You cannot drive a commercial vehicle with an occupational driver’s license. According to the Texas Department of Public Safety (TxDPS), “An occupational driver license cannot be issued for purposes of operating a commercial motor vehicle during a period of license suspension, revocation, cancellation or denial.”
If you are facing license suspension or revocation of a commercial driver’s license (CDL), our criminal defense team may be able to help you reduce or eliminate these charges, which may lead to fewer penalties. We can review the case for free to determine how to build a defense and help you maintain your work duties.
You may be Able to Contest a CDL Disqualification or Reinstate It
Even though you cannot drive a commercial vehicle with an occupational driver’s license, you may have other options, such as contesting the CDL disqualification or reinstating your CDL.
Request a Hearing to Contest Disqualification
According to the TxDPS, you may be able to request a departmental hearing to contest the disqualification of your commercial driver’s license, provided you submit the request within the filing period. The filing period is typically 20 days of your license’s disqualification.
Should you decide to work with a criminal defense lawyer from our team, we can present the case and help you appeal the decision to disqualify your CDL. We can serve as your representative and attend hearings at the local municipal or justice court on your behalf.
Reinstate Your CDL
In some cases, you may be able to reinstate your CDL. People who committed two or more serious offenses may have to wait until their disqualification period ends, but they do not have to meet any reinstatement requirements.
Those with lifetime disqualification periods (10 years) may have to fill out a CDL Disqualification Reinstatement form (CDL-8) to reinstate their license.
What is an Occupational Driver’s License?
An occupational driver’s license (ODL) is a restricted license that allows people who have had their driver’s license suspended or revoked to fulfill necessary driving duties in their life. These duties include:
- Being able to drive to work or school
- Being able to get groceries or pharmaceutical items
- Being able to attend legal and medical appointments
While an ODL may allow drivers to resume regular activities, this does not include recreational activities, like going to the movies or restaurants. There are several restrictions that drivers must abide by.
ODLs also do not allow drivers to operate commercial vehicles, so you may need to pursue other actions to restore those abilities.
Restrictions and Requirements
If your license was suspended or revoked due to a DWI conviction, you may still apply for an ODL to drive under restricted conditions. Per the Texas Transportation Code §521.246, you may receive one of the following ODL restrictions:
- Driving with an ignition interlock device: You may receive an ODL that allows you to drive unlimited hours at any time, provided there is an ignition interlock device installed in the vehicle. If you have multiple vehicles, an interlock device must be installed in each vehicle you own.
- Driving without an ignition interlock device: You may receive an ODL that allows you to forgo the ignition interlock device requirement. However, your driving hours will be limited, and you will also be limited on the places you may visit.
You may also be under community supervision (probation) in order to maintain the occupational driver’s license.
Penalties for Violating the Rules of Your Occupational Driver License
If you obtain an ODL and violate its terms, you may be subject to multiple penalties. ODL violations are considered class B misdemeanors, so you may receive penalties such as:
- Revocation of your occupational driver license
- A fine of up to $2,000
- Additional time on your probationary period if you are serving probation
- Jail or prison time
If you are accused of violating the rules and restrictions of an occupational driver’s license, our legal team may be able to defend your case. We may be able to collect evidence that shows you complied with the ODL requirements.
If you received a false positive in your ignition interlock device (e.g., mouthwash may leave traces of alcohol in your mouth), we may also be able to argue that any alleged violations were also false.
Our Attorneys at the Law Offices of Randall B. Isenberg Want to Help You
If you face losing your commercial driver’s license due to a DWI or another traffic offense, our criminal defense team at the Law Offices of Randall B. Isenberg may be able to help you reduce or eliminate your charges. If you are considering getting an occupational driver’s license to fulfill your work duties, we can review the case to see how we may be able to help.
For a free case review, call our team today.