Occupational Drivers License
DISCLAIMER: The information contained in this section is Not purported to be all inclusive.This publication is a research tool and NOT the counsel of an attorney. This publication is NOT a substitute for the advice of an attorney, you are strongly encouraged to consult the actual law, or consult with an attorney for answers.
Procedures for Occupational Driver's License
ODL Check List (Updated 1/29/2021
IF YOUR LICENSE WAS SUSPENDED, BUT YOU NEED TO DRIVE, YOU CAN ASK THE COURT FOR AN OCCUPATIONAL DRIVER’S LICENSE IF:
You do NOT have access to public transportation and
You need to drive to work or school or essential household duties
An Occupational Driver’s License (ODL) is a restricted license that lets you drive at certain times, on specific days, under certain conditions. (See transportation code Chapter 521 and 601) AND see the questions/answers below for more information).
Q. How do I ask for an ODL?
A. Fill out these forms:
Petition for Occupational Driver’s License and The Petition asks you to explain why you have an essential need to drive. This means you need to drive to:
Do your job
Get to and from work or school, or
Do essential household duties
Q. Where do I take my completed forms?
A. If your license was suspended because of a DUI (Driving under the Influence) conviction, take your Petition to the clerk in the same county where you were convicted. (DO NOT sign until you are in front of a notary public).
If your license was not suspended because of a DUI, file the Petition at the County Clerk’s office, the District Clerk’s office or the Justice of the Peace Court in the county (and Precinct of filing in Justice of the Peace Court) where you live or where your license was suspended.
Q. Can anyone get an ODL?
A. No. (Note: In order to obtain an occupational license, you must demonstrate an essential need to operate a motor vehicle. The Texas Transportation Coded defines "essential need" as the "need of a person for the operation of a motor vehicle: (A) in the performance of an occupation or trade or for transportation to and from the place at which the person practices the person's occupation or trade; (B) for transportation to and from an educational facility in which the person is enrolled; or (c) in the performance of essential household duties." In order to demonstrate an essential need to operate a motor vehicle, you may attach additional documentation,
*****You cannot get an ODL if:
Your license was suspended because of a mental or physical disability
You need it to drive a commercial motor vehicle, or
The Judge thinks you do not have an essential need or is worried about public safety
Q. Do I have to go to a court hearing?
A. Yes. You must go to your hearing and explain why you have an essential need to drive. You must also take a certified copy of your driving record. (There is a fee for requesting your driving record)You may ask for your driving record at the Texas Department of Public Safety or
order online at http://www.txdps.state.tx.us/DriverLicense/driverrecords.htm. The Judge may ask you why public transportation and
getting rides from friends/relatives does not meet your needs.
Q. Will the State have a lawyer against me?
A. Yes, if your license was suspended because of:
A criminal homicide. DUI, intoxication assault, intoxication manslaughter, or
You were under 21 and under your license was suspended according to Texas Transportation Code 521.342
The State lawyer may try to convince the Judge to not give you a license. The Judge will listen to both sides and make a decision.
Q. What should I take to my court hearing?
A. Fill out the Order and take it with you to your hearing. If the Judge does not sign the Order, you will not get an ODL. If the Judge decides to let you drive, she/he will sign the order and mark the restrictions.
Attach these documents to your Petition:
A certified copy of your driver’s license record
Proof of current valid auto liability insurance and a copy of an SR22 from your insurance company
A copy of the Court Order that suspended your license
A letter from your employer or immediate supervisor on your employer’s letterhead (or an affidavit) that verifies your work schedule, if you have asked the court to let you drive to work. We will also need your employer or immediate supervisor phone number.
WARNING! You must follow the Judge’s restrictions or you will lose your ODL and face criminal charges.
Need help? Talk to a lawyer. To find one, call your local lawyer referral service.