In Texas, an occupational license is a restricted drivers license which can be obtained if your regular driving privileges have been suspended.

If you have been charged with or convicted of DWI, receive a certain number of traffic ticket convictions, are deemed an habitual violator by the Texas Department of Public Safety, your drivers license may be suspended.  Also, convictions for DWLS (driving with a suspended license) or DWLI (driving while license invalid) can lead to your license being suspended for an additional period of time.  Driving with a suspended license is a crime in Texas, which is punishable by jail time.  An occupational license allows you to continue driving, while avoiding the possibility of arrest.

Occupational licenses are limited, in that an occupational license holder can only drive for limited purposes, at specific times of the day, and to and from certain locations.  In Texas, an occupational license holder can only drive for an “essential need.”  In other words, he or she is, in most cases, allowed to drive lawfully to work, school, and to obtain groceries (i.e., those purposes thought to be “necessities”).  Also, an occupational license limits the ability of its holder in that he or she can only drive 12 hours per day.  However, you are usually allowed to select the hours you wish to drive, and the hours need not be consecutive.  For example, if you drive to work from 9 to 10 a.m., to lunch between noon and 1 p.m., and back home from 5 to 6 p.m., the law allows our Dallas County occupational license attorneys to can ask the court to order that only these three hours count against the 12 hours you are allowed to drive per day.  Under this example, you would still have 9 hours remaining per day during which you could drive.  Finally, an occupational license holder can only drive in his or her county of residence, and those adjacent to it.  For example, if you live in Dallas County, your occupational license lawyer would petition the court to allow you to drive not only in Dallas County, but also in Collin, Rockwall, Kaufman, Ellis, Tarrant, and Denton Counties.

The statutory authority for petitioning a Texas court for an occupational drivers license is, in part, set forth in the Texas Transportation Code, Section 521.242.  Please note that the following excerpt is only a small portion of the statutory law relevant to occupational licenses in Texas, is provided for reference purposes only, and should not be considered legal advice:

Sec. 521.242.  PETITION. (a) A person whose license has been suspended for a cause other than a physical or mental disability or impairment or a conviction under Section 49.04, Penal Code, may apply for an occupational license by filing a verified petition with the clerk of the county court or district court with jurisdiction in the county in which:

(1)  the person resides; or

(2)  the offense occurred for which the license was suspended.

(b)  A person may apply for an occupational license by filing a verified petition only with the clerk of the county court or district court in which the person was convicted if:

(1)  the person’s license has been automatically suspended or canceled under this chapter for a conviction of an offense under the laws of this state; and

(2)  the person has not been issued, in the 10 years preceding the date of the filing of the petition, more than one occupational license after a conviction under the laws of this state.

(c)  A petition filed under this section must set forth in detail the person’s essential need.

(d)  A petition filed under Subsection (b) must state that the petitioner was convicted in that court for an offense under the laws of this state.

(e)  The clerk of the court shall file the petition as in any other civil matter.

(f)  A court may not grant an occupational license for the operation of a commercial motor vehicle to which Chapter 522 applies.

If you need help with a Dallas County occupational drivers license, call us now.  The Dallas County occupational license lawyers at Berlof & Newton, P.C. can assist you with obtaining a Dallas County occupational license.  Call us now @ 214.827.2800 or use the contact form on this website.