Can I still drive to work after a DWI arrest?

On Behalf of | Apr 12, 2024 | Drunk Driving

Many different issues can lead to a traffic stop. If a Texas police officer witnesses your vehicle veering over the yellow line, for instance, chances are, you will soon see flashing red and blue lights in your rearview mirror, signaling you to pull over. Events often unfold rather quickly. One minute, you’re driving home from a night out with friends, and the next, you’re in the back of a police car heading to a county jail for suspected DWI.

A single traffic stop can have both immediate and far-reaching implications in your daily life, especially if you incur a driver’s license suspension because of DWI charges. A suspension might mean that you have no way to get to work. This can place your job at risk, which can quickly lead to financial crisis, especially if you are the primary income earner in your household.

Good news — you might qualify for an occupational license after a DWI

Provided that the court did not suspend your license due to unpaid child support or a medical condition, you might be eligible for an occupational driver’s license following a DWI arrest. This is a license that enables you to lawfully operate a motor vehicle for specific reasons. Such reasons include going to school, work or essential household duties like grocery shopping.

You must file a petition to request an occupational driver’s license following a DWI arrest. You’ll typically have several options as to where to submit your petition, including the original court of jurisdiction where your arrest took place, as well as a Justice of the Peace or district court in your residential area. Be aware, however, that if the court issues an order to grant your request, you must take further action to obtain the occupational driver’s license.

Send court order and required documentation to the Department of Public Safety

In addition to the court order approving your request for an occupational license, you must also submit application fees, a financial responsibility insurance certificate and several other important documents to the Department of Public Safety. Only after you have met all requirements will the department issue your occupational driver’s license. It’s worth noting that this system is set up for non-commercial driving licenses only.

If the court has revoked or suspended your commercial driver’s license (CDL) because of DWI or for any other reason, you are not eligible for an occupational license to temporarily replace the CDL. An occupational license is only issued for operation of non-commercial vehicles. If you’re unsure whether you qualify for an occupational license in Texas, you may reach out for guidance from someone who is knowledgeable about drunk driving laws in this state.