Specialized Driving Privileges
Not having a license can be devastating. Many of my clients come to me looking for help after not being able to drive for decades. It used to be very difficult to obtain driving privileges if you were suspended as a habitual traffic violator or had any type of lengthy license suspension from a criminal conviction. Recently, however, the laws were updated to create a new type of license status, now called Specialized Driving Privileges.
What used to be a Hardship License, Specialized Driving Privilege laws allows a court to grant driving privileges to people with all types of suspensions, including those who may not have qualified before, opening up the opportunity to obtain driving privileges to clients who may not have had any options previously.
In order to apply for Specialized Driving Privileges, a person must first determine what type of suspension they have. Typically, a person will either have a suspension that was ordered by a court as part of a criminal or civil case, or ordered directly by the BMV. If a person has a court issued suspension, a petition must be filed in that court to request driving privileges. If a person has more than one court issued suspension in more than one court, multiple petitions may be required. Additionally, if a person has a BMV issued suspension, a petition must be filed in that person’s home county. As an example, if a person is a resident of Marion County and has a BMV issued suspension for failing to file insurance but also has a court issued suspension out of a court in Hamilton County, the petitioner would have to obtain an order granting driving privileges from the court in Hamilton County and the Circuit Court in Marion County, requiring two separate petitions.
However, if a person a resident of the county where the court issued suspension was ordered, that person may file one petition in the court that issued the suspension for both the court issued suspension and the BMV issued suspension.
Additionally, if filing under a petition for a court issued suspension, no filing fees are required, however, if a separate petition must be filed for a BMV issued suspension, a new miscellaneous case number must be created and a filing fee will be required.
Once you have determined how and where to file, if a petition is granted, the court can place any type of restriction on the driving privileges that it determines appropriate. For example, the court can order that the person use an ignition interlock device, or limit the times and locations a person can drive. The petitioner will also be required to carry insurance and obtain an SR-22.
Although the process can seem complicated and can be lengthy, if the petition is granted, even with restrictions, a person who otherwise would have no driving privileges may be able to drive to work, or school, or their child’s daycare, easing some of those daily burdens and making a life a little easier.
Additionally, beginning July 1, 2015, new changes will be taking effect, allowing some petitioner’s with lifetime license suspensions to apply for a rescission of that suspension, and also allowing some former Indiana residents who no longer reside in Indiana but who still have Indiana suspensions to apply for relief.
Every individual’s circumstances will be different and each person will have to determine when and how to file a petition for Specialized Driving Privileges, and having an attorney to guide you through the process can be the difference between driving again or having the petition denied and needing to start all over. If you have questions about applying for specialized driving privileges, contact Chambers Law Office today.