DWI and eligibility for an occupational driver license

| Jan 21, 2019 |

The state of Texas has harsh penalties for driving while intoxicated, which include heavy fines, the possibility of jail time and loss of your driving privileges.

If you cannot drive, how will you get to work, to a medical appointment or to your post-graduate classes? Take heart; you may be eligible for an occupational driver license, especially if you are a first offender.

What it is

Also known as an essential need license, an occupational driver license is a type of restricted license for which you may qualify. It is a license the Texas Department of Public Safety can issue to you after a suspension or revocation of your driver’s license. This special license allows you to drive a noncommercial vehicle to work, to school or when you need to perform certain essential household responsibilities such as grocery shopping.

The court order

To acquire an occupational driver license, you must petition the county or district court where your DWI offense occurred. The judge will review your petition and, if approved, will sign a court order for you to submit to the Department of Public Safety. While the DPS is processing your special license, you can use the order as a temporary license for up to 45 days from the date the judge signed the order, and you must keep it in your car or truck. You can only operate your vehicle according to the terms. You must show the court order to any law enforcement who stops you for a driving issue together with your occupational driver license, once you have it.

The possibility of denial

The DPS may deny an occupational driver license for certain reasons. For example, a previous license suspension due to a drug- or alcohol-related offense would be grounds for denial. If law enforcement has arrested you for DWI, you should not delay looking into the legal options available, especially if this is your first offense. You may qualify for the special, restricted license.