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Can you shift gears after DUI and get an occupational license?

Perhaps you're just coming down from summer vacation and are gearing up for a new semester at a Pittsburgh college. Maybe you celebrated your return to campus by partying with some friends. If your social gathering led to DUI charges, you may have a lot of trouble achieving your current goals for the school year ahead. Your whole life can change on a dime when you face criminal charges in court.

If you're like thousands of other college students, you may have a part-time job. When your driving privilege is suspended, how will you get to work? In fact, just getting to class on time, even if you walk there, may prove challenging if you're running back and forth to court appointments in addition to your scheduled academics. One way some people are able to keep their feet on solid ground while navigating DUI charges is to apply for occupational limited licenses in the meantime.

What exactly is an OLL and how do you get one?

An occupational limited license allows you to continue to operate a motor vehicle while your license is under suspension. Strict rules of eligibility apply, however, and you would have to satisfy all requirements in order to attain an OLL. The following list includes basic facts regarding OLL eligibility and the application process:

  • Certain circumstances may render you ineligible for an OLL.
  • If you satisfy all requirements, you may be able to obtain an OLL in order to get to work, school or to carry out essential household duties.
  • You usually file an application for an OLL within the jurisdiction of the court that suspended your license.
  • Depending on the details of a particular case, an interlock system might be required alongside the issuance of an OLL.
  • In Pennsylvania, you are not eligible for an OLL if the state permanently revoked your driver's license.

Depending on your individual situation, you may have to undergo a substantial waiting period before the appropriate authorities fully process your OLL (provided you are eligible to start). This type of limited driver's license can be a great benefit, especially if your ability to pay fines and court costs hinges upon continuing to earn an income.

You may also be able to get your school schedule back on track if you're able to drive because it may cut down the time it takes you to get to court and back to campus if you don't have to rely on other transportation. The OLL application process can be quite complex, which is why most people charged with DUI in Pennsylvania seek guidance before heading to court.

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