Most people assume that an occupational license is just that, for work only. The believe that it will allow them to drive to work, or drive for their work, and then home. Fortunately, an occupational license provides a few more freedoms than just for work purposes. This article will outline the basic purposes of an occupational license.
An occupational license is defined as limited purpose license. Its limited purpose is that a holder can use the license for an “essential need.” Essential need is defined under Texas law as:
Sec. 521.241. DEFINITIONS. In this subchapter:
(1) “Essential need” means a 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.
Part A and B are pretty self explanatory. Occupational license can be used to travel to and from work. Or, it can be used in the performance of the person’s trade or occupation. Likewise, the occupational license can be used to drive to and from a school or other educational facility where the person is currently enrolled.
Part C is the catch all clause for the occupational license holder. This provision of the law allows the driver to operate his motor vehicle in the performance of jobs and duties related to maintaining the household. These duties may include going to the grocery store, bank, church, doctor’s appointments, or other normal, usual task that any person may need to perform. Its a catch all because the provision allows more than just buying groceries. However, it does not allow for bar hopping at 1 am on Friday night with one’s drinking buddies.
The other major limitation of an occupational license is that it cannot be used to drive a commercial vehicle. Therefore, if a person is a CDL holder whose license has been suspended, he cannot use it to drive a truck or other vehicle which requires a higher classification of driver. An occupational license would essentially knock down a person’s license to a Class C license.