Life After DUI: Getting a Hardship License
By: Mike Stetzer
A drunk driving arrest can immediately affect the quality of your life. Even if no bodily harm or property damage results from the DUI arrest, it could still jeopardize your driving privileges. Since most people are dependent on this kind of transportation, a suspended or revoked license may cause serious problems.
If you refuse or fail a sobriety test, most states can suspend or revoke your driver’s license. You may even lose your license for refusing to take a breath test, regardless of the outcome of your DUI trial.
These penalties may make it difficult for you to go to work, visit the doctor and perform many other types of important tasks. So depending on your state’s drunk driving laws, it may be possible to get a hardship license after a DUI.
However, to get a hardship license you may need to take legal action outside of your defense against the DUI charges. This process may have its own filing requirements, paperwork and deadlines.
Also, even if you've only been charged with DUI and are awaiting trial you may need to apply for a hardship license to keep driving legally until your case is heard.
Revoked Licenses Versus Suspended License
In some cases your state's laws may allow people with a DUI arrest or conviction to get a hardship license. But there are several states that do not have a program of this sort in place.
When a person’s license is revoked, the circumstances are usually more severe. So in this kind of situation, a hardship license might not be granted. This could mean the driving privileges are limited to a work permit.
A work permit only allows you to drive to your place of employment and back home again. The vehicle cannot be driven for any other purpose in this scenario. However, if you need a commercial license for work you may be out of luck. Most states make it difficult to get a commercial license after a drunk driving convictions.
However, if an individual has a suspended license, which is common even after a first DUI offense, you may be able to get it reinstated by applying for a hardship license. Generally, though, in addition to being able to drive to and from work, a hardship license also lets you operate the vehicle during certain hours of the day or for certain types of trips.
Hardship License After DUI First Offense
A first DUI offense may be treated with more lenient penalties as long as there aren’t any injuries or property damage involved. So it is may be easier to obtain a hardship license under these circumstances. However, if you are arrested more than once for DUI, it is unlikely that you’ll receive the same driving privileges. Instead, you’ll be looked at as a repeat offender and may face a revoked license for many years, depending on the laws in the state where you live.
However, if your first DUI offense came with other charges or a high BAC and was upped to felony charges then you may have more difficulty getting a hardship license.
Either way, you'll still need to go through the legal processes and applications to get a hardship license. Your DUI lawyer may help you with these.
Consult with a DUI Lawyer Near You
A DUI lawyer may help you with any aspect of your case, from creating a defense to protecting your license before and after your trial. If you want to take action to keep driving after being charged with drunk driving speak with a DUI lawyer right away. Get a free case evaluation with one near you when you complete the form on this page.