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December 10, 2018

DWI Lawyer FAQ: What is a hardship license?

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Criminal Defense Lawyer

A hardship license is also known as a restricted license, limited privilege license, or a cinderella license, depending on the state. When your drivers license has been suspended or revoked after a DWI, (or when you have had too many tickets) you may be able to apply for a hardship license.

Who May Receive a Restricted License?

Each state has their own rules pertaining to hardship licenses and who is eligible. In general, the eligibility will largely depend on the reason for the suspension, your driving record, and the type of your license. The state may also consider whether this is your first DWI or not. In general, if aggravating factors were involved in the DWI, such as reckless driving, a hit and run, or vehicular manslaughter, you will not be eligible. Furthermore, if this is not your first DWI, you may find it difficult to receive a hardship license. Generally, a restricted license will not restore commercial driving privileges.

Hard Suspension Period

Sometimes, you will only be able to apply for a restricted license after you have successfully completed a hard suspension period. This is often 30 days in which you cannot drive. These are commonly mandated in the case of a DWI related suspension.

If you refused a breathalyzer test, or other field sobriety tests, you may still be eligible for a restricted license. However, your hard suspension period could last longer, depending on the state and the judge.

How a Cinderella License Works

The purpose of a restricted license is to allow people who have been convicted of a DWI, and lost their license, continue to drive to work or meet other obligations that require driving. Before you can receive a hardship license, you must show the court or the DMV that you need a driver’s license to:

  • Keep your job;
  • Get your children to school (or yourself);
  • Attend a treatment program;
  • Obtain medical care; or,
  • Take care of other obligations.

This type of license will not restore all of your driving privileges and often comes with conditions that specify when and where you can drive. Examples of conditions may include:

  • The time you can drive;
  • Whether you can drive at night or during the day;
  • Whether passengers can be in your car;
  • The locations where you can drive; or,
  • The routes you can take.

It will be up to the DMV and court to decide what restrictions your hardship license will come with. If you lost your license because of a DWI, there is a possibility that you will have to install an ignition interlock device before you can be eligible. This device would require you to blow into a special device to check your blood alcohol levels before the car will start.

Violating these Restrictions

If you are caught violating these restrictions, you will almost certainly have the hardship license revoked and there may not be a second chance to receive another one.

If you would like help fighting a DWI charge or are looking for legal advice about hardship licenses, call a reckless driving lawyer Fairfax, VA trusts today.

Thank you to our friends and contributors at Dave Albo – Attorney for their insight into DUI charges and criminal defense.

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