Whether you need to apply for a restricted license after a DWI conviction in Texas depends on whether the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) suspends your license. To avoid a license suspension, you must request a hearing within 15 days of your arrest. If you fail to do so, DPS will suspend your license automatically. If you fail to argue your case successfully during your suspension hearing, DPS will likely uphold the suspension of your license.
Options for Restricted Driver’s Licenses After a DWI Conviction in Texas
If DPS suspends your license, you may have the option to apply for one or more types of restricted license. The two most common are an occupational license, which lets you drive to and from work, and a restricted interlock license, which lets you drive a vehicle equipped with a device that checks your blood alcohol content (BAC) before it will start.
An occupational license, or essential need license, is a restricted license that allows you to drive only for specific purposes, typically to and from work and school, and for certain essential household tasks, such as grocery shopping. The court typically issues an occupational license for one year. The maximum length of time you can receive an occupational license is two years.
You can apply for an occupational license by making a request to the Justice of the Peace, county or district court, or the court of original jurisdiction where you were arrested. If the court finds cause to grant you an occupational license, it will issue an order, which you can take to the DPS for issuance of the license. An attorney can explain the process in further detail and help you compose a compelling request to submit to the Justice of the Peace.
Restricted Interlock License
A restricted interlock license is one that allows you to drive only if your vehicle features an ignition interlock device, a tool that prevents your vehicle from starting until you pass a breathalyzer test. If the breathalyzer detects alcohol, your vehicle will not start.
To receive this license, you will have to apply and pay a fee to the DPS. An attorney can help you through the process and give you the best chance of a successful outcome.
You should speak with a Texas DWI defense lawyer as soon as possible to discuss your options for retaining your driving privileges while serving out your sentence. As most Texans know, this is a car-centric state, and not being able to drive can affect your work, family, and social life.
There are several things you will need to do before you are able to get a restricted license. A lawyer can help.
Waiting Period for a Restricted License
Depending on the circumstances, you may need to wait a certain period of time to apply for your restricted license.
These waiting periods include:
- 90 days if DPS has previously suspended your driver’s license for a drug or alcohol-related offense
- 180 days if your license was “in suspension” resulting from an “intoxication-related conviction”
- One year if you have two or more prior administrative license revocations on your record
Driver’s License Suspension Length for a DWI in Texas
How long DPS will suspend your license depends on whether you have any prior convictions as well as whether there were any aggravating circumstances present at the time of your arrest.
A first-offense DWI can include a license suspension that lasts between 90 days and one year. The court may waive the suspension for your first offense.
A second-offense DWI includes a license suspension that lasts between 180 days and two years.
A third-offense DWI (or one that involves an accident that caused injuries or death) includes a license suspension that lasts between 180 days and two years.
You will also face suspension if you refuse (or previously refused) to take a breathalyzer test.
A driver’s license suspension is a genuine possibility with a DWI conviction in Texas. You have several options to keep driving, however, even when serving out your suspension, and a DWI defense lawyer can help you explore them.
Call 855-600-6695 for a Free Consultation With the Texas DWI Defense Team at Eddington Worley
The DWI defense lawyers at Eddington Worley want to help you move forward with your life following a DWI conviction. If you have lost your license, we can help you obtain a restricted license, so you can still work and have a life.
Call 855-600-6695 today for a free consultation.