A driving while intoxicated (DWI) conviction is a pretty rough experience, and you still have to get to work after your license is suspended if you want to keep your job and finances flowing. One way to avoid losing your driving privileges completely is to request that you be allowed to operate vehicles equipped with an ignition interlock device.
With the help of an experienced Austin driving while intoxicated lawyer from Tillman Braniff, PLLC, you can get the most mobility possible during your suspension.
Essential Need License
You can also request an occupational or essential need license to use during your suspension. This is a special restricted license that defendants can request after some offenses, which allows for the operation of noncommercial vehicles when tending to essential work, school, or household duties.
Ignition Interlock Device
When this is done in regards to a DWI suspension, the vehicle will have to be equipped with an ignition interlock device designed to prevent the vehicle from starting normally. The suspended individual must blow into the device to test the amount of alcohol that is present deep in the lungs. If it detects too much, the car will not start.
This interlock device must be purchased and installed at your expense unless either you or a lawyer can convince the judge that you are unable to afford it. In that case, you will be provided an extended payment schedule. These devices will have to be installed in any vehicle you will use for the entirety of your suspension.
Downsides to Ignition Interlock Devices
Even when this system does work, the embarrassment of having to use such a device can be real and deep. What if it is your turn to drive the team to your work conference? How will supervisors and coworkers react to your having to use such a device? What impact will it have on your career? These considerations are part of why it’s always best to fight a DWI charge before a conviction happens.
The embarrassment is tough, but the loss of mobility will have an even greater effect on your family. You are only allowed to use an ignition-interlock-equipped vehicle for essential household purposes, which might seem like a fairly loose definition.
An Austin driving while intoxicated lawyer will be able to clarify what “essential” can mean in your life, but there are other restrictions: You are only allowed to drive during certain days of the week, certain times of day, and for limited amounts of time per day. You are also restricted to pre-arranged geographical boundaries, such as to work and back.
Violating the Conditions of Your Occupational License
If you are caught violating the restrictions on your occupational license, you can be fined between $100 and $300. You can also lose your occupational license, be penalized with a longer drivers license suspension, or have your license revoked permanently.
You will also face two more points being added to your license, which usually brings higher insurance rates—if you are not dropped completely.
Free Consultation with an Austin DWI Defense Attorney
If you or a loved one has been convicted of driving while intoxicated and need to keep getting to work, an occupational license in conjunction with an ignition interlock device may be the answer. However, the downsides are significant, which is why fighting a DWI charge should always be your first course of action.
You should contact an Austin DWI lawyer from Tillman Braniff, PLLC as soon as possible so that we can begin searching for the best solution to your case. Please call us at 512-472-6565 or fill out the form below to schedule a free legal evaluation at a time that is convenient for you.