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      If you need an occupational driver's license, call Ken Crain at (512) 869-0131 to get started. My fees start at $899 (plus government filing fees of approximately $235) for petitions filed with the Williamson County Clerk in Georgetown.

    What is an occupational license???  When your Texas driver’s license is suspended or revoked (for reasons other than medical issues or delinquent child support), I can help you apply for an occupational driver’s license. This is a special restricted license that allows you to operate a non-commercial motor vehicle in three circumstances:

o   For work (to and from work or while you are working if you need to drive while working)

o   For school (to and from school and to and from other activities that are part of the school curriculum)

o   For carrying out essential household duties

     Texas Transportation Code Section 521.241 et seq. is the law covering Occupational Licenses. We will need to request an occupational license order either from the county or district court in the county in which you reside (or from the court of original jurisdiction where you committed the offense that got your license suspended in the first place).    

     NOTE: An occupational driver's license is only good inside the State of Texas. It is NOT valid outside the State of Texas.

     NOTE: If you are taking part in a special DWI or drug court program, you may not need to file a petition. The judge for that court can provide you with an  occupational license order as part of that program.

     BEFORE we can file a petition requesting a court to grant you an occupational driver’s license, you must do the following:

1.  Obtain an SR-22 Financial Responsibility Form; no other form of proof of insurance will suffice. An SR-22 is a form you get from your automobile insurance provider that states that you have liability insurance while driving a specific automobile. You must get an SR-22 from your auto insurance company since a regular proof of insurance form that is required for all Texas drivers will not suffice.

2.  If you are employed, you will need a letter from your employer that states the days and hours of employment and the location(s) of employment. (If you travel as part of your job, you can usually still get an occupational license unless you have to use a commercial driver's license in your employment. The court cannot grant an occupational license for the operation of a commercial motor vehicle to which Chapter 522 of the Texas Transportation Code applies.) You need to make sure you ask for the right to drive in the specific Texas counties that you will need to drive in during the entire period for which the Occupational License will be valid. The judge will not allow you to drive outside of Williamson County unless you ask for other counties and tell him/her why you need to be able to drive outside of Williamson County. The judge has a tremendous amount of discretion in deciding whether to grant you an occupational license and the terms and conditions of the license, if he/she decides to grant you an occupational license. The judge can restrict your driving to only Williamson County, or deny the petition for the occupational license altogether, if he/she decides that is appropriate.

3.     You will need a recent certified copy of your driving record. (Note: DPS refers to this as a "Certified List of All Accidents and Violations in Record (Type 3A)". Make sure you request the correct certified copy of your driving record.)  You can get the form to request your driving record online. You can also order the certified copy online at https://www.texasonline.state.tx.us/tolapp/txldrcdr/TXDPSLicenseeManager if you have the audit number for your driver's license. The audit number for your driver's license appears on the license itself. This website tells you how to find the audit number on your driver's license.

4.     A filing fee of approximately $235 must be paid to the district clerk or county clerk when the petition is filed. (In some cases, you can file the petition with a justice of the peace and pay a much smaller filing fee.)

5.     Depending upon the court the petition gets filed in, you may or may not have to be present when the petition is presented to the judge for consideration. If the petition is filed with the county clerk, then your attorney can usually get the judge to consider the matter within a day or two after filing the petition. If the petition is filed with the district clerk, then your attorney will usually have to set the matter on the court's docket and you and your attorney will both have to personally appear in court before the judge will consider the matter.

     Note: Under some circumstances, you will have to get an ignition interlock device installed in your motor vehicle before the judge will sign an order granting you an occupational driver's license (Section 521.246 of Texas Transportation Code). An ignition interlock device will require you to take a breath test and pass it before the vehicle will even start. You will be responsible for paying for the installation fee and monthly rental fee for this device. Under some circumstances, the order granting an occupational license will not be valid until some time has elapsed after the suspension takes effect (Section 521.251 of Texas Transportation Code).

     Most local judges will restrict you to driving no more than four hours a day, although with good cause you might be able to drive up to 12 hours a day if the judge approves it. You will probably be required to maintain a log showing the date, time of departure, time of arrival at the destination, description of destination, etc. You must be diligent about filling out this log each and every time you get behind the wheel. You have to carry it with you in the vehicle during any period of operation and provide it to any police officer who asks to see it after a traffic stop.

     Most local judges will not allow you to drive before 5:00 a,m. or 6:00 a.m. or after 9:00 p.m. or 10:00 p.m. daily. If you have a good reason to need to drive outside of these hours due to work or school, you can probably get the judge to approve it. It is best to provide a letter from an employer that shows the days and hours of employment if you want to be able to drive before 6:00 a.m. or after 9:00 p.m. daily. Most local judges will allow you to drive to and from Alcoholics Anonymous meetings, to and from community service, to and from visits to a probation officer, to and from religious services and any other activity that is ordered as part of your misdemeanor or felony probation or other court order.

     After the judge signs an order, I will go to the county clerk’s (or district clerk's) office and get certified copies of both the petition and the court order that grants the occupational license.

     Once you have an Order Granting an Occupational Driver’s License signed by a judge, then you need to apply for a restricted license (occupational) by mail:

Driver Improvement Bureau
Texas Department of Public Safety
PO Box 15999
Austin, TX   78761-5999

Questions for DPS? Call (512) 424-7120.

     Be ready to pay a $10 occupational license fee to DPS if your license will last one year or less. The DPS will issue up to a two-year license (maximum) as long as the court grants it. The fee is ten dollars for up to one year. The fee is twenty dollars for a period of more than one year up to two years.

     Don’t confuse the court order with the actual occupational license. The court orders DPS to issue you an occupational license. The court does not issue the actual occupational license itself. You’ll have to follow through with the above steps to promptly submit a certified copy of the petition, the court order and other required items (SR-22, etc.) to the Texas DPS. The court order by itself is good for driving for up to 30 days from the day the judge signed the order. After 30 days, you will also need the DPS issued occupational license. (Note: some insurance companies will collect the filing fee for the SR-22 from you at the time they provide you with a copy of the SR-22 and they will file it for you with DPS. Some will give you the original form that you must file with DPS yourself and you will be responsible for paying the DPS filing fee when you file it.)

If you are driving pursuant to an occupational license, then you have to carry the following items with you when you drive:

1. Certified copy of the court order granting the occupational license.

2. Proof of insurance (the same form that all Texas drivers have to carry).

3. Log form that has to shown signs of being diligently used. Must be filled out every time you get behind the wheel. I will give you several copies of a log form and you will have to make additional copies to fill out as you need them.

4. Starting no more than 30 days after the judge signs the order, you must also carry with you the DPS-issued occupational license. If you get stopped by law enforcement while driving on an occupational license, you must be able to show all four of these items to the police officer so that he/she will be able to determine if you are in compliance with the order.

Note: Some judges will require in the order granting the occupational license that you submit to a breath test if a law enforcement officer requests it while you are driving with an occupational license. It should go without saying that you should not drive with an occupational license with any alcohol on your breath. Many people who have occupational licenses are forced to do so because they have had DWI's or other alcohol-related issues in the past. Many law enforcement officers will give you NO benefit of a doubt when it comes to drinking and driving while using an occupational license. Therefore, I recommend NOT consuming ANY amount of alcohol before driving with an occupational license. This advice is based on over 29 years of practicing law in Williamson County.

   It is a class B misdemeanor to fail to carry a certified copy of the order with you while driving pursuant to the occupational license order. It is also a Class B misdemeanor to operate a motor vehicle in violation of a restriction imposed on the license. (That means it is a crime to drive during a time that is not authorized in the court order. It is also a crime to drive in a county that is not authorized in the court order.) The occupational license and the order granting the occupational license are revoked if you are convicted of this crime. (You can go to jail for up to 180 days and be fined up to $2,000 for a class B misdemeanor in Texas.)

     At the end of your suspension period, be ready to pay a $125 reinstatement fee to DPS as required for the following suspension programs:

Safety Responsibility

Driver Improvement

Administrative License Revocation (ALR)

     If you need an occupational driver's license, call Ken Crain at (512) 869-0131 to get started. My fees start at $899 (plus government filing fees of approximately $235) for petitions filed with the Williamson County Clerk in Georgetown.




 
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