Criminal defense in Austin Texas.

Occupational Licenses and DPS Surcharges

Posted By on December 1, 2010

Grits for Breakfast has news that at least one appeals court here in Texas has shot down DPS’s argument that people whose licenses are suspended for failure to pay surcharge are ineligible for an occupational license.

Their reasoning is pretty straight-forward: the statute says anyone whose license has been suspended for a reason other than “physical or mental disability or impairment or a conviction under Section 49.04, Penal Code” is eligible for an occupational license. Since a surcharge suspension is not one of those, it’s eligible for an occupational.

DPS had argued that such a result would defeat the purpose of the surcharge, since a suspended driver could avoid paying the surcharges altogether, by perpetually re-applying for occupational licenses.

Maybe. On the other hand, each time you apply for an occupational license you have to go in front of a judge.

The good news is that it’s at least a ray of light for people who can’t pay their surcharges because they can’t drive, and can’t drive because they can’t pay their surcharges.

Here’s the link to the court’s opinion. Barry Wood, Jr., v. Texas DPS.


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