Occupational Limited Licenses and DUI

July 21, 2011

A common question I receive from clients dealing with a loss of his or her driver’s license as the result of a DUI is, "Can I get a temporary license while mine is suspended?" Everyone seems to have a friend or know someone who knows someone, who received a license to travel to and from work or school when that person lost their license because of a DUI. There are however, a lot of misconceptions about an Occupational Limited License (OLL). The bottom line is that whether you qualify depends on your circumstances.  

If your license has been suspended as the result of a DUI and you are anticipating going through or are already in the ARD program, then you DO NOT qualify for an OLL under any circumstances. On the other hand, if you have been charged with a DUI and will not or did not dispose of the charge via the ARD program, then you may qualify for an OLL if:

  • it is your first DUI and the license suspension period is one year. In that case, you can apply for an OLL, but even if you are granted an OLL, it will not be issued until you have served a 60 day license suspension period; or
  • the license suspension is for 18 months and it is your first or second DUI offense in the last 10 years. In that case, you can be granted an OLL but you must first have served 12 of the 18 months of the suspension and you must install the ignition interlock device on your vehicle; or
  • at the time of your arrest, you refused to submit to a chemical test (typically a breathalyzer) then you can qualify for an OLL if your license suspension is 18 months, have no more than one prior DUI in the last 10 years, have served 12 of the 18 months, and have an ignition interlock device installed on your vehicle.

So what is the common theme in all of these scenarios? If your license is suspended because of a DUI, you are going to have to serve some kind of license suspension, even if you can get an OLL. The length of a license suspension can vary based on several factors such as blood alcohol content (BAC), whether the violation involved an accident, and whether the offender was underage. Suspensions are governed by a Pennsylvania statute, although other ARD requirements vary from county to county.

The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (Penn DOT or Pa DOT) has issued a helpful fact sheet regarding Occupational Limited Licenses which addresses many of the rumors or ideas about OLL’s and offers some tips on how to apply. If you feel uncomfortable applying on your own you can always hire an attorney to do so on your behalf.

Aaron Zeamer is an attorney at Russell, Krafft & Gruber, LLP in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. He received his law degree from Widener University School of Law and practices in a variety of areas including DUI & ARD.

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