Indiana Specialized Driving Privilege Lawyer (Hardship License)
Not having a license can be devastating. Many clients come to us looking for help after not being able to drive for decades. It used to be difficult to obtain a driver’s license if you were suspended as a habitual traffic violator or had any type of lengthy license suspension from the BMV or because of a criminal conviction. Recently, however, the laws were changed to create a new type of license status. What used to be called a Hardship License is now called a Specialized Driving Privilege License (SDP License), and may be available to help you get back on the road legally, even if you are facing lengthy license suspensions.
Eligibility for a Specialized Driving Privilege License and Possible Outcomes
Previously referred to as a Hardship License, the laws for a Specialized Driving Privilege License allow a court to grant driving privileges to people with all types of suspensions, including those who may not have qualified before. (IC 9-30-16-3; IC 9-30-16-4). For example, a person who has been suspended as a habitual traffic violator may apply for driving privileges during the suspension period, or a driver suspended for excessive points or failing to provide proof of insurance may also qualify.
In order to apply for a Specialized Driving Privilege License, a person must first determine if they have a court ordered suspension or a BMV issued suspension. If a person has a court issued suspension, a petition must be filed in that court to request driving privileges. If a person has a BMV issued suspension, a petition must be filed in that person’s home county.
For example, if a client is a resident of Marion County and has a BMV issued license suspension for failing to file insurance but also has a court ordered license suspension out of a court in Hancock County, that person would have to obtain an order for Specialized Driving Privileges from the court in Marion County and the Hancock County court, requiring two separate petitions. However, if a person resides in the county where the court ordered suspension was issued, that person may file one petition in the court that issued the suspension for both the court issued suspension and the BMV issued suspension.
If a petition for specialized driving privileges is granted, the court can place any restriction on the driver’s license that it deems 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.
Additionally, until July 1, 2020, an order for Specialized Driving Privileges must be for a minimum of 180 days, regardless of the length of the underlying driver’s license suspension. After July 1, 2020, there will no longer be a minimum or maximum length that the court can imposed or order.
Chambers Law Office Can Help you Get Back on the Road – Legally!
Each case will will be different and every person will have to determine when and how to file a petition for a Specialized Driving Privilege License. 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.
Julie Chambers is a former deputy prosecutor for Marion County traffic court and has experience handling all types of traffic matters, including SDP petitions. If you have questions about applying for a specialized driving privilege license, contact Chambers Law Office today and let us help you get back on the road legally!