The Hardship License in Florida Explained
What is a Hardship License?
A hardship license is a special type of license that can be applied for that allows people who have had their actual driver’s licenses suspended for DUI, or a number of other reasons, to drive legally in the state of Florida. Because it is very difficult to function in Florida without a license, this license allows suspended drivers to be on the roads legally, but only with very specific conditions.
These conditions are meant to accommodate motorists who would suffer undue hardship due to the inability to drive back and forth to a very few essential places.
Where Can I drive with a Hardship License?
There are two types of hardship licenses available in Florida:
- Work Purposes Only: A work purposes only license means the driver is restricted to driving to and from their place of employment only.
- If the driver’s job requires them to spend time behind the wheel, the work purposes only license would allow them to be on the road at this time as well.
- Business Purposes Only: A business purposes only hardship license confines driving to essential activities within the community. The places that would meet the standard of essential activities would be:
- Driving to and from work
- Including being on the road in the performance of the person’s job
- Driving to and from school for classes
- Driving to and from medical visits
- Driving for church purposes
How to Get a Hardship License in Florida?
Following a conviction on a first-time DUI offense, a petitioner for a hardship license would need to successfully complete DUI school, and apply to the Florida Department of Highway Safety & Motor Vehicles for a hearing concerning a hardship reinstatement.
If the person is under 21 years of age and driving with a breath alcohol level of .02 or above, they must complete a Traffic Law and Substance Abuse Education course before hardship reinstatement. If the underage person has a breath alcohol lever of .05 or higher, they must complete DUI Program prior to becoming eligible for hardship reinstatement.
For DUI offenders who were found to have a BAC of .15% or higher, a mandatory ignition interlock device would be required for up to six months to qualify for a hardship license.
Subsequent DUI convictions would make offenders ineligible for a hardship license except for very specific conditions. Offenders who have been convicted of vehicular manslaughter, or criminal vehicular manslaughter, or who have caused serious bodily injury because of a DUI would also be ineligible.
FLHSMV Hardship License Hearings
Once the petitioner has completed all pre-requisites for a hardship license application, they will need to attend a formal hearing at the FLHSMV office. At this hearing, the department will closely examine the petitioner’s unique case, and determine if there is proper cause to grant the petitioner’s request for a hardship license.
If the office should rule in the petitioner’s favor, they will also impose restrictions on that hardship license based on the defense the petitioner provides, and their need as demonstrated by documentation. The petitioner will then report to their local DMV office to get their actual driver’s license.
At the DMV, the petitioner will need to take an examination and pay application and filing fees, as well as the price of the course, and the expense of an ignition interlock device if necessary. When totaled, the expense of procuring a limited hardship license is decidedly more expensive than a cab ride home.
Let Smith & Eulo Help Your Odds of Getting A Hardship License in Florida
The process to get a hardship license following a suspension can be a harrowing, confusing experience, and the process must be completed properly to have the greatest possibility of success. The DUI lawyers at Smith & Eulo Law Firm can help the petitioner navigate these unfamiliar waters and be allowed access to the vehicle that may very well be their lifeline.
Call Smith & Eulo today for help getting a hardship license in Florida, initial consultation is free. We also have locations in Sanford, Melbourne, Jacksonville, Tampa, Ocala, Lakeland, Kissimmee and Daytona Beach.