privilege. Talk with your Fort Worth DWI Defense Lawyer about applying for an occupational license.

What is an Occupational License?

An occupational license is sometimes referred to as an ‘essential license’ and is considered a special license that has restrictions on it. You would petition or apply to receive an occupational license if you’ve lost your regular driver’s license due to certain illegal offenses. These offenses would not include delinquent child support or medical reasons in which some people have their licenses suspended. If you have your license suspended due to a surcharge assessment, you may qualify for an occupational license.

If you are allowed or granted an occupational license, it will authorize you to operate a non-commercial vehicle for driving to work, school-related activities, or to perform essential household tasks only.

You will need to petition the county or district court where you live or the court in the jurisdiction where your offense occurred to receive an occupational license. You will want to contact your attorney at Fort Worth DWI Defense Lawyer to help you with this petition as you want to ensure you have all the correct documentation for this process.

The courts will review your petition and decide if you are eligible to continue and apply for the occupational license. If it agrees you can continue with your request, you are given a signed court order, which then has to be turned into the Department of Public Safety along with other documentation to receive the actual license. Having an attorney working with you through this legal process will ensure you file correctly, promptly, and receive your driving privileges faster.

Before You Petition for an Occupational License After a DWI Conviction

The arresting officer, in your case, will provide you a notice of suspension. You have fifteen days from the date on this notice to file or ask for hearing (Administrative License Revocation). This hearing is to contest your suspension, and if not requested in the fifteen days, then your license is automatically suspended.

Your attorney at Fort Worth DWI Defense Lawyer will help you to file for this hearing and get you through the process of contesting this process. This hearing is where you and your attorney present evidence to the judge to prevent your license from being revoked or suspended.

The State will present their evidence, and you and your attorney will have the opportunity to dispute this evidence and offer your own. The judge at this hearing can decide from the evidence presented whether or not to uphold the suspension of your driving license.

You will want to contact your attorney as soon as possible after being charged with DWI, as you have only fifteen days to file for this hearing. The Administrative License Revocation Hearing is a separate matter from your DWI case, and if you win your case, you could still end up with a suspended license if you did not schedule the ALR hearing.

The burden of proof for the case rests on the State, and a qualified DWI lawyer from Fort Worth DWI Defense Lawyer can help prove there was no reasonable suspicion on the officer’s part to stop you, or they did not have probable cause to arrest you. Many critical procedural errors occur with these events, and an experienced DWI attorney can help you fight these charges using one of these errors.

If you do not have a legal defense against the DWI conviction, you will then need your attorney’s help to petition for your occupational license.

Regulations of Occupational Licenses with DWI Conviction

If you have been convicted of a DWI in Texas, you may apply for an occupational license to restore some of your driving privileges while your license is under suspension. An occupational license limits the number of hours you can drive and also where you can drive, and when you can drive. Check with your attorney at Fort Worth DWI Defense Lawyer to see if your case qualifies to apply for this license. If you do qualify, there are specific documents you will need to provide:

  • Certified copy of your complete driver’s history, which you can find online (Type 3A-Certified). This history will list any previous convictions, arrests, or license suspensions. You will also need to submit an (AOR) Certified Abstract of Driving Record. It will take fourteen days to receive these papers after you make the request.
  • Copy of the SR-22 insurance from your insurance company. Your attorney at Fort Worth DWI Defense Lawyer can advise you on how to obtain this document.
  • If you live in Bexar County, you will also need a copy of your SR-37 Occupational License Information Sheet
  • Check with your attorney on how to obtain a signed Verification Form required for your application
  • If you are working, and need to drive to and from your job, you can have your employer provide a letter (on their business letterhead) listing your position with them, and the hours you need to drive
  • You can also include a letter from you, which lists the reasons you are applying for an occupational license. Report if your reasons are for attending school, going to your employment, and what your regular activities include or the schedule you have that requires driving. List the hours you feel are necessary for you to drive within a twelve-hour period. You will also need to list the counties or county that you will be driving within, and your employment title and employer’s name and address.
  • Check with your attorney at Fort Worth DWI Defense Lawyer to find out what amount the fee will be for filing this petition.
  • When the judge signs your occupational driving license, it will need to be filed with the Department of Public Safety before it becomes valid. There is a reinstatement fee for this process as well as an Occupational Driving License fee that have to be paid outside of what your legal fees will be.

If you have been convicted of DWI in the State of Texas, you cannot drive until you have gone through the suspension period, or you’ve completed the above steps to petition for an occupational driver's license. You will want to work with Fort Worth DWI Defense Lawyer to go through this legal process to ensure you submit the proper paperwork. You will also need their help in obtaining some of the legal documents necessary with this petition. If you attempt to drive before an occupational license is legally in place, you jeopardize your chances of getting one of these licenses. It is illegal in Texas to drive when a driver’s license has been suspended.

  • SR-22 for an Occupational License

The SR-22 is often called a financial responsibility filing or certificate of insurance. It is a document required by the DMV (Department of Motor Vehicles) for high-risk insurance policies.

You may be required by the DMV to obtain the SR-22 in order to have your driving privileges reinstated after a DWI offense or an uninsured car accident. The SR-22 can be required for up to three years from your conviction and as long as five years if convicted of DWI. If the SR-22 expires or is canceled, your insurance company will issue an SR-26 to certify the cancellation. The SR-22 is not an insurance policy. It is an add-on to a personal automobile liability policy. Check with your insurance company if they can issue this, as not all insurance carriers will offer an SR-22.

You will request your SR-22 from your insurance company, which will automatically notify the Texas Department of Public Safety if your certificate lapses, is canceled, or is terminated for any reason.

How Long Does it Take to Receive an Occupational License after DWI Conviction?

Not being able to drive can be an extreme hardship for many. It can make you feel helpless and anxious because, in today’s world, we drive for almost any reason. You drive to work, school, visiting family and friends, shopping, and many other reasons every day of each year. Not being able to get behind the wheel when you want to get somewhere is tough. If you should decide to drive while your license is suspended, you put yourself and anyone in the vehicle with you in danger of losing more than just a day’s wage.

Driving on a suspended license means you can be arrested and will be subject to jail time as a punishment for driving illegally. You will also face thousands of dollars in potential costs and fees. Driving on a suspended license is a serious risk. You need to petition for the occupational license.

The court order and all required documents have to be submitted to the Department of Public Safety before an occupational license can be issued. While the paperwork is being filed, you are given forty-five days from the day the judge signs the order to drive while the license paperwork is processed. What needs to be submitted to the Department of Public Safety is:

  • A certified copy of the court order which has granted you an occupational license or your petition for one
  • A judge has the authority to grant you an occupational license
  • If you are part of a unique drug program under the courts, your petition is not required
  • Your insurance certificate (SR-22) which indicates Financial Responsibility
  • Your payment for the occupational license
  • An occupational license is generally granted for one year or less. The most extended term this form of license is given would be for two years
  • If you need one for more than one year, the court will have to grant permission
  • All reinstatement fees

Most of the cases for driver’s petitioning for an occupational license are completed within twenty-four hours after you have submitted all the required paperwork. It does vary somewhat between counties and the judges presiding over the case. If you should be required to appear at a hearing, you will need your attorney from Fort Worth DWI Defense Lawyer to argue your case in front of a judge. Hearings are generally heard within seven days, but again times do vary from county to county and with different judges.

When you have petitioned for an occupational license, you should keep these time frames in mind as this is a court matter, and you will have to abide by court procedures and rules.

Occupational License Requirements Once Granted

The judge will impose restrictions on you when they grant the restricted license. The transportation code requires they have you:

  • Keep a certified copy of the court order with you at all times when you are driving a vehicle.
  • Receive alcohol-dependence counseling from a facility that is state-approved. This counseling must be separate from the mandatory DWI programs, which are imposed as terms of your probation.
  • Have an ignition interlock device on your vehicle to keep it from starting if you have consumed any amount of alcohol. The judge decides to impose the interlocking device on a first offense; however, it is mandatory for second or subsequent offenses.

If you fail to follow any of these conditions, it will be considered a Class B misdemeanor, which is punishable for up to sixty days in the county jail. You could also face revocation of your occupational license. Working with an attorney from Fort Worth DWI Defense Lawyer will ensure you understand all the rules and regulations attached to an occupational license.

Another factor to keep in mind is that regardless of your age or the circumstances involving your driving privilege loss, you will have to pay a reinstatement fee if you fail or refuse a chemical test during this process. Assuming everything goes well and you receive your occupational driver’s license, you can only operate a vehicle within the terms of the court order. You must also have this court order permitting you to drive with you in the vehicle at all times.

Can an Occupational License be Denied?

Typically an occupational license is granted once you have put in your request. The judge can deny the request or not order a waiting period for one of these circumstances:

  • If you have a previous suspension on your driving privilege as a result of a drug or alcohol-related incident, you may be given a ninety-day waiting period.
  • If your license has been suspended because of an intoxication-related conviction, you may be given a 180-day waiting period.
  • There is a mandatory one-year waiting period if you have had two administrative license revocations on your driving record.
  • If you have requested an occupational license for a commercial vehicle, an occupational license cannot be issued for the use of operating commercial vehicles during your suspension, cancellation, denial, or revocation period.

How Long is a Driver’s License Suspended in Texas for DWI?

The first-time offense of a DWI in the State of Texas comes typically with a ninety-day to a one-year suspension of your driving privileges. If you have prior convictions on your record, it could range from six months up to two years. If you do not petition for and receive an occupational license during this time, it is illegal for you to get behind the wheel of a vehicle until this time frame expires.

If any of the following apply to your offense, they could affect the duration of your suspension:

  • If at the time of your arrest for DWI, your BAC was greater than 0.08
  • If you had a child aged fourteen or younger in the car at the time of your arrest
  • You had an open container in your vehicle when you were arrested
  • As a result of your intoxication, you caused an injury, accident, or death

The State of Texas has zero-tolerance for drivers who are under the age of twenty-one when it comes to driving while intoxicated. If there is any detectable amount of alcohol when you are arrested for DWI and are under the age of twenty-one, you are subject to criminal charges. This charge and your BAC will determine how long your driver’s license will be suspended.

Contact the Fort Worth DWI Defense Lawyer if you have been arrested for DWI. Many defense strategies can be used to protect you from these charges. A DWI conviction on your record can impact your future, and we have the experience and expertise needed to protect you.

Who Determines How Long a Driver’s License will be Suspended for DWI?

When you are arrested for DWI, law enforcement will confiscate your license and give you a temporary driving permit. The permit is called a Notice of Suspension (Form DIC-25) and will outline the process you need to follow to request an ALR (Administrative License Revocation) hearing.

At the ALR (Administrative License Revocation hearing), a judge will listen to your testimony from you or your attorney from Fort Worth DWI Defense Lawyer, the arresting police officer, and anyone else who has relevant information about the event. Based on what the judge hears and any other evidence presented, the judge will decide how long your driver’s license will be suspended.

You are able to appeal a DWI driver’s license suspension; however, you will want the help and advice of your attorney at Fort Worth DWI Defense Lawyer, and this appeal has to be filed within thirty days from when your suspension became active. Once your license is reinstated, or at the end of your suspension, you will be required to pay an annual fee from $1,000 to $2,000 for three years from the date you were convicted. This fee is part of the Driver Responsibility Program in Texas.

How Does Having an Attorney Help You With an Occupational License after DWI Conviction?

Not being able to drive while your license is suspended due to a conviction from a DWI will make your everyday living difficult. Once a person obtains a driver’s license, they depend on it for a wide range of daily tasks. One of the most important reasons a person drives is to earn a living. You are going to want an experienced attorney working with you to reinstate the privilege of driving in order for you to continue working or completing necessary everyday tasks.

When you contact the attorneys at Fort Worth DWI Defense Lawyer, we will be able to challenge your driver’s license suspension and fight for your rights to keep your driving privileges.  These are some of the areas your attorney can help you through:

  • Arrange or schedule your Administrative License Revocation hearing
  • Attend the ALR hearing with you
  • Appeal the suspension of driver’s license
  • Petition the court for you to receive an occupational license

You can still have your license suspended if the prosecutor drops criminal charges against you, and even if you are not convicted of drunk driving. Having your license suspended is a serious and life-altering experience and one you will need your attorney from Fort Worth DWI Defense Lawyer. We will work with you to protect your legal rights and make sure you receive the best possible outcome with this difficult charge.

Finding Help to Obtain an Occupational License Near Me

If you have lost your driving privileges due to an arrest for DWI, contact Fort Worth DWI Defense Lawyer at 817-470-2128. We have the skills, dedication, and experience of fighting DWI charges or helping clients obtain their occupational licenses. Driving is an essential part of most people’s lives, and we will work hard to ensure you regain this privilege so you can continue with everyday life events. Don’t wait to call as there are important time limits for filing, and we want to ensure you file correctly and on time to protect your rights and your future.