Getting Your License Back after a DUI

In nearly every state, a DUI conviction will mean a loss of driving privileges. While this period may last from a few months to several years, most people are eager to get their licenses back as quickly as possible.

Getting your driver's license back after a DUI arrest can be a complicated process, and will depend both on your state's DUI laws and local DMV procedures. The state's driver and vehicle registration authority (typically called the Department of Motor Vehicles or DMV) is independent from the courts that hold DUI trials, so it's important to know which is the proper channel for getting your license back.

Most states allow a person with a DUI to reinstate their driver's license on one of the following grounds:

  • Temporary license: Typically, you may still be able to legally drive on a temporary license between the date of your arrest and your court date thanks to state and federal Due Process protections, even if your physical license has been confiscated at time of arrest.
  • Hardship license: You may be offered the opportunity to have an administrative hearing with your state's DMV to obtain a hardship license. Typically, this type of license can only be used to drive to and from work or school, and on essential errands.
  • Reinstatement at end of suspension: For most first and second DUI arrests, your driver's license will only be suspended for a definite period of time, though this will depend on the circumstances of your DUI. At the end of this period, you'll be able to apply to have your driving privileges reinstated. In most states, you'll likely need to re-take the written and road driving tests, plus pay any applicable fees and show proof of insurance.

Because each state's laws, and indeed each situation, is different, it's important to check with your local DMV or a DUI attorney for the particulars in your case.

Copyright © 2018 MH Sub I, LLC. All rights reserved. ® Self-help services may not be permitted in all states. The information provided on this site is not legal advice, does not constitute a lawyer referral service, and no attorney-client or confidential relationship is or will be formed by use of the site. The attorney listings on this site are paid attorney advertising. In some states, the information on this website may be considered a lawyer referral service. Please reference the Terms of Use and the Supplemental Terms for specific information related to your state. Your use of this website constitutes acceptance of the "Terms & Conditions", "Supplemental Terms", "Privacy Policy" and "Cookie Policy."