An Occupational Driver’s License (ODL), also an ‘essential need license’ or a ‘worker’s permit’, is a special license issued to individuals whose license has been suspended, revoked or denied. The ODL will permit individuals to drive to their work, school, or to perform essential household duties.
Reasons You May Need An ODL:
1. DWI and drug-related conviction suspensions
These suspensions are statutory, meaning they are mandated under state law. Consequently, judges have little to say in the matter. The length of the suspension will depend on the type of case. For example, a DWI conviction may carry a yearlong suspension, while a conviction for possession of marijuana is six months.
2. Civil Suspensions – ALR
A suspension arising from a breath test refusal or failure after your DWI arrest. If the ALR judge did not find in your favor, your license will be suspended. If you did not request an ALR hearing after your DWI arrest, your license will be suspended beginning 40 days from the date of your arrest.
3. Civil Suspensions – No Insurance
No insurance or Failure to Maintain Financial Responsibility: If you receive two or more convictions for not having state-mandated minimum liability insurance.
4. Civil Suspensions – Too Many Tickets
Habitual Violations: The Texas DPS keeps track of your driving habits through its point system. Your license may be suspended if you receive four or more moving violation convictions within a 12-month period, or seven or more within a 24-month period.
5. Civil Suspensions – You Owe Money
Surcharges: As you are assessed points, the money you must pay DPS increases. Points can be assessed for any of the above violations. These points translate into surcharges that must be paid to DPS before you are considered to be in good standing.
6. Requesting an ODL
First, be certain there is no mandatory waiting period before you petition the court for an ODL. If you’ve been arrested for DWI, and you have any prior alcohol-related contacts within the previous five years, you may have to wait before requesting your ODL. The length of the waiting period can be from 90 days to up to a year. Your attorney will request an ODL in the county or district court where you live, or in the court which has original jurisdiction where your offense occurred. If the court grants the ODL, the court order may be used as your license for 30 days, but it does not serve as your official ODL; it merely authorizes the DPS to issue the ODL.
7. Issuance of an ODL
The DPS must receive a list of certain required items before it will issue your ODL: 1) Certified copies of the petition and order granting the ODL, 2) Proof of SR-22 insurance (this is a Financial Responsibility Certificate which can be obtained from any automobile liability insurance carrier), 3) ODL fee (depending on length of suspension), and 4) Reinstatement fees.
Applying For An Occupational Driver’s License
If your driver’s license was revoked, denied or suspended you may still be able to drive if you obtain an occupational driver’s license. The lawyers and staff at Fort Worth’s Hardy Law Group, PLLC, have helped many drivers in TX obtain an ODL. Call us and we can walk you through the application process.