When Can You Obtain an Occupational Driver’s License?

Occupational Driver’s Licenses are for those that have had their regular, commercial driver’s license suspended or revoked.  ODL’s are also referred to as “Essential Needs Licenses” because they give these drivers exceptions to their status if they have extraordinary circumstances. An “essential need” is where your job, getting to work or school, or doing essential household duties requires you to drive.

If you have had your license suspended or revoked there are still opportunities to drive for essential needs.

The rest of the requirements will come up during the process of petitioning the Justice of the Peace. Depending on the offense, you will require different forms to verify for the state your responsibility with an ODL. Will the state fight you on it? Likely, this is not an issue. If the suspension of your license happened due to a drug-related offense, you might be required to come into court, be denied, or have a waiting period.

An ODL is not the same as a CDL. YOu cannot use an ODL to operate a commercial motor vehicle. Additionally, it comes with restrictions. The court can restrict you to driving only at certain times a day like only 7 am to 7 pm, or you can define your hours within a 12-hour period. Most importantly, you can only use it for essential needs. If you drive with an ODL for entertainment purposes, you can lose the license.

There are several things the court will ask for. They will ask for a copy of your driving record in the form of an AR form. To prove your essential need, you will need an SR-22 form, which is a certificate of financial responsibility, and some proof of employment, whether a paystub or a letter from your employer. There will also be fees: a filing fee, reinstatement fee, and an ODL fee. Lastly, you will fill out a verification form with us, which is just an affidavit that states that all the information we give the court is accurate.

When Can You Not Obtain an Occupational Driver’s License?

When asking when you can obtain an ODL, you need to know when an ODL is not an option, even with these extenuating circumstances. If any of the offenses that caused the suspension fall under these categories, the court could respond with a denial or give a waiting period for the ODL:

  • A 90-day waiting period due to suspension because of an alcohol or drug-related offense.
  • A 180-day waiting period due to suspension because of an intoxication-related conviction.
  • A mandatory one-year waiting period if you have at least two administrative license revocations on your driver record. There is a mandatory one-year waiting period.
  • If you requested the ODL to operate a commercial motor vehicle. ODL’s cannot be used to operate a commercial motor vehicle. It is vital that the purpose of the license is understood. If you petition the court, asking to drive for what it is not for, they will restrict your ability to receive one.

For more information on ODL’s, visit the Texas DPS.

If you are interested in obtaining an Occupational Driver’s License, give Kelly McMahan Law’s service a call at (512) 843-2889. The process can be lengthy, so if you are in need, we should get started as soon as possible. McMahan is your best choice in assisting you with handling the aftermath of traffic violations.