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  • By: Kevin Leckerman, Esq.
  • Published: April 1, 2011
A person handing a driver's license to another person - Leckerman Law, LLC

Driving under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania comes with very hefty penalties such as fines, license suspension and jail-time. If you have been convicted for a DUI, it is possible that your license has been suspended for a period of at least one year for that violation. If your license was issued by Pennsylvania, you may be eligible to obtain an occupational limited license (OLL) to get to work, school or medical treatment.

Residents of Pennsylvania cannot apply for an occupational limited license if the license has been revoked, cancelled, recalled or disqualified for certain offenses. The occupational limited license allows drivers to operate a designated vehicle, under specific circumstances, only when operating the vehicle is necessary for work, medical treatment, or school. The following license suspensions make you ineligible for an occupational limited license:

  • Passing a school bus
  • Racing on the highway
  • Homicide by vehicle
  • Fleeing a police officer
  • Driving without lights
  • Homicide by vehicle/DUI
  • Reckless driving
  • Accidents involving death or injury
  • Leaving the scene of an accident
  • Driving under the influence (with exceptions)
  • Failure to respond to a citation
  • Driving while suspended (with exceptions)
  • Refusal to submit to chemical testing (with exceptions)
  • Failure to maintain financial responsibility
  • ARD ordered suspension for DUI
  • Controlled substance, drug, device & cosmetic act violations
  • Underage alcohol violations
  • Serious traffic offenses
  • Any violations related to accidents and accident reports

If you have been convicted for driving under the influence, and this is your first offense, you can apply to PennDOT for an occupational limited license after the first 60 days of your one year license suspension. You can acquire an OLL if your suspension has been issued for 18 months if you have no more than one DUI offense in the previous ten years and have already served 12 of the 18-months suspension. You must also satisfy all of the restoration requirements for reinstatement and have the ignition interlock installed on the vehicle.

Applying for an OLL

If you need to apply for an OLL, you will have to pay a $50 application fee, which is non-refundable. Along with the fee, you will need to fill out an OLL Petition, which is DL-15. You will also need to send along a copy of your insurance, the fee for restoration, and mail it to the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation. PennDOT will notify you within 20 days of receiving your application whether or not you qualify for the OLL. If you have been approved for an OLL, PennDOT will send you an OLL camera card to acquire a photo for your license. Your photo OLL and DL-15A must be carried together at all times.

The OLL issued by the PennDOT is valid for the entire length of your suspension. Once the suspension has been lifted, PennDOT will mail you a license photo card to obtain a regular non-OLL license. If you need to extend your OLL, PennDOT may grant the extension once you make that application with an extension form, which is DL-31OLL.

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