Occupational Drivers License

OCCUPATIONAL LICENSE IN TEXAS

The requirements for obtaining an occupational drivers license in Texas usually depends on the reason for the license suspension.  The most common suspension in Texas results from a driving while intoxicated (DWI) arrest.  If a person refused to provide a breath or blood test after a DWI arrest, it is likely a license suspension follow.  If a person is caught driving while their license is “invalid” (DWLI) their license will be suspended. A person’s license can also be suspended due to multiple traffic ticket convictions (Habitual Offender).   A civil judgment can trigger a license suspension.  And, various drug related convictions will cause a drivers license suspension.

HOW TO GET AN OCCUPATIONAL LICENSE

The Texas Department of Public Safety will issue a “plastic” occupational license once the requirements are met.  The first and most complicated requirement is obtaining a court order granting an occupational license.  It is highly recommended to hire an attorney familiar with Texas driver’s license laws to represent you.

A petition for an occupational license must be filed in the county the person resides or in the county where the criminal offense leading to the suspension occurred.  If the suspension is due to DWLI, the petition is filed in the county of residence.  The filing fees vary from county to county.  This fee ranges from $232.00 to $300.00.  Once the petition is filed, it is randomly assigned to a county judge’s court. If the DWI triggering the suspension has been filed, the petition will be assigned to the court hearing the DWI case.

Most judges require proof of liability insurance, proof of SR-22, a driving record and sworn testimony.  Once the order granting the occupational license is granted, a certified copy must be mailed to DPS within 30 days.   DPS also requires proof of SR-22 insurance, a $10.00 license fee and the reinstatement fee.

SUSPENSION DUE TO DWI ARREST

In Texas, in almost every case where a driver is arrested for DWI he will have two cases to deal with. 1. the criminal charges associated with the DWI arrest.  Second, a civil proceeding trying to take away their driving privileges.  This process is governed by the Implied Consent Statute.  This statute basically states that each person who operates a motor vehicle on Texas roadways has impliedly agreed that he or she will provide a breath or blood specimen upon a proper request by a police officer if the driver is arrested for DWI.  The implied consent statute also applies to operators of watercraft in Texas accused of Boating While Intoxicated (BWI).

A driver arrested for DWI can challenge the imposition of a suspension at an ALR hearing.  This hearing MUST be requested within 15 days of being arrested.   Often, police officers will tell the driver that if he or she does not agree to take a breath or blood test, their driver’s license will automatically be suspended. This false information is due to the officer being unaware of the person’s rights or the officer is trying to coerce the driver into providing a specimen of breath or blood.

LOSS OF DRIVERS LICENSE

Peace officers are now required to take possession of any Texas license held by the person arrested for DWI.   The officer is supposed to issue the person a temporary driving permit that expires after 40 days.   If an ALR hearing is requested, the temporary permit is valid until after the decision from the ALR hearing.  If no suspension is imposed, DPS is required to return the Texas license to the person arrested. However, there are many instances where DPS fails to do so.  Gary Redman advises all of his DWI clients to either wait for the license to be returned via mail or go to a DPS field office and request a new license.

LENGTH OF SUSPENSION FOR DWI CHARGE

If a person fails to challenge an ALR suspension, or loses the ALR hearing, their license will be suspended for the following period:

Failing the Breath or Blood Test

  • 90 days        if no alcohol or drug related  “contact” is listed on their driving record within ten years prior to date of the offense.
  • One year     if 1 or more alcohol or drug related “contact” is listed on their driving record within ten years of date of the offense.

*An alcohol related contact could be an breath or blood test refusal, failure or a DWI conviction.

Refusing the Breath or Blood Test

  • 180 days   if no alcohol or drug related ” contact” is listed on the driving record within ten years prior to date of the offense.
  • Two years    if   1 or more alcohol or drug related “contact” is listed on the driving record within ten years of date of the offense.

*An alcohol related contact could be an breath or blood test refusal, failure or a DWI conviction.

Persons Without a Texas Drivers License and Non Residents

  • If a person who refuses or fails a breath or blood test is a resident without a license, they will not be able to obtain a license for 180 days.
  • If a non resident with an out of state license refuses or fails a breath or blood test, their cannot drive in Texas until the applicable time period passes.  AND, Texas will likily notify their State of residence and such State will impose a suspension.

REINSTATEMENT FEE

A person who has an ALR suspension, either automatically or after a hearing, must submit a reinstatement fee of $125.00 to the Texas Department of Public Safety before driving privileges will be reinstated.   If the suspension is due to Driving While License Is Invalid, the fee is $100.00

The reinstatement fee can be mailed to the Department of Public Safety or paid on-line at:    https://txapps.texas.gov/txapp/txdps/dleligibility/login.do

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