Office of House Bill AnalysisH.B. 1064
By: Uher
Criminal Jurisprudence


Current law requires that a judge specify the hours of the day and the area
of travel in which a petitioner for an occupational driver's license
(petitioner) is authorized to operate a motor vehicle.  A judge must first
determine whether an actual need to drive exists and then limit that right
to travel to certain time periods or to a certain number of hours during
the day.  These restrictions may be problematic, especially for a
petitioner who drives as a part of their job, if a petitioner encounters a
change in work schedule, an emergency, or some other unforeseen event which
might make it necessary to drive during certain hours or in certain areas
prohibited by the judge's order.  Limiting the number of hours the
petitioner is allowed to drive also requires the petitioner to keep a log
of driving hours, which necessitates constant attention and may be subject
to fraud.  House Bill 1064 removes restrictions on the time and area in
which a petitioner may drive and also modifies penalties associated with
operating a vehicle with an occupational driver's license while under the
influence of any detectable amount of alcohol or controlled substance to
prevent a petitioner from abusing the privilege.          


It is the opinion of the Office of House Bill Analysis that rulemaking
authority is expressly delegated to the Department of Public Safety in
SECTION 2 (Section 521.254, Transportation Code) of this bill. 


House Bill 1064 amends the Transportation Code to remove the requirement
that an order granting an occupational license must specify the hours of
the day during which the person may operate a motor vehicle and the areas
or routes of travel permitted.  The bill provides that a person who holds
an occupational license commits a misdemeanor offense, punishable by a fine
not to exceed $1,000, if the person operates a motor vehicle in a public
place while having any detectable amount of alcohol, a controlled
substance, or a dangerous drug in the person's system.  The bill provides
that implied consent applies to a person arrested for an offense described
above in the same manner as to a person arrested for an offense of driving
while intoxicated.  H.B. 1064 provides that a person who is arrested for an
offense under these provisions, but who was not requested by the arresting
officer to submit to the taking of a specimen of the person's breath or
blood (specimen), is entitled, on payment of the required fee, to have a
specimen taken and an analysis made as set forth in the bill.  The bill
provides an analysis is admissible on the trial of the offense, as is the
refusal or inability of the arresting officer to comply with a person's
request to have a specimen taken and an analysis made.   

H.B. 1064 requires the Department of Public Safety by rule to prescribe the
amount of the required fee for an analysis of a person's breath specimen,
but prohibits the fee from exceeding an amount that is equal to the average
cost to the department of analyzing a breath specimen in the preceding
fiscal year.  On conviction of an offense under these provisions, the
license and the order granting the license are revoked.  

September 1, 2001.