License suspensions are one of the most disruptive parts of a criminal offense. Driving is an essential part of everyday tasks, in order to get to work or school, it can be extremely detrimental to not have the ability to drive. If your license is suspended due to Driving While Intoxicated through an Administrative License Revocation Hearing or through a criminal case, there are still ways to ensure you can still drive.
An occupational driver’s license is a type of restricted license issued after your driver’s license has been suspended, revoked or denied for certain offenses, other than a medical reason or delinquent child support. An occupational license will allow you to drive with a suspension anywhere deemed necessary, including work, school, or to complete critical household tasks. Ultimately, the judge determines what is considered an essential need.
In order to obtain an occupational license, a petition must be filed with the court. you must demonstrate an essential need to operate a motor vehicle. The petition filed with the court must include:
1. detailed description of the petitioner’s need to drive with the hours and location of travel,
2. reason for the suspension, revocation, or cancellation,
3. evidence of financial responsibility (SR-22), and
4. certified abstract of complete driving record
In order to obtain an occupational license, you will also need to obtain Financial Responsibility SR-22 Insurance. This is an additional insurance on top of the normal liability insurance that is required by DPS. In some instances, the court may also require ignition interlock as a condition of the ODL. Ignition interlock is a device installed in a car that monitors a person’s BAC to ensure you are not consuming alcohol and driving.
Additionally, there are recent changes in the law for an Occupational Driver’s License. Now, there is required alcohol counseling for suspensions relating to operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated. The court shall require the petitioner to attend a court-approved program for counseling and rehabilitation services for alcohol dependence. The court can require the person to report to the court to verify attendance. If a person is not attending as required, the ODL may be revoked. The requirement for counseling may be waived if shown good cause.
Once the judge signs the petition, the order and reinstatement fees must also be sent to DPS. There is a 45-day wait period where the signed order serves as the occupational license, but after the 45 days, you will be required to carry an ODL license.
If your license was recently suspended or revoked, contact an attorney immediately to help you obtain an occupational driver’s license. If caught driving with a suspended license, you may receive an additional criminal charge punishable by county jail. An attorney will help draft the petition, guide you through the process, and ensure you have everything necessary for the ODL and to drive legally. Especially with recent changes in the law relating to ODLs, it is also vital to have an attorney to aid you in being completely compliant with the additions.
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