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Obtaining a hardship license after a DUI conviction

After driving under the influence of alcohol, an officer pulled you over, and you were subsequently charged with a DUI. Upon your conviction, a court assigned a 6-month driver’s license suspension to your driving privileges, among other fines. You wonder how you will attempt to travel to and from your job, and you question how you will sustain yourself and family without your job’s income.

In Florida, you have the opportunity to apply for a hardship license if you prove eligible and follow specific steps in securing the license. You do not have to lose income and experience drastic life changes after a DUI conviction, and if you require a restricted license, Florida court may assign the privilege to you. 

If you face criminal DUI charges and wish to obtain a hardship license to travel to and from your job, you may wish to speak with an experienced criminal defense attorney. He or she will possess the experience and drive to aid you in developing the best case for your restricted license.

The process of obtaining a hardship license

According to Florida law, to obtain a hardship license after a DUI license suspension, you must explain to the court that not holding an active license would bring you “undue hardship”. You must show proof that the court’s license suspension penalty is too drastic for your circumstances, and without a license to drive to work, you could not support yourself or your family.

You may not begin the process of obtaining a restricted license until 30 days of your suspension have passed.

To apply for the license, you must:

  • Complete a DUI program assigned by the court
  • Install an ignition interlock device if required
  • Submit a petition

At this time, you may wish to utilize the help of your attorney in determining whether you hold all necessary documentation to submit a valid, persuasive petition.

A hearing and a decision

After, a hearing will occur. The court will decide whether a full license suspension would place undue harm on you and your family. The hearing will also ensure that you fall into the following circumstances.

  1. You have not been arrested for a drug-related offense within the last 5 years.
  2. You have not driven a car without a license in the last 5 years.
  3. You have been drug-free for the last 5 years.
  4. You have completed the required DUI program.

The court will look at your criminal history to determine whether offering the hardship license benefit will maintain the safety of the public. Should you receive the license, you must:

  • Be offered the license to drive only to employment purposes for 1 year
  • Be supervised by a DUI program and pay for the program

Florida works to ensure the safety of all drivers, passengers and pedestrians by inflicting serious punishments on those that drive while intoxicated. Yet the court understands that a license suspension may prove too strict for those that work outside of the home and provide for themselves and their family. If you qualify for a hardship license in Florida, contact an experienced attorney to determine your required documents and begin the process of receiving a restricted license after a DUI.

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