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All About Hardship License : Cost, Renewal and Process

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We all rely on automobiles most of the time. Therefore, keeping a clean driving record is an absolute necessity. If you are caught driving under the influence or accumulate too many points on your driving record, your license gets revoked. In such cases, it’s possible that you could get a hardship license.¬†

What is a hardship license? 

A hardship license lets drivers whose licenses have been suspended because of a DUI conviction. Or other similar offenses keep driving so they can meet their basic needs. Not being able to drive would have a negative effect on their lives that wasn’t necessary. If you can’t get to school, work, or medical appointments or treatments with public transportation, a hardship license can help. Even though these are the most common reasons for getting a hardship license, you may still be able to get one even if you don’t meet any of these criteria. From the time it is given out, a Hardship Driver License is good for four years.¬†

What can you do with a restricted license? 

When someone has a restricted license, there are rules about when and/or where they can drive. All of the laws, rules, regulations, restrictions, and limits that apply to a Class D License also apply to a Hardship Driver License. 

Where you can drive 

  • Work: driving to and from work, job training, programs that help people get ready for work, or job interviews.¬†
  • Church: Driving to and from a religious service, a religious event with which it is affiliated. Or a civic event that is known to meet basic secular needs for full participation in society.¬†
  • Education: Driving to or from a sanctioned educational institution recognized by the State where the person is a regularly enrolled student, schools or childcare facilities where a family member or dependent is enrolled. Or events sanctioned by the school or childcare facility where the student, family member, or dependent is enrolled.¬†
  • Programs: Driving to or from any court-ordered program, treatment, community service, or event. Including but not limited to drug or alcohol counseling or other rehabilitation programs, court appearances, supervising probation and parole field office for reporting or programming, CCP, or work release program.¬†
  • Medical: Driving to and from a scheduled medical or mental health treatment appointment. Or a pharmacy to get prescriptions or a hospital in case of a medical emergency.¬†
  • Household: driving to and from the store to buy food and household items and doing important housework.¬†
  • Voting: If you are eligible, drive to or from the polls.¬†

When you can drive 

Some states also limit the usage of restricted licenses’ time period. For example, a driver may only be allowed to drive during the day. Or between certain times set by the court or the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV).¬†

driving record

How much does a hardship license cost? 

The price will be the same as a Class D License issuance but it varies from state to state. It costs about $95 on average, but in some states, it can cost as much as $500. You don’t just have to think about how much the license will cost; there are other things to consider as well.¬†

For example, the Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles does not charge extra fees for hardship licenses. You will only have to pay one reinstatement fee per suspension or revocation. The amount of the fee will depend on how many times the customer has been convicted of DUI. For a first DUI, the fine is $500, for a second DUI, it’s $700, and for a third or more DUI, it’s $1200. The cost of the ignition interlock device is about $150 per month. There are other costs to taking a written driving test.¬†

Who’s eligible for a restricted license?¬†

Each state is unique. But in general, a driver’s eligibility for a restricted license depends on the reason for the suspension, the driver’s driving record, and the type of driver’s license. ¬†

For example, some states don’t let drivers with their licenses suspended for serious driving offenses like killing someone with their car, leaving the scene of an accident, or driving recklessly get restricted licenses. Other states allow a restricted license after the first suspension, but not after the second or third. And most of the time, a hardship license won’t let you drive for work again.¬†

In some cases, a driver can only get a hardship license after a “hard-suspension” period has passed. The person can’t drive at all during the hard-suspension period, which is usually 30 days. Most suspensions and revocations for DUI involve hard suspension periods.¬†

How do you obtain a limited driving privilege? 

If you had too many points on your license and it was taken away or suspended, you may be able to get a limited driving privilege. If you buy SR-22 auto insurance, install an ignition interlock device (IID) in your car (in some cases), and fill out and send Form 4959 to the Department of Revenue (DOR). You should have a lawyer look over your paperwork or help you fill it out. 

There are two ways to get an LDP during a first-time DWI suspension of 90 days. The first option is to do a “hard walk” for the first 30 days of the suspension and then buy SR-22 insurance. Once this step is done, the LDP will be sent to the driver by mail by the Department of Revenue.¬†

The second option lets a driver get their license back on the first day of the suspension, without having to wait thirty days. The driver must show proof of SR-22 insurance, put an IID in the car, and file a request with the DOR for limited driving privileges. Again, you should ask a lawyer in Jefferson County to look over your paperwork or help you fill it out. 

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How can you renew your hardship license? 

A person who wants a hardship license will have to reapply every year. If the person is making progress (good cause) to get tickets or problems off their driving record, the license will be renewed for free (for up to 3 years). Good cause includes, but is not limited to, the applicant’s efforts to get back into society and/or progress toward solving problems that are keeping them from getting their full driver’s license back.¬†


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