Occupational Driver’s License
In the unfortunate event that your driver’s license has been suspended due to a DWI/DUI or as a consequence of refusing to take a breath test, you can apply for an Occupational Driver’s License (ODL). You must show good cause for why an Occupational Driver’s License is needed, but that cause can be quite broad and can include homemakers who need a car to buy groceries or to perform domestic duties, unemployed persons who need a car to get to medical appointments, persons who need to drive to their place of worship or students who drive to school.
The granting of an Occupational Drivers License requires the filing of a Petition and getting an Order signed by a judge granting you the right to drive. This includes a filing fee and various other expenses that the Texas Department of Public Safety requires, including but not limited to SR-22 insurance and reinstatement and issuance fees.
Under Texas law, an Occupational Drivers License will only be issued for a four (4) hour period, and may have other restrictions attached to it depending upon your nature of the offense. To drive more than this period, an attorney must show the court good cause as to why the ODL should allow you to drive up to 12-hours each day, with a limit of 60 hours of driving per week, the maximum allowed by law. Furthermore, your attorney must show the court good cause why you should be allowed to drive in certain counties.
Austin DWI lawyer Kevin Bennett represents those facing drunk driving charges in Travis County, including Lakeway, Lago Vista, West Lake Hills and Rollingwood.
Examples of Restrictions for ODL’s and Persons charged with DWI
- Drivers whose licenses are suspended under either Section 524 or 724 of the Texas Transportation Code and who have not had a prior suspension arising from an alcohol-related or drug-related enforcement contact in the five years preceding the date of the person's arrest, the driver can petition the court immediately for a ODL.
- If the person's driver's license has previously been suspended as a result of an alcohol-related or drug-related enforcement contact during the five years preceding the date of the person's arrest, the driver must wait 90 days after receiving notice of suspension before petitioning the court for a ODL.
- If the person's driver's license has previously been suspended as a result of a conviction under Section 49.04, 49.07, or 49.08, Penal Code, during the five years preceding the date of the person's arrest, the driver must wait 180 days before petitioning the court for an ODL.
- If the person's driver's license has previously been suspended as a result of a second or subsequent conviction under Section 49.04, 49.07, or 49.08, Penal Code, committed within five years of the date on which the most recent preceding offense was committed, the driver must wait a period of one calendar year before petitioning the court for an ODL.
- Drivers charged with a 3rd DWI may be subject to a five year suspension without opportunity to petition the court.
- As of September 1, 2015, an interlock device on the driver's car is now required of drivers as a condition to receiving an ODL. An interlock device is a breath alcohol analyzer connected to the ignition of a motor vehicle. In order to start the vehicle, the driver must blow into the breath alcohol analyzer. If the analyzer detects alcohol exceeding a certain limit, the engine will not start and the device may record the failure.
- Drivers charged with Intoxicated Manslaughter, Intoxicated Assault, or DWI with a Minor Passenger are eligible for an ODL in most counties by the permission of the District Court Judge they are before.
- An Occupational Drivers License is not available as for drivers with CDL licenses.