If your license has been suspended or disqualified in any way and you need to drive, you may be eligible for an occupational drivers license (ODL). An ODL is a special restricted license which grants the holder permission to drive at certain times and in certain counties for specific purposes. For example, a holder can drive to work and home in Dallas County and its contiguous counties for no longer than 12 hours in any 24 hour consecutive period.
An ODL can also be used to drive to school if necessary and in the performance of household duties. Also, an ODL allows the holder to drive in the performance of their work duties. Unfortunately, an ODL does not allow a holder to drive a commercial vehicle.
In order to obtain an occupational license, a person must file a verified (sworn to) petition with a court who has jurisdiction to grant the ODL. Basically, a petition for an ODL can only be filed in the county where the person resides or where the offense occurred that caused the license to be suspended. If the license was automatically suspended for any drug or alcohol conviction, the petition must be filed in the county where the criminal case is filed.
Once an ODL is granted by the judge. A certified copy of the petition and order must be mailed to DPS along with any reinstatement fees and occupational license fees. Once received and processed, DPS will mail a hard copy of the occupational license to the person to be used until the suspension is lifted. Please note that the order and petition signed by the judge is used as a temporary occupational license for 31 days until the hard copy can be issued by DPS.
The ODL must be carried with the holder in any vehicle he/she drives and shown to a peace officer upon request at anytime. If the holder is caught driving outside of the hours granted in the ODL or for purposes other than those specifically ordered, he/she is subject to arrest and prosecution with a possible punishment which may include jail time and thousands of dollars in fines and court costs.
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