Attorney Paul Saputo discussing occupational licenses

Texas Occupational Driver’s Licenses

Texas Occupational Driver’s Licenses (sometimes called “essential needs” licenses) is a type of Texas driver’s license that allows you to drive with certain restrictions. Those restrictions are written in each Order for an Occupational Driver’s License that a judge signs. Occupational Driver’s License rules are mostly created by Texas law, but there are some additional rules imposed by particular judges. We frequently obtain Occupational Driver’s Licenses for our clients in counties across Texas. You can learn more about Occupational Licenses below or learn more about hiring us to get your occupational license fast

We make the Occupational Driver’s License process simple, quick and easy. We also offer expedited service. Call now at (888) 239-9305

Each county handles the Occupational Driver’s License application process somewhat differently. For instance, some counties do not accept electronic filing (Dallas County is one), whereas other counties (Collin County, Harris County, Denton County, Travis County and Bexar County, for example) require your lawyer to electronically file a Petition for ODLs. You can obtain an Occupational Driver’s License from the county in which you live or the county in which your DWI offense is alleged to have occurred1 if the need for an ODL arose out of a DWI arrest. Learn more about Occupational Driver’s License Laws

What Is An Occupational Driver’s License? What is an ODL?

A Texas Occupational Driver’s License, also known as an “ODL,” is a special restricted license that allows you to drive under certain conditions imposed by a judge. The judge will sign a paper that is called an Order for an Occupational Driver’s License, and this paper Order will serve as your temporary occupational license for 45 days. The order will command the Texas Department of Public Safety (“DPS“) to issue you a permanent Occupational Driver’s License. However, you also have to remember that once the judge signs the order granting you the ODL, you have to send in the necessary paperwork to the DPS and pay your occupational license fee. Learn more about how to get an ODL

Am I Eligible to Receive an Occupational Driver’s License?

There are numerous eligibility requirements for an Occupational Driver’s License. For suspensions that are not related to DWI convictions, you need to demonstrate an “essential need” to drive. This means that you must have an important reason to drive, such as driving to and from work, medical appointments, household duties, etc.

If you are applying for an ODL after a DWI conviction, you can only obtain an ODL if (1) your license has been automatically suspended or canceled pursuant to Texas Transportation Code Chapter 521 for a conviction of an offense under Texas law and (2) you have not been issued, in the 10 years preceding the date of the filing of the petition, more than one occupational license after a conviction under Texas law. You will also need to have an interlock device installed and show proof of this installation.

In Texas, you cannot get an Occupational Driver’s License for a Commercial Driver’s License (CDL). Therefore, if you are threatened with a CDL suspension, it is very important that you fight the imposition of the suspension. Once your CDL is expired, and Occupational Driver’s license will not allow you to drive commercial vehicles (you can drive for work, but you would not be allowed to drive a vehicle that requires a CDL to operate).

How Do You Get An Occupational Driver’s License?

You apply for an Occupational Driver’s License by filing a Petition for an Occupational Driver’s License with an appropriate court. There are usually different courts that sign off on ODLs arising out of felonies, and usually a magistrate judge is involved no matter what court you are in. You will also have to pay a fee to the clerk of the court, obtain SR-22 insurance, draft an order for the judge to sign, obtain an SR-37 and a copy of your driving record. For DWI conviction suspensions, you will need to obtain an interlock device in your car. For your SR-22, you can use a company like Accurate Concept Insurance (we are not affiliated with this company, but we have used them in the past and like them–clicking on this link: conceptar22.com will take you to their website).

Once you obtain the necessary signatures from the judge, the order will need to be filed with the court clerk and mailed to Texas DPS with additional paperwork and the occupational license fee. DPS should mail you a permanent occupational driver’s license card that you can carry with you if you mail everything in appropriately. Sometimes, unfortunately, DPS loses track of the orders and you will need to attempt to figure out what happened.

Do I Need a Lawyer to Get An Occupational Driver’s License?

You do not need a lawyer to obtain an Occupational Driver’s License, but it is highly recommended that you do hire a lawyer. You do not need to go to court in some instances if you have a lawyer, and your lawyer can draft the Petition for your Occupational Driver’s License taking into account any special circumstances that may apply in your case. If an appearance is required before a judge, a lawyer can either appear for you or accompany you in the appearance so that you do not have to appear before a judge alone. What are the steps to get an ODL?

How Much Does It Cost to Get an Occupational Driver’s License?

The first step in the occupational license process is to get a judge to sign an order granting the occupational license. In order to do that, you will have to pay for the following:

  • 1) attorney’s fees
  • 2) county filing fees (usually around $250 dollars)
  • 3) an SR-22 certificate Learn important information about SR-22 insurance
  • 4) a certified abstract (depending on the county in which we file)
  • 5) an ignition interlock device (if your license is suspended after a DWI conviction)
  • 6) a notary to notarize the petition

You do not have to pay surcharges in order to get an occupational license.

Once the judge signs the order, you will have to pay the court clerk for two certified copies of the order (if that is not included in the filing fee), postage to send a copy to DPS and a DPS occupational driver’s license fee.

How much does it cost to file an Occupational Driver’s License in Dallas County?

In Dallas County, the filing fee is $262 dollars. You will also have to pay our service fee (plus expedite fee if you choose), pay for a certified copy of your driver’s license record and obtain an Sr-22. If you have a DWI conviction suspension, you will also have to obtain an interlock device. Other fees may apply in your specific case, contact us for details.

How much does it cost to file an Occupational Driver’s License in Denton County?

In Denton County, the filing fee is $258 dollars. You will also have to pay our service fee (plus expedite fee if you choose), pay for a certified copy of your driver’s license record and obtain an Sr-22. If you have a DWI conviction suspension, you will also have to obtain an interlock device. Other fees may apply in your specific case, contact us for details.

How much does it cost to file an Occupational Driver’s License in Tarrant County?

In Tarrant County, the filing fee is $249 dollars. You will also have to pay our service fee (plus expedite fee if you choose), pay for a certified copy of your driver’s license record and obtain an Sr-22. If you have a DWI conviction suspension, you will also have to obtain an interlock device. Other fees may apply in your specific case, contact us for details.

How much does it cost to file an Occupational Driver’s License in Collin County?

In Collin County, the filing fee is $297 dollars. You will also have to pay our service fee (plus expedite fee if you choose), pay for a certified copy of your driver’s license record and obtain an Sr-22. If you have a DWI conviction suspension, you will also have to obtain an interlock device. Other fees may apply in your specific case, contact us for details.

How much does it cost to file an Occupational Driver’s License in Bexar County?

In Bexar County, the filing fee is $242 dollars. You will also have to pay our service fee (plus expedite fee if you choose), pay for a certified copy of your driver’s license record and obtain an Sr-22. If you have a DWI conviction suspension, you will also have to obtain an interlock device. Other fees may apply in your specific case, contact us for details.

How much does it cost to file an Occupational Driver’s License in Harris County?

In Harris County, the filing fee is $227 dollars. You will also have to pay our service fee (plus expedite fee if you choose), pay for a certified copy of your driver’s license record and obtain an Sr-22. If you have a DWI conviction suspension, you will also have to obtain an interlock device. Other fees may apply in your specific case, contact us for details.

How much does it cost to file an Occupational Driver’s License in Travis County?

In Travis County, the filing fee is $267 dollars. You will also have to pay our service fee (plus expedite fee if you choose), pay for a certified copy of your driver’s license record and obtain an Sr-22. If you have a DWI conviction suspension, you will also have to obtain an interlock device. Other fees may apply in your specific case, contact us for details.

How much does it cost to file an Occupational Driver’s License in Montgomery County?

In Montgomery County, the filing fee is $264 dollars. You will also have to pay our service fee (plus expedite fee if you choose), pay for a certified copy of your driver’s license record and obtain an Sr-22. If you have a DWI conviction suspension, you will also have to obtain an interlock device. Other fees may apply in your specific case, contact us for details.

What Paperwork Do I Need For an Occupational Driver’s License?

If you are hiring a lawyer to handle your occupational driver’s license, you will simply need to provide some personal information and your lawyer should be able to handle everything else.

In order to obtain an Occupational Driver’s License, your attorney must file: 1) a Petition for an Occupational Driver’s License, 2) an Order Granting an Occupational Driver’s License, 3) a copy of your driving record, 4) proof of SR-22 insurance, 5) an affidavit of verification. Your attorney may also be required to file a cover sheet, a civil case filing sheet if you are in a county that requires e-filing and proof of interlock installation if the license suspension arose out of a DWI. Some courts require that you file a letter from your employer, if you are employed.

The Petition for the Occupational Driver’s License and the order granting the ODL must comply with the Texas statutory requirements and the requirements of the judge that hears the request. In addition, you need to consider whether or not an interlock is required as part of the order.

Once you have the signed Order for an Occupational License, you will need to send in most of the paperwork described above in addition to an SR-37.

Can A Lawyer Do My ODL? Where Can I Find a Lawyer for my ODL?

Yes, a lawyer can apply for your Occupational Driver’s License and obtain it for you. You can hire us to handle this for you by calling (888) 239-9305 or by contacting us online.

What Are the Restrictions on an ODL?

The restrictions on an Occupational Driver’s License will be specified in the order that your lawyer drafts and that the judge signs. The restrictions may include a limitation on the amount of hours you can spend driving, the counties in which you can operate a motor vehicle and possibly an interlock device.

Do you file in JP Court?

We do not usually file for ODLs in JP Court. JP courts have schedules that are typically less accommodating than county courts (although not always) and other procedures that slow the process down. Also, JP courts tend to put restrictions on the ODLs that county court judges wouldn’t put in place.


Legal references:

1See Texas Transportation Code Section 521.242

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