How to Get an Occupational License in Texas

How to Get an Occupational License in Texas

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When might you need to get an occupational driver’s license in Texas?

gavel and lady liberty with law books in the background

There are a few situations that could result in this need:

  • Your license has been suspended for a DUI/DWI violation.
  • You have not paid surcharges – fines you must pay for having excessive points for traffic violations, or being convicted for specific offenses, like a DUI.  These fines are in addition to existing fines or penalties specifically for each violation.
  • You have not paid for a judgment against you, and you do not have liability insurance to cover damages for which you are responsible.
  • You have excessive citations already.
  • You refuse to submit to chemical testing or a field sobriety test..

What can You Do with an Occupational Driver’s License?

If you are in need of an occupational license, you can use it to:

  • Go to work
  • Attend activities related to school
  • Perform essential household duties

You can only drive a non-commercial vehicle to perform any of these activities.

What Documents do You Need, and How Does the Process Work?

Actually getting an occupational license is the hard part.  To receive the license, you’ll need the following documents:

  • Certified copy of your petition for the license (not required if you are part of special drug court program)
  • Certified copy of the court order granting the license
  • Certificate of insurance/financial responsibility (form SR-22)

And, you’ll need to pay the fee for the occupational license itself, along with any other fees required for reinstatement.

Can you drive while you wait for DPS to issue the occupational license?  The answer is you can, but make sure to keep the court order with you, because that’s your license until you get your occupational license.  The court order functions as an occupational license for up to 30 days from the date the judge signed the document.

In most cases, the occupational license is only good for one year, but you can get the license for up to two years.

Waiting Periods that Apply

Yes, things don’t work that straightforward in the courts.  You may not be able to just go out and get your occupational license, and have it in your hands a couple weeks later (that requires the help of a professional).

If you meet any of the following conditions, you may have to wait to get your occupational license:

  • Your license was previously suspended because of an offense related to drugs or alcohol.  In this case, a 90-day waiting period applies.
  • Your driver’s license was already suspended when you received the current violation, and the suspension was related to being intoxicated at the time of driving.  A 180-day waiting period applies in this situation.
  • You already have two administrative license revocations on your driving record.  In this case, you have a one-year waiting period applied.

Are There Any Situations Where You’re Not Eligible for an Occupational License?

Yes, and that happens when your driving privilege is currently denied, revoked, suspended, or cancelled in Texas.  And this applies for any and all reasons that you currently don’t have your driving privileges.

What if You’re Under the Age of 21?

If you’re under 21 and you failed an intoxication test, this is what happens:

  • If you have no other convictions related to alcohol, you must wait 30 days after the administrative license has been in effect to get your occupational license.
  • If you have one prior conviction related to alcohol, you must wait for 90 days after you receive an administrative license.
  • You are not eligible for an occupational driver’s license if you have been convicted of 2 or more alcohol-related offenses.

What Other Requirements Must be Met?

Besides the various waiting periods, if you have received an administrative license suspension related to alcohol, you must attend counseling and rehabilitative services for individuals that have alcohol dependence.

What Happens If You Try to Just Drive Without a License Anyway?

So, this all sounds like a lot of work and frustration.  You might think, “Well, I know where the cops sit all the time, so I’ll just make sure I obey the law and don’t get pulled over.  I’ll be just fine driving without a license.”

It’s easy to think that way, and you just might get away with it, but you take a big risk by driving without a license.

This is what happens if you decide to do that and get caught:

  • You get arrested
  • Your vehicle gets towed
  • You will have to post bond to get out of jail
  • The court charges you with a Class B Misdemeanor
  • You pay fines and get placed on probation
  • You will have to hire an attorney to resolve this whole situation

Those consequences won’t be pleasant, so it makes sense to not take the high risk, and instead go through the legal processes necessary to get your occupational driver’s license.

Enough Already!  How do You Get an Occupational License?

If you’re not sure of the status of your license, you can check your driving record in Texas at the Texas Department of Public Safety License Eligibility System.  It’s a nice resource that lets you pay fees related to your driver’s license suspension, and you can also check what you need to do to get your license back again.

Even if your license has been suspended for years, you can get a hearing almost instantly, and obtain an order from the judge to operate your vehicle.  But this all requires you to file a civil suit.  You file the suit with your court or justice of the peace court.

The catch is this situation isn’t simple to navigate on your own – it requires the help and experience of an attorney.

At Starr Law, P.C., we offer FREE consultations to learn the specifics of your case and show you how we can help you.

Just call 214.219.8440, and we’ll help you get your occupational license back as fast as we can.

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