Getting an Occupational License

An occupational license, also called an essential need license, is a special type of restricted license issued to individuals whose driver license has been suspended, revoked or denied for certain offenses other than medical or delinquent child support.

An occupational license authorizes the operation of a non-commercial motor vehicle in connection with an individual’s:

  1. Work,
  2. School-related activities, or
  3. Performance of essential household duties.

NOTE: Individuals may still qualify for an occupational license even if their driver license has been suspended for surcharges.

Individuals may be eligible to apply for an occupational license while their CDL is disqualified. If approved, the occupational license will be issued for noncommercial motor vehicle purposes only, and the individual must drop to a lower class of driver license.

Request an Occupational License

Requests for an occupational license must be made to the Justice of the Peace, county or district court where the individual lives or to the court of original jurisdiction where the offense occurred.

If the Justice of the Peace, county or district court determines the individual is eligible to apply for an occupational license, then a court order will be issued. The court order is not the occupational license. A court order is only the order which authorizes the Department of Public Safety (DPS) to issue the occupational license.

Issuance of an Occupational License

The court order and all required items must be submitted to DPS before an occupational license will be issued. The court order may be used as a driver license for 45 days from the date of the judge’s signature while the request for an occupational license is processed.

Waiting Periods

An occupational license is issued once the request is processed unless one of the following situations applies:

  1. The individual’s driver license was previously suspended as a result of an alcohol- or drug-related offense then there is a 90-day waiting period.
  2. The individual’s driver license was in suspension as a result of an intoxication-related conviction then there is a 180-day waiting period.
  3. There are at least two administrative license revocations on the individual’s driver record then a mandatory one-year waiting period applies.

To learn more about occupational licenses or to determine if you may be eligible to apply, please complete our Free CDL Ticket Case Review or give us a call toll free at (877) 308-0100.

CDL Reinstatement Requirements

Commercial Driver License Suspension in Texas

If the Department of Safety (DPS) suspended your Texas commercial driver’s license (CDL), you’ll need to satisfy your suspension requirements to reinstate it.

Your CDL may be suspended/disqualified for reasons including:

  • Alcohol/drug-related offenses and DUI/DWI convictions.
  • Leaving the scene of an accident you were involved in.
  • Serious traffic violations, such as:
  • Excessive speeding.
  • Reckless driving.

About Your Suspended CDL in Texas

The duration of your CDL suspension and reinstatement requirements will vary depending on the nature of your offense.

When your CDL has been suspended/disqualified, the Texas DPS will mail you an enforcement notification. You are required to notify your employer within 30 days of any traffic conviction.

NOTE: If your current address is not on file with the TX Department of Public Safety, you will not receive your notification, but your driver’s license will still be suspended.

Your Texas CDL will be disqualified for:

  • At least 1 year, for:
    • An alcohol-related offense.
    • Leaving the scene of an accident.
    • Being involved in a felony.
  • At least 3 years for your 1st offense (if your commercial vehicle contains hazardous materials), for:
    • An alcohol-related offense.
    • Leaving the scene of an accident.
    • Being involved in a felony.
      • NOTE: Your CDL will be disqualified permanently on your 2nd offense.
  • 60 days: For 2 serious traffic offenses within 3 years.
  • 120 days: For 3 serious traffic offenses within 3 years.
  • Life: If you use your commercial vehicle in a felony.

NOTE: In addition to Texas DPS suspensions you may face for DWI and alcohol-related offenses (under the Administrative License Revocation [ALR] program), you may also face criminal charges administered by the courts.

Your CDL can also be disqualified for traffic violations and offenses committed in a non-commercial vehicle.

Additional Federal Suspensions

In addition to state laws, you are also subject to federal regulations, which are controlled by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). These include:

  • License disqualifications and fines for violating out-of-service orders.
  • Suspensions and disqualifications ranging from 60 days to life for violations and convictions including:
    • Violating railroad-highway grade crossings.
    • Excessive speeding and reckless driving.
    • DUI/DWI and leaving the scene of an accident.

NOTE: You are required to notify your employer within 30 days of any traffic conviction.

If a CDL is disqualified due to the conviction of two or more serious traffic offenses then the individual will not have any reinstatement requirements. The CDL is automatically reinstated after the required disqualification period if there are not any other enforcement actions against the individual’s driving record.

If an individual has been disqualified from driving a commercial vehicle for life, they may be able to reinstate their CDL, according to the Texas Transportaton Code  § 522.082.

In order to reinstate a CDL, the individual must have been disqualified for at least a 10 year period and meet the Department of Public Safety’s conditions for reinstatement. If the individual is convicted of another disqualifying event after their license has been reinstated, they will be permanently disqualified and not eligible for reinstatement.

NOTE: CDL holders are not eligible to take the driver safety course.

CDL Ticket Pros can expertly handle your hearing for license suspensions, disqualifications, or revocations.  We will help you fight your commercial license suspension and make every effort to help you reinstate your license. Let us walk you through the process and keep you driving.  Complete our Free CDL Ticket Case Review or give us a call toll free at (877) 308-0100.

Driver License Disqualification Hearings

In certain circumstances, individuals may be eligible to request a hearing to contest the disqualification of their CDL. If the request is submitted within the required 20 days, the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) will send a letter to the individual to the address on record. The letter will provide the date, time and location of the hearing. Please allow up to 120 days for a hearing to be scheduled. Requests made after the required 20 days will be denied and the individual will be notified by mail.

Hearings are conducted in a municipal or justice court in the county where the individual lives. During the hearing, the individual is responsible for providing facts to the hearing officer who will determine if the grounds for the disqualification are valid.

The Texas Department of Public Safety has the power to suspend, disqualify, or revoke a person’s driving privileges if they fit into a category in which has been defined as abusing said driving privilege.  However, the process does allow most (but not all) suspensions, disqualifications, and revocations to request a hearing and have a local magistrate hear the driver’s case and reason why they should not lose their driving privilege.  Remember, a hearing MUST be requested within 20 days from the date on the DPS notification letter.

Reasons for Being Suspended:

Including but not limited to the following:

  1. Driving While Your License is Suspended or Disqualified
  2. Unpaid Surcharges – then you get caught driving
  3. Driving Without an SR-22, when required
  4. Driving Without Completing a Required Drug/Alcohol Class
  5. Unpaid Out-of- State Violation
  6. Unpaid Insurance Judgment
  7. ALR Suspension
  8. Habitual Violator (4 violations in one year, or 7 in two years)

Reasons for Being Disqualified:

Including but not limited to the following: 

  1. CDL Serious Violation – 2 serious violations in three years
  2. CDL Serious Violation – 3 serious violation in three years
  3. Multiple Alcohol violations

What if the Judge Already Suspended or Disqualified My License?

You can always appeal the judgement from the lower level up to the County Court Level.  The appeal will stay the suspension or disqualification and you can continue driving until the case comes up for hearing (within 90 days).

CDL Ticket Pros can expertly handle your hearing for license suspensions, disqualifications, or revocations.  Let us walk you through the hearing process and keep you driving.  Complete our Free CDL Ticket Case Review or give us a call toll free at (877) 308-0100.

Texas Hold’em Initiative

Texas Hold 'em InitiativeIn an effort to improve border security, Texas has implemented the Texas Hold’em Initiative. The goal of this initiative is to reduce human and illegal contraband smuggling in commercial vehicles.

The “Texas Hold ‘Em” initiative aims to reduce the trafficking of contraband in commercial vehicles such as tractor-trailers, buses and freight carriers by using existing state laws to revoke the commercial driver’s license of a person convicted of a smuggling-related offense. According to the Texas Transportation code, a person who holds a CDL is disqualified from driving a commercial vehicle for life if convicted of using any motor vehicle during the commission of a felony.

When the driver of a commercial vehicle is arrested on smuggling charges, the Border Patrol’s Combined Enforcement Unit tracks the case until the driver is convicted or found not guilty. If convicted, the driver’s information is submitted to DPS for cancellation of the individual’s CDL. Additionally, the Combined Enforcement Unit reaches out to commercial drivers and transportation companies to educate them on the consequences of smuggling.

We can help you protect your driver’s license, your commercial driving privileges, and your career as a commercial driver. Let us put our experience to work for you. Please complete our Free CDL Ticket Case Review or give us a call toll free at (877) 308-0100.

Subchapter H. Disqualification From Driving Commercial Motor Vehicle

Sec. 522.081. DISQUALIFICATION. (a) This subsection applies to a violation committed while operating any motor vehicle, including a commercial motor vehicle. A person who holds a commercial driver’s license or commercial learner’s permit is disqualified from driving a commercial motor vehicle for:

(1) 60 days if convicted of:

(A) two serious traffic violations that occur within a three-year period; or

(B) one violation of a law that regulates the operation of a motor vehicle at a railroad grade crossing; or

(2) 120 days if convicted of:

(A) three serious traffic violations arising from separate incidents occurring within a three-year period; or

(B) two violations of a law that regulates the operation of a motor vehicle at a railroad grade crossing that occur within a three-year period.

(b) Except as provided by this subsection, this subsection applies to a violation committed while operating any type of motor vehicle, including a commercial motor vehicle. A person who holds a commercial driver’s license or commercial learner’s permit is disqualified from driving a commercial motor vehicle for one year:

(1) if convicted of three violations of a law that regulates the operation of a motor vehicle at a railroad grade crossing that occur within a three-year period;

(2) on first conviction of:

(A) driving a motor vehicle under the influence of alcohol or a controlled substance, including a violation of Section 49.04, 49.045, or 49.07, Penal Code;

(B) leaving the scene of an accident involving a motor vehicle driven by the person;

(C) using a motor vehicle in the commission of a felony, other than a felony described by Subsection (d)(2);

(D) causing the death of another person through the negligent or criminal operation of a motor vehicle; or

(E) driving a commercial motor vehicle while the person’s commercial driver’s license or commercial learner’s permit is revoked, suspended, or canceled, or while the person is disqualified from driving a commercial motor vehicle, for an action or conduct that occurred while operating a commercial motor vehicle;

(3) for refusing to submit to a test under Chapter 724 to determine the person’s alcohol concentration or the presence in the person’s body of a controlled substance or drug while operating a motor vehicle in a public place; or

(4) if an analysis of the person’s blood, breath, or urine under Chapter 522, 524, or 724 determines that the person:

(A) had an alcohol concentration of 0.04 or more, or that a controlled substance or drug was present in the person’s body, while operating a commercial motor vehicle in a public place; or

(B) had an alcohol concentration of 0.08 or more while operating a motor vehicle, other than a commercial motor vehicle, in a public place.

(c) A person who holds a commercial driver’s license is disqualified from operating a commercial motor vehicle for three years if:

(1) the person:

(A) is convicted of an offense listed in Subsection (b)(2) and the vehicle being operated by the person was transporting a hazardous material required to be placarded; or

(B) refuses to submit to a test under Chapter 724 to determine the person’s alcohol concentration or the presence in the person’s body of a controlled substance or drug while operating a motor vehicle in a public place and the vehicle being operated by the person was transporting a hazardous material required to be placarded; or

(2) an analysis of the person’s blood, breath, or urine under Chapter 522, 524, or 724 determines that while transporting a hazardous material required to be placarded the person:

(A) while operating a commercial motor vehicle in a public place had an alcohol concentration of 0.04 or more, or a controlled substance or drug present in the person’s body; or

(B) while operating a motor vehicle, other than a commercial motor vehicle, in a public place had an alcohol concentration of 0.08 or more.

(d) A person is disqualified from driving a commercial motor vehicle for life:

(1) if the person is convicted two or more times of an offense specified by Subsection (b)(2), or a combination of those offenses, arising from two or more separate incidents;

(2) if the person uses a motor vehicle in the commission of a felony involving:

(A) the manufacture, distribution, or dispensing of a controlled substance; or

(B) possession with intent to manufacture, distribute, or dispense a controlled substance;

(3) for any combination of two or more of the following, arising from two or more separate incidents:

(A) a conviction of the person for an offense described by Subsection (b)(2);

(B) a refusal by the person described by Subsection (b)(3); and

(C) an analysis of the person’s blood, breath, or urine described by Subsection (b)(4); or

(4) if the person uses a motor vehicle in the commission of an offense under 8 U.S.C. Section 1324 that involves the transportation, concealment, or harboring of an alien.

(e) A person may not be issued a commercial driver’s license or a commercial learner’s permit and is disqualified from operating a commercial motor vehicle if, in connection with the person’s operation of a commercial motor vehicle, the person commits an offense or engages in conduct that would disqualify the holder of a commercial driver’s license from operating a commercial motor vehicle, or is determined to have had an alcohol concentration of 0.04 or more or to have had a controlled substance or drug present in the person’s body. The period of prohibition under this subsection is equal to the appropriate period of disqualification required by Subsections (a)-(d).

(f) In this section, “felony” means an offense under state or federal law that is punishable by death or imprisonment for a term of more than one year.

(g) A person who holds a commercial driver’s license or commercial learner’s permit is disqualified from operating a commercial motor vehicle if the person’s driving is determined to constitute an imminent hazard under 49 C.F.R. Section 383.52. The disqualification is for the disqualification period imposed under that section and shall be noted on the person’s driving record.

(h) A disqualification imposed under Subsection (g) must run concurrently with any imminent hazard disqualification that is then currently in effect.

Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 165, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1995. Amended by Acts 2001, 77th Leg., ch. 941, Sec. 10, eff. Sept. 1, 2001; Acts 2003, 78th Leg., ch. 991, Sec. 7, eff. June 1, 2005; Acts 2003, 78th Leg., ch. 1325, Sec. 8.02, eff. June 1, 2005.

Amended by:

Acts 2005, 79th Leg., Ch. 357 (S.B. 1257), Sec. 3, eff. September 1, 2005.

Acts 2007, 80th Leg., R.S., Ch. 424 (S.B. 1372), Sec. 10, eff. January 1, 2008.

Acts 2009, 81st Leg., R.S., Ch. 1146 (H.B. 2730), Sec. 18.01, eff. September 1, 2009.

Acts 2015, 84th Leg., R.S., Ch. 752 (H.B. 1888), Sec. 31, eff. January 1, 2016.

Sec. 522.082. REINSTATEMENT FOLLOWING DISQUALIFICATION FOR LIFE. (a) The department may adopt rules establishing guidelines, including conditions, under which a person disqualified for life under Section 522.081(d)(1) may apply to the department for reinstatement of the person’s commercial driver’s license, if authorized under federal law.

(b) A person is not eligible for reinstatement unless the person has been disqualified for at least 10 years and meets the department’s conditions for reinstatement.

(c) If a reinstated driver is subsequently convicted of another disqualifying offense as specified by Section 522.081(b), the person is permanently disqualified and is not eligible for reinstatement.

Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 165, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1995.

Sec. 522.083. UPDATE OF RECORDS. After disqualifying a person, the department shall update its records to reflect that action.

Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 165, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1995.

Sec. 522.084. NOTIFICATION TO OTHER JURISDICTION. After disqualifying a person who has a domicile in another state or in a foreign jurisdiction, the department shall give notice of that fact to the licensing authority of the state that issued the person’s driver’s license, commercial driver’s license, or commercial learner’s permit.

Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 165, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1995.

Amended by:

Acts 2015, 84th Leg., R.S., Ch. 752 (H.B. 1888), Sec. 32, eff. January 1, 2016.

Sec. 522.085. PROBATION OF DISQUALIFICATION PROHIBITED. Notwithstanding Section 521.303, if a person is disqualified under this chapter, the disqualification may not be probated.

Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 165, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1995.

Sec. 522.086. ISSUANCE OF ESSENTIAL NEED OR OCCUPATIONAL DRIVER’S LICENSE PROHIBITED. A person who is disqualified from operating a commercial motor vehicle may not be granted an essential need or occupational driver’s license that would authorize operation of a commercial motor vehicle.

Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 165, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1995.

Sec. 522.087. PROCEDURES APPLICABLE TO DISQUALIFICATION. (a) A person is automatically disqualified under Section 522.081(a)(1)(B), Section 522.081(b)(2), or Section 522.081(d)(2). An appeal may not be taken from the disqualification.

(b) Disqualifying a person under Section 522.081(a), other than under Subdivision (1)(B) of that subsection, Section 522.081(b)(1), or Section 522.081(d)(1) or (3) is subject to the notice and hearing procedures of Sections 521.295-521.303. An appeal of the disqualification is subject to Section 521.308.

(c) A disqualification imposed under Section 522.081(a) must run consecutively to any other disqualification that is then currently in effect.

(d) A disqualification imposed under Section 522.081(a)(1)(B) or 522.081(b)(2) or (d)(2) takes effect on the 10th day after the date the department issues the order of disqualification.

Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 165, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1995. Amended by Acts 1999, 76th Leg., ch. 1117, Sec. 3, eff. Sept. 1, 2000; Acts 2001, 77th Leg., ch. 941, Sec. 11, eff. Sept. 1, 2001; Acts 2003, 78th Leg., ch. 991, Sec. 8, eff. June 1, 2005; Acts 2003, 78th Leg., ch. 1325, Sec. 8.03, eff. June 1, 2005.

Amended by:

Acts 2007, 80th Leg., R.S., Ch. 424 (S.B. 1372), Sec. 11, eff. January 1, 2008.

Acts 2015, 84th Leg., R.S., Ch. 752 (H.B. 1888), Sec. 33, eff. January 1, 2016.

Sec. 522.088. APPLICABILITY OF OTHER LAW. Section 521.344 of this code and Subchapter I, Chapter 42A, Code of Criminal Procedure, except Article 42A.409 of that subchapter, do not apply to a person disqualified under this chapter.

Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 165, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1995.

Amended by:

Acts 2015, 84th Leg., R.S., Ch. 770 (H.B. 2299), Sec. 2.91, eff. January 1, 2017.

Sec. 522.089. EFFECT OF SUSPENSION, REVOCATION, CANCELLATION, OR DENIAL OF LICENSE OR PERMIT UNDER OTHER LAW. (a) A suspension, revocation, cancellation, or denial of a driver’s license, permit, or privilege under Chapter 521 or another law of this state disqualifies the person under this chapter.

(b) If the department disqualifies a person under this chapter for a longer period than the other law, the person is disqualified for the longer period.

Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 165, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1995.

Amended by:

Acts 2015, 84th Leg., R.S., Ch. 752 (H.B. 1888), Sec. 34, eff. January 1, 2016.

Sec. 522.090. ADDITIONAL PENALTY. In addition to any penalty imposed under this chapter, a person convicted of an offense under Section 522.071(a)(5) may be penalized or disqualified under 49 C.F.R. Part 383.

Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 165, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1995.

Sec. 522.091. RECOGNITION OF ACTION TAKEN BY OTHER STATE. (a) The department shall give an out-of-state conviction, disqualification, or denial full faith and credit and treat it for sanctioning purposes under this chapter as if it occurred in this state.

(b) The department may include the conviction, disqualification, or denial on the person’s driving record.

Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 165, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1995.

Sec. 522.092. SUSPENSION, REVOCATION, CANCELLATION, OR DENIAL OF DRIVER’S LICENSE UNDER OTHER LAWS. A person subject to disqualification under this chapter may also have the person’s driver’s license suspended, revoked, canceled, or denied under one or more of the following, if the conduct that is a ground for disqualification is also a ground for the suspension, revocation, cancellation, or denial of a driver’s license suspension under:

(1) Chapter 521;

(2) Chapter 524;

(3) Chapter 601; or

(4) Chapter 724.

Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 165, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1995.

Sec. 522.093. SELF-CERTIFICATION OF MEDICAL STATUS. The department shall remove the commercial driver’s license privilege from the holder of a commercial driver’s license or a commercial learner’s permit if the holder:

(1) fails to provide the department a self-certification of operating status; or

(2) fails to provide and maintain with the department a current medical examiner’s certificate that is required based on the self-certification.

Added by Acts 2015, 84th Leg., R.S., Ch. 752 (H.B. 1888), Sec. 35, eff. January 30, 2016.

Commercial Driver License (CDL) Disqualifications

Individuals who hold a commercial driver license (CDL) may have their CDL disqualified for a specified amount of time if they are convicted of certain offenses. A list of the most common types of convictions with the disqualification period is provided in the table below.

CDL Ticket Pros  will fight hard on your behalf, getting you the best result possible.  Complete our Free CDL Ticket Case Review or give us a call at (877) 308-0100.

NOTE: An individual may also be disqualified from operating a commercial motor vehicle if the CDL holder has been convicted of certain types of moving violations in their personal vehicle. For more information on those types of violations and other CDL rules, please visit Texas Transportation Code 522.081.

Conviction Disqualification Period
Alcohol, leaving the scene of an accident or commission of a felony At least one year
Alcohol, leaving the scene of an accident or commission of a felony while operating a commercial motor vehicle placarded for hazardous materials At least three years for first offense; lifetime for second offense
Two serious traffic offenses (i.e. excessive speeding, reckless driving, improper or erratic lane changes, following too closely, etc.) within three years 60 days
Three serious traffic offenses (i.e. excessive speeding, reckless driving, improper or erratic lane changes, following too closely, etc.) within three years 120 days
Railroad-highway grade crossing violations 60 days for first offense; 120 days for second offense within 3 years; at least 1 year for third offense within 3 years
Using a motor vehicle in the commission of a felony Lifetime

NOTE: If you have already been through the administrative hearing process and the decision resulted in the suspension of your driver license, we may be able to appeal that decision for you. Please complete our Free CDL Ticket Case Review or give us a call toll free at (877) 308-0100.