Help!! My Texas Driver’s License Has Been Suspended. Can I Get An Occupational Driver’s License?

How to get a Texas Occupational Driver’s LicenseWho May Need an Occupational Driver’s License?

An individual who has received an administrative license suspension in Texas for refusal to submit to chemical testing or failing to pass an intoxication test, or has received a license suspension for a driving while intoxicated conviction may be able to apply for an occupational driver’s license (ODL).

What Is An Occupational Driver’s License?

An occupational driver’s license is a restricted license issued to individuals whose licenses have been suspended or revoked for refusal to submit to testing, failure to pass an intoxication test, or certain offenses, such as a driving while intoxicated (DWI) or driving under the influence (DUI) of alcohol or a controlled substance offense.

What Can You Do With An Occupational Driver’s License?

An ODL authorizes the individual who has had their license suspended or revoked to operate a non-commercial motor vehicle to attend school, go to work or to perform other essential household duties.

What Are the Requirements You must Meet to Get a Occupational Driver’s License?

An individual is permitted to receive an occupational license if they have demonstrated an essential need. An essential need in Texas is defined under Tex. Transp. Code Ann. § 521.241 as the person’s need to operate a motor vehicle:

  • To perform their occupation or job or for transportation to and from the workplace,
  • For transportation to and from school, or
  • In the performance of an essential household duty.

An essential need can include medical appointments, attendance at religious services or other domestic needs.

What Are the Documents You must Have to Get a Occupational Driver’s License?

In order to receive an occupational license, the individual is required to submit certain items to the Department of Public Safety before they can drive with an occupational license. The following items are required in Dallas:

  • A certified copy of the petition for an occupational license,
  • A certified copy of the court order granting the occupational license,
  • An SR-22 certificate of insurance,
  • The occupational license fee, and
  • Any other required reinstatement fees.

What must Be Included in the Court Order for Occupational License Requirements in Texas?

According to Tex. Transp. Code Ann. § 521.248, every order granting an occupational driver’s license must contain the hours of the days and days of the week the individual is permitted to operate a motor vehicle, the reasons the individual may operate a motor vehicle, and the areas or routes of travel permitted.

An individual who has received an occupational driver’s license is not permitted to operate a motor vehicle more than four hours in any 24-hour period. However, if it is demonstrated that the time is necessary, the court may extend the period to 12 hours in a 24-hour period.

The occupational driver’s license period is effective until the end of the suspension period for the individual’s regular driver’s license.

Are There Any Waiting Periods Before You Can Get an Occupational Driver’s License?

Certain offenses make an individual ineligible to receive an occupational driver’s license under Texas law, and other individuals who have license suspensions are required to wait certain time periods before they can receive an occupational driver’s license. According to Tex. Transp. Code Ann. § 521.251, individuals must wait the following time periods before they can apply for or receive an occupational license:

  • An individual who has received an administrative license suspension and who has not had any previous license suspensions for alcohol-related contact with law enforcement within the preceding five years can receive the ODL immediately once granted by the court;
  • An individual who has received a license suspension within the five preceding years for alcohol-related contact with law enforcement must wait 90 days after the effective date of the driver’s license suspension;
  • An individual has been convicted of a DWI offense within the preceding five years must wait 180 days after the effective date of the driver’s license suspension; and
  • An individual has been convicted of two or more DWI offenses within the preceding five years must wait one year after the effective date of the license suspension.

Are There Any Waiting Periods Before A Person Under The Age Of 21  Can Get an Occupational Driver’s License?

Under Tex. Transp. Code Ann. § 524.022, a minor who is under the age of 21 must wait the following periods before they are eligible for an occupational license after failing an intoxication test:

  • A minor must wait 30 days after the administrative license has been in effect if no preceding alcohol-related convictions;
  • A minor must wait 90 days after the administrative license has been in effect if one prior alcohol-related conviction;
  • A minor is not eligible for an occupational driver’s license if they have been convicted of two or more driver’s license suspensions.

Can A Person Who Possesses A Commercial Driver’s License  Get an Occupational Driver’s License?

According to Tex. Transp. Code Ann. § 522.086, an individual who possesses a commercial driver’s license who has had their commercial driving privileges disqualified is not eligible for an occupational driver’s license to operate a commercial vehicle.

Are There Any Additional Requirements Before You Can Get to an Occupational License?

Under Tex. Transp. Code Ann. § 521.246, an individual who receives an occupational driver’s license is required to install an ignition interlock device on their vehicle if:

  • They have two or more DWI convictions, or
  • Their license has been suspended after a DWI conviction that was punishable as an enhanced DWI offense.

In addition to the time requirements before an occupational license can be effective, an individual who has received an administrative license suspension must also attend counseling and rehabilitative services for individuals with alcohol dependence under Tex. Transp. Code Ann. § 521.245.

 Some other posts on related topics includes the difference in kinds of judgments in criminal cases, how to get an  arrest off your record, when can an arrest be erased,  the impact of no-refusal weekends and what to do if you are stopped by the police.

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19 comments to Help!! My Texas Driver’s License Has Been Suspended. Can I Get An Occupational Driver’s License?

  • How To Get An Occupational Driver's License In Texas | Jack K … | Krispy Hut

    [...] View article: How To Get An Occupational Driver's License In Texas | Jack K … [...]

  • Dear Mr. Robinson: This is a really great article on occupational licenses. I recently wrote one as well. There are several tips in here that I will add to my own article, such as the explained limitations to the occupational driver’s license. I noticed that you did not make any mention of the need for the SR-22. In your nick of the woods, is the SR-22 insurance needed? Anyway, please check out my article if you like: http://lawyerdefend.me/?page_id=240

    I think it is interesting to compare things like this.
    Regards,

    Megan Cook

    • Jack Robinson

      Megan:

      Thanks for the note! It is good to know someone is reading my meanderings! Yes; an SR-22 is required here! I will check out your article as well!.

      Most of my ideas for posts like these come from explaining the same thing over and over again to prospective clients. It helps if I can direct them to an article on the topic. Saves lots of time explaining things all the time.

      Jack

  • Gerardo Rojas

    My DL has been suspended for DWLI(driving while license invalid)my DL was expired because i was not eligible to renew it for unpaid traffic tickets,was my license really expired or suspended?I don’t know what they mean by invalid.Now I am required for DPS to apply for an ODL and file an SR22,am I eligible to get an ODL? how can I get out of this ordeal?.after i got this DWLI I paid the traffic tickets not including the DWLI even thought i was able to renew my DL because DWLI happened in July 2011 and I renewed my DL in Aug.2011 obviously the DWLI was not in the system yet.about a year later I paid the ticket for DWLI and right after is when this ordeal kicked in. the weird thing is that i got a letter from the DPS dated Sept. 13,2012 that my license was suspended since Aug. 1,2012 meaning that i have been driving illegaly for over a month with out knowing. please I need help!!!!!

    • Jack Robinson

      You do need an occupational license (OL) and would be eligible to get one. My office is located in Rockwall County and I get OL for people in Rockwall, Hunt and Kaufman counties. If I can help or you have more questions, please call me. 972-772-6100

  • john gonzalez

    Hey I’ve been caught with a dwi and my license was suspended but I’ve never had a license before. But I need a OL to get to work and my wifes doctor appointments (she’s pregnant).would I qualify for a OL?

  • Taylor d

    My liscence has been suspended since 2004 I went till 2010 since I gotta dwli and have gotten several since can I get a odl .
    Thank you

  • Jack Robinson

    You should be able to be able to get a Texas occupational license

  • Jack Robinson

    http://www.jackkrobinson.com/help-my-texas-drivers-license-has-been-suspended-can-i-get-an-occupational-drivers-license/

    The link above to a post on my blog provides detailed information about how to get an occupational license. I hope this answers your questions. If not, call me at 972-772-6100

  • Jack Robinson

    Not sure what you are asking but if it is what does it cost to get an occupational license, the prices varies. I charge a flat rate of $950.00 which includes a $200.00 filing fee

  • Jack Robinson

    There are so many variables in your question that I would not answer it correctly. Call me at 972-772-6100 so I can really answer the rig question. No charge for the consult.

  • Jack Robinson

    What county do you live in? Why has your license been suspended? I practice in the DFW area. My fee for that area is approximately $1,000.00 to get an occupational license.

  • confused

    i currently have FTA’s and unpaid tickets in central texas. can i qualify for an ODL? I do have an attorney (which is taking a long time) taking care of these tickets but i do need a license. what do you recommend?

  • James L

    Hi…I received a DWI-2nd on 08-07-2010 in Collin County….I had lost my ALR hearing and was given a license suspension for 6 months, but was able to obtain an ODL through Dallas County from 05-21-2011 thru 10-29-2011 with a log book and could drive in any county in TX…..I had appealed the DWI-2nd through several appellate courts and my case was not overturned…the Collin County Judge on 08/15/2013 was presented with 2 options and he chose the one least beneficial to me by having hour restrictions (0900-2100) and only driving thru certain counties I had provided him….I am to file this on Friday. My question is can I have any other judge look at my petition for why I need a log book and can not be restricted to certain hours as this directly effects my job….I am on call 24/7 and must be able to drive almost anywhere in TX at any given moment…I am medical equipment rep with a life saving device and have traveled at all hours with a breathalyzer for the past 2.5 yrs with zero alcohol offenses….I must be able to travel when needed and in most, if not all of TX to see my patients and keep them alive by troubleshooting equipment and/or replacing equipment at any moment…..Is this feasible, to have a petition set up for a Dallas or Rockwall judge, whom may have a heart, and fulfill an ODL I can use 24/7 in all of TX?
    1. I do have the original ODL and Order from Dallas Co.
    2. Zero violations on my breathalyzer in 2.5 yrs driving about 90,000 miles
    3. If the Collin County judge is the only one that has to do my ODL, I understand, but it does not make sense to me that I was able to get a log book and all of TX thru Dallas County.
    Please email me at your earliest convenience….I can explain the situation much better in person or on the phone….I live in Rockwall…Thank you for your time…James

  • vernon scott

    i need help getting an occupational license

  • Awesome, numerous very good points! I value you crafting this posting and the remainder of your web-site is great!

  • Cherie Brown

    Hello, my situation is a tad bit different and I quite can’t find any answers. I’m actually an Iowa resident with a barred license because I am considered an habitual offender. I want to relocate to Texas in May but I am being held back because I can’t seem to get the correct answer since I do not have any Texas driving history. Are you able to answer my concerns on how I am eligible for an occupational license besides the basics I already see?

  • Ashlee

    I have an unusual situation and I am having a hard time finding any information. I know a teenage kid (17 years old), who is currently going to school and working part time.

    He does not and hasn’t ever had a DL. He is only 5 months away from being 18, so taking driver’s ed wouldn’t be benificial. He wouldn’t be eligible for a DL until after his 18th birthday, when he can then get a license w/o needing to complete the course.

    I’m attempting to find a solution to help him LEGALLY drive for the next five months and I’m not really sure where to even begin! I don’t know if this falls under an occupational license, considering he hasn’t previously had a license. Or maybe a hardship license? But then we have a truancy issue that is being resolved at the moment as well, not sure how that factors into this either.

    ANY information would be greatly appreciated, thanks in advance!

    P.S. – The kid is a hot mess to be sure, but has been making an incredible effort to get his life back on track. After seeing the progress he has made in last year, he has earned my respect and I desperately want to see him succeed!

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