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occupational / restricted/ hardship license

A driver whose license has been suspended or revoked following arrest for a DUI/DWI charge may sometimes apply for an occupational or restricted driver’s license to perform essential life functions until the driver is able to seek to have their driver’s license reinstated. This temporary and limited driver’s license is known by a number of names, including an occupational license, a restricted license, an essential need license, a hardship license, or a limited driving privilege (LDP) license.

Laws regarding the availability and use of such restricted licenses vary from state to state but generally allow the driver to drive to and from (1) work; (2) school, college, or university; (3) places the driver must visit to maintain the household, including the grocery store or market, pharmacy, laundromat, and gas station; (4) church or place of worship; (5) medical appointments; and (6) court-ordered alcohol treatment and rehabilitation programs. Driving to visit family or friends or to attend social events is not permitted on a restricted license.

A person applying for an occupational or restricted driver’s license will be required to pay application fees to the department of motor vehicles and will often be required to submit an SR-22 proof of insurance form (see the related subtopic).

Laws regarding the availability and use of restricted licenses following a DUI/DWI arrest are generally located in a state’s statutes—often in the vehicle code, motor vehicle code, or transportation code.

In Texas, individuals whose driver's licenses have been suspended or revoked due to a DUI/DWI arrest may apply for an occupational license, which is a type of restricted driver's license. This license allows them to drive for essential needs such as going to work, school, performing household duties, attending church, medical appointments, and participating in court-ordered treatment programs. Driving for non-essential activities like visiting family or attending social events is not permitted with an occupational license. Applicants must pay fees and typically provide an SR-22 insurance form, which is a certificate of financial responsibility. The Texas Transportation Code outlines the specific provisions and requirements for obtaining an occupational license, including eligibility criteria, application procedures, and restrictions on use. An attorney can help navigate the application process and ensure compliance with all legal requirements.

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