In an effort to help our clients understand the process in obtaining an occupational license, we are providing this series of articles to educate and expedite the process. Our office has developed protocol over the years to address each of the more common issues that tend to arise when filing for an occupational license. Frequently, our clients have never given a second to thought to the number of hours they would need each day to accomplish their essential needs, such as going to work and home, school, and household duties. It seems only when we ask them what hours they would like to have included in their petition, then they realize they don’t know what would work best for their particular situation.
According to the Texas Transportation Code, a petitioner is limited to four hours of actual drive time each day. If more time is needed, the petitioner must show a necessity. If the necessity can be proven to the court, the court can grant up to 12 hours of actual drive time per consecutive 24 hour period.
The statute is as follows:
Sec. 521.248. ORDER REQUIREMENTS. (a) An order granting an occupational license must specify:
(1) the hours of the day and days of the week during which the person may operate a motor vehicle;
(2) the reasons for which the person may operate a motor vehicle;
(3) areas or routes of travel permitted;
(4) that the person is restricted to the operation of a motor vehicle equipped with an ignition interlock device, if applicable; and
(5) that the person must submit to periodic testing for alcohol or controlled substances, if applicable.
(b) The person may not operate a motor vehicle for more than four hours in any 24-hour period, except that on a showing of necessity the court may allow the person to drive for any period determined by the court that does not exceed 12 hours in any 24-hour period.
(c) An order granting an occupational license remains valid until the end of the period of suspension of the person’s regular driver’s license.
Now, you must remember that it is up to the judge to grant the time extension. If you need the time, be prepared to provide testimony or evidence which supports your request. Most judges, in our experience, are satisfied with the request made within petition.
In preparation of filing the petition, write down the acutal number of hours you are on the road each day. For example: If you leave for work at 7:00am and arrive within the hour, then do not leave until lunch time, you don’t actually drive during 8:00am and 12:00 noon. Therefore, you don’t need to request that you be allowed to drive for those four hours. It is ok, however, to request one big block of time such as 7:00am to 7:00pm, 8:00am to 8:00pm, etc. Or, you can break it down to multiple blocks of time. The key is that it cannot exceed 12 total hours and you must have the times listed in the petition. The court will not accept an open ended time request such as 7:00am to whenever.
Lastly, remember that you will only be allowed to drive in certain counties, so do not plan on taking long road trips which will put your actual drive time past the 12 hour mark.
Call our office today to discuss your needs and we can help you prepare so that your occupational license can be expedited.