Not everyone needs an ODL! Many times a driver simply needs to reinstate their license by contacting TX DPS to determine the necessary steps in their situation.
An ODL is often required if you have a suspension on your license. The suspension will have a "begin" and "end" date, even if the end date is until the year "9999." Check your driver eligibility status online at https://www.dps.texas.gov/DriverLicense/OnlineServices.htm to determine if an ODL is right for you.
You can also visit https://www.dps.texas.gov/DriverLicense/OccupationalLicense.htm to determine if you qualify. You can NOT get an ODL if your license is invalid due to a medical condition, outstanding child support, because you don't qualify for a TX DL, or if you have received two ODLs after a conviction in the past 10 years.
2. Required Decouments
You will need to gather the following required documents to include in your filing packet to the court:
4. SR22 Insurance. This can be obtained through your current auto insurance carrier or by any other auto insurance company that offers this type of insurance.
5. (If required) Proof of installation of Ignition Interlock Device (IID). If your license is suspended due to an intoxication offense under Penal Code 49.04-.08, then you must have an IID installed in the vehicle. If you have an IID, then you do NOT need to provide proof of items #6-8.
6. Proof of essential need. To get an ODL you must show that you have a need to drive, such as getting to/from work, or school, or for meeting the needs of your children. You can show proof of this need by providing copies of wage stubs, school records, or a written notarized affidavit where you swear the information in the affidavit it true.
7. Proof of your schedule. You can include this information in a written affidavit (notarized), with a letter from your employer, or school.
8. Proof of the counties that you need to drive in. This also can be provided in a statement in the same affidavit, or with verification from your employer or school.
3. File with the Court
Depending on the Court where you file your documents, you could have additional required documents that must be completed and included in your filing. Check the clerk's website or contact the clerk's office and ask. These forms may include 1) a civil case information sheet and/or 2) ODL checklist.
You can file your petition and documents with a County Court or Justice of the Peace (JP) Court. The location of filing will depend on why your license is suspended. If your license was suspended because of a conviction, you must file in the same court that convicted you. If it is not due to a conviction, you can file in the county or district or JP where you live or where the offense occurred.
4. Judge's Signature
Once you have filed your documents, you must determine from the clerk the next steps to get the Judge's signature on your order. Find out if the Judge reviews the orders in chambers and returns them to the clerk in a specific amount of time, or if you have to set a hearing to appear before the Judge in person. Ask how you get your certified copy of the petition and 2 certified copies of the order, and whether or not they mail documents to DPS on your behalf or if you are required to do so.
5. Final Steps to DPS
The order is only good for 45 days! Once the Judge grants and signs the order, you must mail the following items to DPS:
1. a certified copy of your petition
2. a certified copy of your order
3. Money order for ODL fee ($10 for 1 year suspension and $20 for 2 year suspension)
4. Money order for reinstatement fees owed
5. a copy of your SR22 insurance
Mail documents to:
Texas Department of Public Safety
Enforcement and Compliance Service
P.O. Box 4087
Austin, TX 78773-0320
Do not forget to keep a log of your driving record and a certified copy of the order with you at all times while driving!
If you have completed all steps successfully, then DPS will mail you a hard, plastic Occupational Driver's License. If you have not received that license before the 45 days expires after the order is granted, contact DPS immediately! Once you have the ODL, you must still keep a log of your driving history. And do not forget that the ODL is only good during the period of suspension. So if your license is invalid due to other reasons (surcharges, tickets owed, or something else) you will still need to take care of those issues to reinstate your driving privileges once the ODL is no longer valid.
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