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5 Things to Know About Getting an Essential Needs License

Updated: Feb 14, 2023 @ 7:23 pm

Reading Time: 3 Minutes

There are many negative consequences to a DWI arrest or conviction. One is license suspension. People need a license to legally drive, and public transportation can be spotty. Without a license, many people cannot get to work or school, or they can’t buy groceries or visit the doctor. Losing your job due to a DWI conviction could prove devastating.

Fortunately, Texas allows some people to seek an occupational license, also called an essential needs license. There are many misconceptions online about this license, and some people wrongly believe it’s easy to get. Below, our Houston DWI attorney reviews 5 fast facts about essential needs licenses.

Fact: The State Can Restrict Your Ability to Drive

Under Texas law, you might qualify for this license if you have an “essential need”:

  • You need to get to and from work
  • You need to attend school
  • You need to perform essential household duties

Some drivers have the option of installing an ignition interlock device. If you go this route, you can get an unrestricted occupational license which allows you to drive anywhere. However, if you don’t get the IID installed, then a judge can restrict when and where you drive. In fact, they can limit your ability to drive to certain routes and even hours of the day. If you violate the restrictions, you can lose your license and face Class B misdemeanor charges.

Fact: A Judge Might Order Mandatory Drug/Alcohol Testing

The law allows the judge to make drug testing a condition of receiving an occupational license. The judge can also order that you attend a course for those with alcohol dependence. If you don’t attend, the judge can revoke your license and, if you continue to drive, you are committing a crime.

Fact: You Get Only Two Essential Needs License Every 10 Years

This fact usually surprises people. They think they can get an occupational license whenever they need one. But the law in Texas is different. You can’t get more than two occupational driver’s licenses every 10 years.

Fact: Not Everyone Qualifies for an Essential Needs License

You can’t get this license if you have your license revoked for medical reasons. For example, you might have two DWI convictions. The state decides that you are an alcoholic, so they revoke your license on these medical grounds. If so, you won’t be getting an occupational license to get to work –or to go anywhere, for that matter.

Fact: You Might Need to Wait

This is another surprise. Some people hope they can quickly get this license and be back on the road as soon as possible. But many drivers will face a mandatory waiting period of 90 or 180 days, if they have prior arrests or convictions for alcohol offenses. If you have two administrative license revocations, you need to wait one year.

Contact Our DWI Attorney for Help

A driver’s license is essential in this day and age. Attorney Tad Nelson can help with obtaining an occupational license and fighting against DWI charges. Call our firm today.

Houston DWI Lawyer Tad A Nelson is Board Certified in Criminal Law by the TBLS.

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