If you have recently been convicted of driving under the influence (DUI), you may not need to worry about losing your ability to drive to and from essential places, such as school, work, or the grocery store. With a viable case, you can potentially replace your suspended license with a hardship license that allows some driving. Acquiring such a license requires the submission of specific paperwork and compliance with other court requirements.
It is not always easy to get a hardship license following a DUI conviction. Therefore, you should rely on a skilled attorney to help you get some of your driving privileges back. By using the contact form on this page, you can access the information you need to start the process of acquiring a hardship license in California.
What Is a Hardship License?
When you are convicted of a DUI in California, one of the most common outcomes is that your driver’s license will be suspended. This limits your ability to travel, as you will no longer be able to legally operate a car. Due to these restrictions, many lose their ability to travel to and from school and work.
That is why hardship licenses are allowed for some California drivers. These licenses, which are sometimes called restricted licenses, are granted to select individuals who meet certain criteria.
While holding a restricted license, drivers are legally allowed to drive for a select number of purposes. Where they can drive is often limited to essential needs, such as attending a DUI education program, place of employment, or school. Usually, trips to medical facilities are also allowed.
How to Get a California Hardship License
Hardship licenses are not offered to all DUI offenders. In fact, only people who are on their first DUI offense are allowed to obtain a hardship license in most cases. Some other eligibility requirements include:
- Must not have been convicted of another DUI charge within the past ten years
- Must still have all driving privileges, meaning their license cannot be revoked for another illegal act
- Must have submitted to the sobriety test they were asked to complete at the time of their arrest
- Must be age 21 or older
- Must be applying for a hardship license to be used for personal driving, not commercial driving
Understanding that all of these requirements must be met can help DUI offenders understand whether or not they qualify for a hardship license. Though, there are times when people who do meet all of these criteria will still be denied a hardship license if they apply. To ensure that you have the highest chance of receiving the hardship license you need, work with a DUI defense lawyer to complete your application.
If You Broke Multiple Laws, You May Be Unable to Get a Hardship License
Hardship licenses are seen as a privilege in the courts. Therefore, not everyone who fits the criterion mentioned in the previous section will be eligible to acquire the restricted license they need. For example, someone who was arrested for a DUI and another qualifying offense may not be eligible to receive a restricted license.
Therefore, if you were arrested for hitting a pedestrian while intoxicated, your ability to get a hardship license may be severely limited. Yet, even if you did commit another offense at the time of your DUI arrest, you can still win a hardship license with the right lawyer. To find out more about what you can do to aid the process, reach out to a DUI defense attorney today.
Applying for a Hardship License After DUI Charges Are Placed
You can apply for a hardship license at several points throughout the criminal proceedings associated with a DUI charge. Though, there are certain times wherein doing so would be more effective. Once you know how to get a California driver’s hardship license, it helps to know when these times are.
Primarily, it is best to apply as soon as your license is confiscated by the police. At this point, you will usually be issued a temporary license, so it is beneficial to ensure that you have already started the process of applying for a hardship license at this point. The temporary license only lasts for 30 days, so make sure that you submit your application soon after your arrest if you want to increase your chances of maintaining some driving privileges.
Hardship License Application Process
To apply for a hardship license, you must complete an application that will be submitted to the Department of Motor Vehicles. Then, you make a payment of $125 for the reissuing of the license. Another critical component of the application process is that you must be enrolled in a DUI school and provide evidence of that enrollment.
Finally, hardship license applicants are required to purchase SR-22 auto insurance that provides proof that they are taking financial responsibility for any accidents they may cause while driving.
SR-22 insurance is like any other auto insurance policy, except it comes with a certificate of financial responsibility. Technically, the certificate itself is the SR-22 insurance rather than it being a policy in and of itself.
Still, in order to acquire an SR-22 certificate, you must purchase an insurance policy that is qualified as SR-22 coverage. These policies are typically two or three times more expensive than normal insurance policies.
You May Be Eligible for a Hardship License
You now know how to get a California driver’s hardship license. To learn whether you are eligible for one, speak to a DUI lawyer near you. Once they evaluate your case, they can help you navigate the process of applying for the restricted license.
To reach out to a DUI defense lawyer, use the contact form on this page.