Texas Occupational Driver's License (ODL)

What is an Occupational Driver’s License in Texas?

Also referred to as an essential need license, an occupational driver’s license (ODL) is a special restricted license that can be issued to drivers who have their license suspended, revoked, or denied after committing certain offenses. With an occupational license, drivers can operate non-commercial vehicles in a limited capacity. Specifically, an essential license only allows drivers to:

  • Drive to and from work, school, and school-related activities
  • Perform essential household duties (i.e. getting groceries)
  • Transport their children to certain locations like school and activities
  • Drive in performance of their job

How to Obtain an Occupational Driver’s License in Texas

To apply to get an ODL, you must file a petition with a court clerk in the county or precinct where you live or the offense for which your license was suspended or revoked occurred. When you file your petition, you will need to cover the $46 filing fee and should have multiple copies of the documents you are filing.

Your petition should include details concerning why you need an ODL, and you will also need the following documents when you file your ODL petition.

  • Copies of your Certified Abstract Driving Record
  • Copies of a completed SR-22 form
  • Other supporting documents

Once you file your petition, you will be given a hearing date. At your hearing, you should be copies of your paperwork and petition, The judge will review your petition and supporting documents and make a determination concerning whether they will grant you an ODL. If they decide to award you an ODL, they will sign the Order and outline what your restrictions are (i.e when and where you can and cannot drive).

To get your ODL, you will then need to send the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) a certified copy of your Petition for ODL as well as:

  • A certified copy of the signed Order
  • Your completed Sr-22 certificate
  • A cashier’s check, check, or money order payable to Texas DPS for the fee, which is $10 for a 1-year ODL and $20 for a 2-year ODL

It is important to note that you can drive using a copy of the signed Order for an ODL for up to 45 days after the order takes effect. However, you should take steps to get your occupational license from DPS as soon as possible as it can take three to four weeks to process your application.

Who Is Ineligible for an ODL in Texas?

If your license was suspended because of visual impairment issues or a physical or mental disability, you can not apply for an occupational license. The following persons are also not able to get an occupational license in Texas.

  • Applicants with previous criminal convictions (like intoxication and alcoholic beverage offenses)
  • Applicants who have been previously issued an occupational license within the last 10 years
  • Those who had their license suspended because of child support arrears
  • Applicants who intend to drive a commercial motor vehicle
  • Applicants who are not deemed by the court to have an essential need

Before applying, you should consult with an attorney as they can advise you based on your specific circumstances.

Get Legal Help

The attorneys at our firm have decades of collective experience and are dedicated to helping clients achieve favorable case outcomes. If your license has been suspended or revoked, the attorneys at The Clark Law Firm can help you understand whether you are eligible for an occupational driver’s license and the driver’s license reinstatement process. We can also help you prepare for your Administrative License Revocation (ALR) hearing to fight the suspension.

For help protecting your driving privileges or understanding your legal rights, contact our firm online or call (817) 435-4970 today.


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