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Receiving Specialized Driving Privileges After Your License Is Suspended

By Jon A. Keyes January 2017

An Indiana driver’s license can be suspended for many reasons. Failing to pay a ticket. Failing to have automobile insurance. As a result of a conviction. As a result of being a habitual traffic violator. If your Indiana driver’s license is suspended, you may be eligible for a “hardship license.” This term generally refers to what Indiana statutes now call “specialized driving privileges.”  Both refer to the same thing— a restricted or conditional license that allows someone to drive to and from work and potentially other life necessities during their license suspension. Below is a summary of certain “hardship licenses” that are available in Indiana.

A Court Ordered Suspension as a Result of an Arrest or Conviction.  Many criminal convictions will result in court ordered license suspensions.  Common examples include convictions for Operating While Intoxicated, Driving While Suspended, and Leaving the Scene of an Accident.  Most people do not real that they are eligible to ask for a hardship license even if a Court has ordered his/her license suspended due to a conviction.  The request for a hardship license must be made in the Court that suspended your license, but may Courts will grant a hardship license under the right set of circumstances.

No Insurance Suspension. Indiana requires that all drivers operating a motor vehicle have certain minimum coverage automobile insurance. Failure to have automobile insurance will result in either a 90 day or 1 year license suspension. Thankfully, a hardship license is available for those suspended for this reason. In general, a hardship license is available if the failure to have automobile insurance was inadvertent and the person now has automobile insurance. This hardship license may be available even if the applicant had previously had his/her license suspended.

Habitual Traffic Violator Suspension. If an individual commits enough traffic violations during a 10 year period, the Indiana BMV may determine that individual is a Habitual Traffic Violator (“HTV”). Depending upon the severity of the traffic violations committed, a person determined to be HTV can have his/her license suspended for 5 years, 10 years, or for life. Thankfully, Indiana law provides that hardship licenses may be available during these lengthy suspensions.

Unpaid Tickets.  Unlike the above described situations, most Courts do not like to grant hardship licenses for unpaid tickets.  Most Courts would rather you pay off the tickets, although there are certainly exceptions to every rule.

If you have a suspended driver’s license or questions about hardship licenses in Indiana, contact the attorneys at | Allen Wellman Harvey Keyes Cooley, LLP. They can analyze your unique situation and determine whether you may be eligible for a hardship license.