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Occupational Licenses: When You Need to Drive for Work

Texas law allows the Department of Public Safety (DPS) to suspend or revoke a driver’s license in certain situations even if the person has not been convicted of driving while intoxicated (DWI).  For example, a driver who refuses to take a blood or breath test for alcohol when asked to do so during a traffic stop may have his or her license suspended for at least 180 days, even if no arrest or conviction results from the stop.

An occupational license allows a driver to keep driving in order to go to work or school or to perform essential household chores.  An occupational license may also be granted for certain non-DWI-related reasons, like suspension of a license for surcharges.  However, a license that is suspended, revoked, or denied for medical reasons or for unpaid child support prevents the driver from seeking an occupational license.

The first step in requesting an occupational license is to submit a request to the Justice of the Peace, the county court, or the district court where the driver lives.  You may work with an attorney of your choice to submit this request.  If the court approves the request, it will issue a court order authorizing the Department of Public Safety to issue an occupational license.

However, one way to try and avoid the need for an Occupational License is for a person arrested and charged with DWI, is for that person to fight the suspension.  In Texas, a person who either refuses to provide a blood or breath specimen, or who provides such a specimen only to have it register higher than .08 BAC (Blood Alcohol Concentration) will have their Driver’s License privileges suspended.  This person has fifteen days from the day of the arrest to request a hearing (called an Administrative License Revocation hearing, or ALR hearing) to challenge the license suspension.  You may choose an experienced Austin, Texas DWI defense attorney to represent you at the hearing.

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