What Is An Occupational License and How Do I Get One?

An occupational drivers license (ODL) is a restricted license that allows an individual whose license has been suspended to continue to drive to attend school, go to work, or perform other essential duties.  Generally, the suspension stems from refusing to submit to a breath or blood test but can also come from a number of other violations such as driving while license invalid or a drug conviction.  It is important to remember that an ODL does not allow an individual to operate a commercial vehicle and will not suffice as a commercial drivers license (CDL).  Unfortunately, there is no replacement for a CDL should your license get suspended.

An ODL is not the same as your “drive anywhere anytime” regular drivers license that you are probably used to.  However, it should allow you to do everything you need to do to take care of yourself and your family.  Typically in Bexar County, there are two ways an ODL works.  One way is that you will be able to drive during a certain 12-hour time period; say from 7am to 7pm.  The other option, which I usually suggest, is to keep a log which allows you to drive whenever you want as long as you keep a log of your driving time and it does not add up to more than 12 hours in a 24 hour time period.

Depending on the nature and severity of the offense you may be required to attend six hours of alcohol anonymous and get an ignition interlock.  These requirements sometimes vary from Judge to Judge but if your license was suspended for a DWI arrest and your BAC was over .15 you should know it is likely the Judge will require both.

To receive an ODL first you must demonstrate an essential need.  Under the Texas transportation code, an essential need is defined as the person’s need to operate a motor vehicle:

  • – To perform their occupation or for transportation to and from the workplace,
  • – For transportation to and from school, or
  • – In the performance of essential household duties and medical appointments.

While there are differences in every county on the requirements, the documents you generally must have to apply for an ODL include:

  • – A certified copy of the petition for an ODL,
  • – A certified copy of the order granting an ODL,
  • – An SR-22 certificate of insurance,
  • – The ODL filing fee (approximately $240 in Bexar County), and
  • – Any reinstatement fees required by DPS.

If you have a suspended license you should not risk driving without an occupational drivers license.  The consequences are too high and in the long run it can end up costing you much more than getting an ODL would.  Call our office or fill out the Free Consultation form next to this article to setup a free consultation to find out if you are eligible for an ODL!

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