How to Get an Occupational Driver’s License in Texas
Losing your driver’s license can be devastating. Having your license suspended not only affects your livelihood, but it also affects your daily life. If you can’t legally drive on Texas roads, you may have trouble finding a job, keeping a job, or getting to your job on time. Of course, there are other things to worry about as well: How are you going to get groceries, take care of family members, or make it to doctor’s appointments?
In today’s world, most people absolutely must have a driver’s license. Not surprisingly, many people with suspended driver’s licenses in San Antonio choose to take the risk and drive anyway. Most of us don’t have much of a choice.
What’s the Penalty for Driving with a suspended license in Texas?
Driving with a suspended license is a Class C misdemeanor. It can result in a fine of up to $500 and an even longer license suspension. For a repeat of offense, you could be charged with a Class B misdemeanor, up to 180 days in jail, and a fine of up to $2,000.
If you’re driving without insurance as well or if your license was suspended for driving while intoxicated (DWI), you could face jail time and have your car impounded the first time you are pulled over. So what’s the solution? Apply for an occupational driver’s license in Bexar County.
What is an occupational driver’s license?
An occupational license, also known as an “essential need license” is a type of restricted driver’s license available under Texas law. To successfully apply for an occupational license in Bexar County, you must meet certain requirements including showing the court that you have an essential need for the license. Some examples of essential need are:
- Getting to and from work
- Driving as part of your job
- Getting to and from school
- Transporting your children
- Completing household activities like getting groceries
How to Get an Occupational Driver’s License in 8 Steps
Step 1: Check the Status of Your Driver’s License with Texas DPS
- The first requirement to get an occupational license in Texas is for your license to be suspended. If you have never had a license in the first place, you will not be eligible for an occupational license. If your license is simply blocked from renewal due outstanding traffic tickets, you may be able to clear your tickets out and reinstate your driving privileges without getting an occupational driver’s license. If your license suspension has already ended, you could be eligible to renew your license simply by going to the DMV and/or paying a reinstatement fee.
Step 2: Obtain Auto Insurance and an SR-22
- Insurance is a requirement for all Texas drivers. If your license is suspended, the court will require you to provide an SR-22. An SR-22 is a form that is filed by your insurance company with the State of Texas to prove that you have car insurance that meets the minimum liability requirements under Texas law. The SR-22 is not actual insurance, but a certification that your insurance is valid. You can usually obtain this by contacting your auto insurance company and paying a small fee.
Step 3: Obtain a Certified Abstract (Type AR) of Your Driving Record
- This can be done by mail with form DR-36 or online. To request your certified abstract of your driving record online, you must have your DPS audit number from your license and pay a $22 fee.
Step 4: Draft a Petition for Occupational Driver’s License
- The petition is the lawsuit or application you will file with the court to ask the court to order DPS to issue you an Occupational Driver’s License.
Step 5: Draft an Order for an Occupational Driver’s License
- An order is what the court will sign to order DPS to issue your Occupational Driver’s License. Templates may be available online or from your local bar association.
Step 6: File Your Petition and Proposed Order With the Court
- Depending on the reason for your license suspension and the outcome of your underlying case, you may have the option to file your case in District Court, County Court at Law, or Justice of the Peace Court. Filing fees and wait times can vary greatly from court to court. It’s important to file in the right. Filing for an occupational driver’s license in the wrong Bexar County court can result in an automatic rejection, loss of filing fees, and big waste of time.
Step 7: Go to Court
- After you file your petition for an occupational driver’s license in Bexar County, the court will set your case for a hearing. At the hearing, the judge reviews your petition and other paperwork and decides whether or not to grant the occupational license. If the judge approves your petition, he or she will decide what restrictions you will have on your license. Make sure to get at least two certified copies of the occupational license order from the court.
Step 8: Finalize the Process with Texas DPS
- The signed order from the court will allow you to drive for 45 days, but it is not the occupational license itself. After you get the court order, you must contact DPS to make sure they receive a copy of it. The order requires them to issue you a plastic occupational license for 1 to 2 years. You may also have to pay administrative or license reinstatement fees.
Contact a San Antonio/Bexar County Occupational License Attorney
A conviction for driving with a suspended license can result in expensive fines, jail time, and more serious consequences for your license and your future. If your license has been suspended, don’t hesitate to contact an experience occupational license attorney in the Bexar County/San Antonio area. It usually only takes 5 minutes to learn your available options and there is no charge for a consultation. Call us now at (210) 967-6500 or request your free online occupational license eligibility determination by clicking here.