Occupational Drivers’ License: What You Need to Know

| Aug 1, 2018 |

Most people whose licenses are suspended do nothing about the issue. 75 percent of these individuals simply keep driving. The “ignore a problem and hope it goes away” approach hardly ever works and almost always results in very bitter consequences.

In Texas, those consequences include an additional $500 fine, because DWLS (driving while license suspended) is a Class C misdemeanor. But that’s only part of the story. In DWLS cases, the Department of Public Safety could double the period of suspension. So, if you had a medical episode and the DPS suspended your license for six months, the state may tack on an additional six months if you are caught driving with a suspended license.

How Does an ODL Benefit Me?

A medical episode, such as a seizure or a heart disease diagnosis, is just one way to temporarily lose your license in Texas. Many others, such as too many traffic tickets or a DWI arrest, are safety-related. However, some are not safety-related, such as failure to pay child support.

An Occupational Drivers’ License (ODL) is almost literally a lifesaver in many of these situations. ODL holders may drive up to twelve hours a day for six days a week for:

· Work,

· Educational reasons, or

· Performance of essential household duties.

That last category is by far the broadest one. It includes things like taking kids to soccer practice, getting groceries, going to the doctor’s office, and attending court-ordered probation meetings. These are just a few examples. The law is so vaguely written that if you have a legitimate, legal purpose for the trip, the journey probably qualifies as an essential household duty.

ODL Procedure in Parker County

Any judge, including a Justice of the Peace, has the authority to issue an ODL. It’s usually best to go to a JP. These courts are usually not very busy, and they are also conveniently located. Judges almost always ask ODL petitioners “How did you get here today?”

If the judge determines that the petitioner is eligible, the judge will sign an ODL order. Judges never grant petitions for commercial ODLs under any circumstances. That written order serves as your drivers’ license for the next forty-five days, which is the amount of time the DPS takes to process the order. To complete that process, you must:

· Provide a certified copy of the ODL order,

· Obtain SR-22 insurance, and

· Pay any license or reinstatement fees.

In some cases, there is a waiting period. Typically, the waiting period is between 90 and 180 days, but it can be up to a year. Your ODL can be good for up to two years, and you must keep the SR-22 valid for the entire period of suspension.

An ODL allows you to drive for most purposes while your license is suspended. For a free consultation with an experienced criminal defense attorney in Weatherford, contact Herreth Law. Convenient payment plans are available.