Can I Get a Wisconsin Occupational License After a Conviction?

Wisconsin Occupational License

Readers of this Wisconsin DUI defense blog may be aware that one of the potential consequences of a DUI or drunk driving conviction is the loss of the driver's license. Losing one's driver's license can impose a great deal of hardship upon a person who needs driving privileges to get to or to do a job. In some cases, a person who loses his license due to a drunk driving incident may be able to obtain a provisional or occupational license that allows him to drive in limited circumstances.

Wisconsin Occupational License Application

According to the Wisconsin Department of Transportation, some individuals who suffer alcohol-related driving convictions and who lose their licenses are able to apply for occupational licenses. Sometimes called hardship licenses because they allow individuals to avoid the hardship of losing a job due to a drunk driving conviction, occupational licenses allow individuals to operate their vehicles to and from limited locations and only during certain times of the day.

Occupational licenses do not provide drivers with unfettered driving rights. Such licenses are often subject to restrictions as codified in the Wisconsin Statutes. Generally, a person who has an occupational license can only drive to and from work. He may be able to have other locations added to the license, such as church or other commitments. However, if he drives somewhere that is not on the license and is caught he can face even tougher penalties than just a license revocation.

For example, in such circumstances a person with such a license could not use the license to drive to a restaurant; using a restricted occupational license for an impermissible purpose could result in greater sanctions against the individual.

An occupational license must state the hours during which a license holder may operate a motor vehicle. It must also state how many hours per week the individual may drive while using the license. Drivers with occupational licenses typically can only drive twelve hours per day. They may not drive more than 60 hours in a given week and they may not be able to drive out of state. It is up to the driver to find out if his occupational license will be honored outside of Wisconsin.

Other Requirements for Occupational License

Holders of occupational licenses must also pay fees in order to acquire limited driving privileges. A driver may also have to install and use an ignition interlock device in his or her vehicle in order to secure an occupational license during a period of license suspension or revocation. The mandatory installation of ignition interlock devices applies generally when a driver has multiple drunk driving convictions.

How to Get an Occupational License in Wisconsin

Individuals who have been convicted of drunk driving and who have suspended licenses can find out if they are eligible for occupational licenses through the Wisconsin Department of Transportation website. For those who do qualify, the rules regarding their proper use are explicit and require strict observance. Not everyone who has had a license suspended is eligible for a restricted occupational license.

Attorneys who work in the DUI defense field can advise their clients as to whether such licenses may be available to them. Losing a license is only one of the consequences a person may face if he is convicted of drunk driving and such individuals should not assume that they will be granted restricted licenses if they apply for them.