Dallas Occupational License Lawyer (information on obtaining occupational licenses in the State of Texas):
If you live in Texas and your Texas license has been suspended, you may qualify for an occupational license to get to and from work, and for essential household needs. Many people qualify for this type license. Call our Dallas occupational license lawyer at the Law Office of Doug Goyen today to see if you qualify and what you will need to do to obtain your occupational license.
Occupational licenses are needed when your personal license has been suspended for some reason. Often, people are unsure why their license was suspended in the first place. You will need to contact the Texas Department of Public Safety to determine why your license was suspended. If you feel you need help in determining why your license was suspended, your attorney can often help you in obtaining this information and helping guide you in getting your license back.
Suspensions of licenses: (Civil penalty – why it isn’t considered “punishment” in Texas). Texas (and most states for that matter) consider it a privilege to be granted a drivers license. So the revocation of your license is not considered criminal punishment by taking away a “right”, it is considered a civil matter of taking away a “privilege”. This is why Texas (and other states) can automatically suspend your license upon the refusal or failure of a breath test (without a trial). They do give you the right to request a hearing on the suspension (an ALR hearing – Administrative License Revocation hearing), but the suspension comes before the ALR hearing, you have to “request” a hearing to stop the suspension – and the hearing is not granted the same protections and rights as a criminal proceeding – because it is considered a civil proceeding.
Reasons your license may be suspended in Texas (see Texas Transportation Code 521.291 – 461):
There are multiple reasons a license can be suspended in Texas. The following list is of most reasons licenses are suspended in Texas:
1) Failure to take care of traffic violations or citations (you have warrants out).
2) DWI’s (convictions, breath and blood test refusals, breath and blood test failures)
3) Drug Offenses
4) Habitual Traffic Offenders – four or more moving violations in one year, or seven in two years.
5) No Insurance Tickets
6) Not paying surcharges
7) Automobile accident judgment (where you didn’t have insurance cover the accident)
8) Criminally negligent homicide while driving a vehicle
9) Fleeing the police in a vehicle
10) Leaving the scene of an accident with injury or death
11) Criminal mischief
12) Not paying child support
13) Driving with your license suspended (causes an additional suspension)
14) Habitually reckless or negligent operation of a motor vehicle
15) Fraudulent use of your driver’s license
16) Violation of a restriction endorsement on your license
17) Has been responsible as a driver for any accident causing serious injury or serious property damage
18) Has a provisional license under 521.123 and convicted of two or more moving violations in a year – or fleeing from an officer.
19) Incapacity due to medical or mental reasons (including drug / alcohol dependency issues)
20) Intoxication Assault (causing an injury in an accident while intoxicated).
21) Sex Offenders who have not registered
22) Taking fuel without payment
23) Racing on a public highway
24) Employment of an unlicensed driver
25) Renting a vehicle to an unlicensed driver
What you can do about it (ALR Hearing):
If your license is suspended, you can request an Administrative License Revocation hearing (ALR hearing). The request for a hearing must be done within 15 days of the notice of the suspension. If the judge finds in your favor, your license will not be suspended.
Often, people do not receive the notice of suspension and end up missing their ability to request an ALR hearing. Usually this is due to the person moving addresses and not changing their address on their drivers license. The State of Texas places a “do not forward” statement on their envelopes that they send. So the Post Office will not forward this piece of mail, even if you have left a forwarding address. The reason they can get away with this is because it is a criminal offense for you to not change your address on your license when you move. Therefore, you are deemed to have gotten the notice required when they send the notice to your old address (even though you never really knew anything about it).
What you can do about it if you missed your ALR Hearing or lost your ALR Hearing (Occupational License – covered by Texas Transportation Code 521.242 – 253, and 37 Texas Administrative Code 15.7):
Some people do not qualify (or may have additional hurdles to overcome):
1) Commercial drivers licenses are not allowed occupational licenses during suspension
2) Mental or physical disability that has caused the suspension – the person is not allowed an occupational license
3) Child Support suspensions – not allowed an occupational license
4) Hearings may be requested by the District Attorney’s office if your license was suspended for: Criminally Negligent Homicide, DWI, Intoxication Assault, Intoxication Manslaughter, drivers who are under 21 and have had their license suspended.
5) Failure or refusal of blood or breath tests will result in the court requiring counseling and rehabilitation services on the part of the person requesting an occupational license.
6) Interlock is required for an occupational license IF two or more alcohol related convictions, and license is currently suspended for a DWI offense. The interlock must be installed for at least half the period of the occupational license (judge’s discretion if they want it on the whole time). If the last previous DWI offense was more than 10 years ago, it will not be used against that person in determining the need for an interlock.
Those who Qualify for an Occupational License:
If you have had your license suspended following a DWI related offense your attorney may be able to obtain an Occupational License if you have an essential need for operating a motor vehicle.
Essential need is defined as:
- in the performance of an occupation or trade or for transportation to and from the place where a person practices his occupation or trade;
- for transportation to and from an educational facility in which the person is enrolled; or
- in the performance of essential household duties.
You also will need to provide proof of a valid policy of automobile liability insurance in accordance with the Texas Motor Vehicle Safety Responsibility Act. The court then defines the hours, days, reasons allowed for travel. It also specifies routes of travel and will not allow more than 4 hours of drive time in any 24 hour period unless proper showing of necessity is shown to the court, and the court waives this requirement. If you can show the court a need to drive more hours, they can give you up to 12 hours a day to drive – you must specify which hours per day you wish to drive. You will also need to advise the court of which counties you will need to drive in.
Violation of Restrictions on Occupational License: It is a criminal violation under 521.253 to drive outside the restrictions of your occupational license – this will result in revoking your occupational license, and being charged with a Class B misdemeanor – with up to 180 days in jail, and up to a $2000 fine.
Penalty for driving while your license is suspended: DWLS (and consequences):
If you are caught driving with your license suspended, you will possibly be arrested and charged with a Class B misdemeanor of Driving With License Suspended (DWLS). The penalty range is up to 180 days in jail, and a $500 fine. Additionally, you will have your licenses suspended for an additional time due to the conviction. You will also accumulate additional surcharges upon your license – so that when you try to get your license reinstated it will cost you additional money to do so.
A Dallas Occupational License lawyer will be able to guide you through the court system in Dallas - get your petition filed in the correct location, giving you the greatest change to be successful in obtaining an occupational license.
CALL (972) 599-4100 or Contact Us Online if you need an occupational license.