How Does a Florida Hardship License Work?

Commuting is a large part of most people’s daily routine, as they need to use their vehicle in order to get to and from work, school, and other necessary tasks. The inability to drive due to the loss of a driver’s license can thus be severely damaging to one’s livelihood, particularly if you don’t have a spouse or family member who can take your kids to school or give you a ride to work. Fortunately, Florida Law enables you to secure a hardship license so that you suffer little to no interruption in your ability to lawfully drive.

In this brief article, we’ll be exploring how to obtain a hardship license in Florida with the help of the best DUI lawyers in Clearwater, how a hardship license works, and what to do if you have been charged with violation of driver’s license restriction. For more information, please get in touch with a member of our team at Russo, Pelletier & Sullivan.

Getting Your Florida Hardship License

The process for obtaining a Florida hardship license differs depending on whether this is your first, second, third, or fourth DUI. For example, if you are a first-time DUI offender, Florida Statute sections 322.2615(1)(b)3 and 322.271(7) allow for you to immediately apply to obtain a hardship driving privilege. On the other hand, Florida law mandates that an individual with a second-time DUI conviction must wait one year from the date that the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (DHSMV) revoked their license before applying for a hardship license. Similarly, a person who has been convicted of a third DUI must wait a period of two years from the date of the ten-year revocation before applying for a hardship license.

In order to be eligible for a hardship license in Florida after a DUI arrest, you must do the following:

  • Enroll in DUI school
  • Wait the required period to fill out an application
  • Bring proof of your enrollment in DUI school to the DHSMV Administrative Review Office
  • Fill out the application and pay the filing fee

Afterward, a hearing will occur in which the court will decide whether a full license suspension would place undue harm on you and your family. They will also examine your criminal history in order to determine whether offering the hardship license will benefit the safety of the public.

Understanding the Restrictions of a Florida Hardship License

Unfortunately, while a Florida hardship license will grant you limited driving privileges, it also comes with restrictions. Given the somewhat vague nature of the statute governing permissible use, this means that we see a wide variety of interpretations by law enforcement when it comes to the lawful use of a hardship license. Even driver’s license office personnel will often have conflicting opinions as to the extent of the permitted use of the license.

To better under these restrictions, it helps to know what kind of hardship license you have. A “C” restriction license typically secured by first-time offenders authorizes driving for “business purposes only,” while a “D” restriction license typically granted to multiple offenders limits driving to “employment purposes only.” Employment purposes is defined as driving to and from work and any necessary on the job driving, while business purposes is much broader — including any driving necessary to maintain livelihood.

What If I Get Charged with Violation of Driver’s License Restriction?

If you are subject to a traffic stop while driving on a hardship license, the individual facts and circumstances associated with your operation of the motor vehicle will be closely scrutinized by the police. For example, a police officer may be inclined to disbelieve your account that you are headed to work at an office building when you are dressed in a tank top and shorts. As always, the best way to avoid being arrested for violating a hardship license restriction is to avoid being stopped in your motor vehicle. Driving a car with an expired tag or driving recklessly is an open invitation to trouble.

However, in the event that you are charged with violation of driver’s license restriction, the top DUI lawyers in Clearwater are here to help. We may be able to prove that your driving was within the permitted use of your restriction or secure a withholding of adjudication that saves your hardship license from being revoked for improper use. Just give us a call or fill out our contact form today for a free consultation.

For a free consultation with one of the best DUI attorneys in Clearwater, please contact Russo, Pelletier & Sullivan today.

Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for general educational information only. This information does not constitute legal advice, is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor should it be relied upon as legal advice for your specific factual pattern or situation.

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