What is an “Occupational Driver’s License”?
An Occupational Driver's License (ODL) is a temporary court order that allows to you drive while your regular license is suspended. It lasts for the term of your suspension – anywhere from three months to two years. The ODL also allows you to drive to school, for groceries, legal/medical appointments and general household duties. However, one condition is that it cannot be used for recreational activities like going to the movies, karaoke, eating out, etc. Additionally, you will have to choose the hours you need to drive when we apply for the ODL (unless you have an Ignition Interlock Device). You can drive up to twelve hours per day. For example: Monday-Friday from 8:00am-8:00pm and Saturday-Sunday from 10:00am-10:00pm. You can also break up the hours during the day. For example: Monday 8:00am-2:00pm and 5:00pm-11:00pm – as long as the hours total twelve. We define the hours for a full week – and these apply to the entire suspension period. It’s important to note that after the judge grants you an ODL it’s very difficult to change your scheduled hours.
Do you need anything from me for the Occupational License?
YES! We can’t get the license without these items:
1. SR-22 Certificate of Financial Responsibility
- We recommend getting your SR-22 insurance from Speedy SR-22. However feel free to shop around. Just search "SR-22 Texas" and you'll find plenty of options.
2. Copy of your Type AR (Certified Abstract) driving record
- If you have a Texas license, Order your AR driving record online
- If you lost your Texas license, order the driving record via mail.
- If you have never had a Texas license, call our office at (512) 472-1113.
3. A pay stub from your employer. If you are self-employed or unemployed, please write a letter addressed to the judge explaining your continued need to drive.
4. $51 filing fee for the Justice of the Peace, Precinct 5 (subject to change). You pay this fee to our office (by credit card, check, cash, or money order) and then we pay JP5 when we file the petition. There is a chance the filing fee may change depending on the specific circumstances of your case.
5. $135 license reinstatement and ODL fee for DPS (subject to change if you’ve had other issues with your license). You also pay this fee to our office, and we will pay DPS on your behalf when we send in the completed ODL. However sometimes our clients have already paid this, so if you think you have already paid this, please let us know. Call us if you are unsure.
6. Come into the office and sign the application for the ODL (or do it virtually with us). You can also Download the Verification PDF and sign it, and mail it to us or drop it in the mailbox of our office. We need the original.
***IMPORTANT*** Email us when you have completed everything on the checklist. Put the subject as "I've done everything. I'm ready for my ODL."
If You're Ready to Get Started on Your ODL Now
- Sign the Occupational License application at our office or virtually. Email us to schedule an appointment.
- Make a list of hours and counties you want to include in the ODL (unless you will have an Ignition interlock Device). Here is a link to submit your times/counties to us.
- Research SR-22 options.
- Pay the filing fee, reinstatement fee, or purchase SR-22 or your driving record online until we confirm it is the appropriate time.
VIDEO & FAQ
When do I get the Occupational License? Can I get it before my regular license is suspended?
We apply for the ODL if/when your regular license is suspended – we can’t get it before the suspension happens. In DWI cases we usually request an ALR (Administrative License Revocation) hearing after the arrest – so your license won’t be suspended until after the hearing happens. This can be anytime from 3-8 months after the arrest. If the judge rules against us at the hearing, that’s when we start working on the occupational license.
How will I know when the ALR hearing is going to be?
We send e-mails with updates on the status of the hearing. We never know for sure if the hearing will actually happen when it was originally scheduled, because the DPS attorneys frequently ask for resets due to officers being in training, sick, or at another legal hearing.
WHAT DO I NEED TO DO IF WE LOSE THE ALR HEARING?
Here's a short video about what we need to get you an ODL.
How soon can you get the ODL?
It takes from 24 to 48 hours to get the ODL written and signed by the judge once you have given us all of the above documents/information/signature.
Is getting an ODL an easy process for lawyers?
No. Getting an ODL granted is a laborious process that involves gathering the documents and information, drafting petitions and orders, filing the petitions and orders, convincing a judge to sign the documents, getting certified copies, and sending them to DPS. We are happy to do it though! We get approximately 3 ODLs granted every week.
What if I give you some (but not all) of the documents and information you need? Can you get started?
Unfortunately, no. Everything is submitted to the clerk/DPS at the same time.
What is a SR-22 certificate of financial responsibility?
SR-22 is a certification issued by a car insurance company showing proof that you are carrying the minimum liability coverage required by the state. It obligates the insurance company to tell DPS if you stop paying for liability insurance. In other words, it is a way for DPS (and the judge who grants the ODL) to be sure that you have liability insurance.
Is it separate from regular insurance?
No. It is bundled together with liability insurance. When you purchase SR-22, you are also getting liability insurance. However, you can purchase a non-owner’s policy and SR-22 bundle from an independent insurance provider that will not interfere with your regular policy.
Where should I get it?
We know the people who run Speedy SR-22. They are great! However, you can google “SR-22 Texas” and a thousand companies will pop up.
Can I buy it from my regular insurance company? Will they raise my rates?
If your current insurance company sells SR-22, you can get it from them. Unfortunately, I don’t know if your rates will be affected by this decision. This is why many of our clients prefer to buy a non-owner’s policy and SR-22 bundle from Speedy SR-22.
What do I do with the proof of SR-22 insurance?
Send us a copy. We need to attach it to the application for your ODL. Usually the insurance company will send it to us if you give them our contact info.
This is what an SR-22 certificate looks like:
Where do I get a copy of my driving record?
If you have a Texas license - Order your AR driving record online through the DPS website. The cost is $22.
If you never had a Texas license- Call the office at (512) 472-1113 and we can help you.
How to get your AR driving record online.
How long after the ALR hearing do I have to get all the stuff together for the ODL?
You have a “grace period” of approximately 1-2 days after the ALR hearing before the suspension is processed by DPS and becomes active. This is plenty of time to get everything we need to us.
How do I check my license eligibility online?
After the judge signs the judgment suspending your license, it usually takes DPS 1-2 days to process the license suspension. I recommend checking your license online after the hearing to make sure your license is still eligible during the “grace period.” Here is the link to check license eligibility. If the suspension has not been processed, the status will read “ELIGIBLE.” If you check your license and the status is “ELIGIBLE” but you see a suspension date below, this means DPS knows you have a pending suspension. This is a placeholder suspension and not your actual suspension date (i.e., the suspension dates you would have served had we not requested the hearing and tried to stop the suspension). If the status reads “NOT ELIGIBLE”, then the suspension has been processed and your license is suspended. The suspension shown below should be accurate.
Why do I bring a payment of $51 to you? Why not give it directly to the Justice of the Peace, Precinct 5?
JP5’s ODL filing system only accepts payments from law office accounts. You can make the payment to us online via our website and we will pay it to the court on your behalf.
What about the $135 (for reinstatement fee and ODL fee)? Where do I pay that?
You will also pay this fee to our office. We will send DPS a check from our office when we submit your completed ODL to them. Office checks are easier to track than personal money orders. We want to make sure we can track the check in case DPS forgets to credit your account (unfortunately DPS has done this in the past).
Why do you mail it in and not me?
We mail everything to DPS for you. We do this because so many of our previous clients have forgotten to mail the documents to DPS or lose them altogether. We provide this service for free.
What counties can I put in the ODL? What if I have to drive to Houston/Dallas/El Paso?
We always include Travis, Williamson, and Hays Counties in every ODL. However, if you need additional counties, you must put in every county that you will be driving in. This includes all the counties in between destinations.
How do I find out what counties are in between Austin and Houston/Dallas/El Paso?
You can look it up on this map.
Can I add counties after I get my ODL?
Why do I have to come into your office to sign the ODL application?
The ODL petition requires an original, notarized signature. We provide the notary service for free – but you must be present. If you’d rather get it notarized yourself, we can e-mail you the document and you can mail the original back to us.
The ODL says I have to keep a log book. What is that?
The judge requires you to write down the dates/times/destinations for each time you drive your car. If you are pulled over by the police, they have the right to ask to see your log book. None of my clients have had to show this log before but, technically, it is one of the requirements for the ODL.
Is the ODL just paperwork? Or does it look like a regular license?
Once the judge signs the ODL order, we give you a certified copy of the order that describes the terms of the ODL. You can drive using only this paperwork for 45 days. Within that 45 day period, you should receive a physical ODL in the mail from DPS that looks like a regular driver’s license. Once you receive the hard copy of the ODL, it must be kept with the certified order you were given previously. Both of these items together make up your ODL. One is not valid without the other after the 45 day period is over.
What do I Do with the ODL paperwork?
Here's a short video about what you need to do.
What if they don’t send me the license before the 45 days end?
This happens sometimes. Call us and we’ll discuss the options. Usually the license shows up within a week or two. We may be able to get you an amended order to cover you while you wait for the hard copy in the mail.
What if I don’t want to get an Occupational License? It sounds expensive and inconvenient.
You do not have to get an ODL. However, you can’t drive legally during the suspension period without one. If you do drive without an ODL and they catch you, then it is another class B misdemeanor (Driving While License Invalid). I have many clients that weigh the pros/cons and decide that they’ll just use public transportation, Uber, Lyft, a bicycle (or Austin B-Cycle), or get rides with friends during their suspension. Of course, this is nearly impossible if you have children or a job that is not easy to get to.
Do I have to get an occupational license right away? Can I see how hard it is to use public transportation first?
You don’t have to get an ODL right away. We can get one whenever you decide you want it.
I still have questions.
No problem. Call our office at (512) 472-1113. Or you can e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Texas Driver's License Issues After a DWI Arrest
Listen to Charlie discuss common driver's license issues and solutions after a DWI arrest on his podcast.