Following an arrest for driving while intoxicated in Harris County, you could find your normal standard of living is turned upside down. Simple tasks like getting to work or going to the store are suddenly a challenge due to your driver's license suspension. This suspension happens after an arrest but can also be a part of a sentence if you are later convicted of the DWI.
Sure, options like rideshare exist for anyone that no longer has a valid license. For anyone working on a budget, however, the additional cost of hiring a cab or a rideshare driver multiple times each day could be too much. Additionally, with insurance premiums often paid in advance, it is likely impossible to avoid the cost of maintaining your vehicle, whether you can drive it or not.
Recognizing these issues, Texas adopted what are known as occupational licenses. These licenses allow you to drive while your license remains suspended due to DWI. However, there are strict limitations on the hours you can use this license.
Occupational Licenses in Houston
Occupational driver's licenses are also known as restricted licenses. They provide a person whose driving privileges have been suspended for DWI with the limited ability to drive to work or for other necessary obligations.
Typically, the use of these licenses is limited in time, purpose, and geography. These licenses come with specific times where driving is allowed. Typically, the time these licenses are available is tailored to your personal work or school schedule. However, they are not available for anyone who works less than four hours per week, and they will not be granted for longer than 12 hours per day or for more than six days per week.
In addition to driving to work, this restricted license does allow driving for other limited purposes. These purposes include school, household needs, or medical appointments. Additionally, the license is only valid in the Texas counties in which you need to travel for these purposes. Under state law, driving a motor vehicle outside of the scope of the restricted license is punishable with fines and jail time. In fact, you face the same penalties as if you had driven on a suspended license.
“No Alcohol” Stipulations
Restricted licenses in DWI cases typically include a stipulation that you will not drink alcohol prior to driving on the license. In many cases, this stipulation is coupled with an ignition interlock device. These devices require you to blow air into them in order to start your car engine. The device measures the alcohol concentration in your blood and prevents you from driving if you are over the legal limit.
Reach Out to a Houston DWI Defense Lawyer
While a restricted license is preferable to spending months unable to drive, the reality is your best option is avoiding a DWI conviction entirely. It might seem farfetched to think that you can beat your charges given the resources prosecutors have, but the truth is that DWI cases are defensible. To learn how you can fight back in your case, call the Doug Murphy Law Firm, P.C.