What Is a Hardship Driver’s License?
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Depending on what state, you may qualify to apply for a hardship license. Another name for this type of license is Cinderella or work license. In other states, it’s often referred to as a hardship permit or a restricted learner’s permit.
These types of licenses are usually available for Habitual Traffic Offenders (HTO) and drivers who had their licenses suspended while operating under the influence of liquor or drugs.
Not all states offer these types of licenses to teen drivers. Restrictions may apply to such a license in rural states. Under normal circumstances, a hardship license is available to those who are 14 or 15 years old, are too young to apply for a driver’s license, and who qualify for a hardship status.
Hardship License Requirements
The requirements for this license vary by state. In general, you need to have a driver’s license to drive to and from school. There may be a mileage minimum attached to this requirement.
For example, in the state of Massachusetts, you may receive a hardship license to drive to school, work, or medical appointments only. You will also have to drive within the authorized 12-hour period. There is no restriction on where you can drive, though.
Hardship License Restrictions for Teenage Drivers
A hardship license is different from a driver’s license since you can’t go where you please. Some of the following restrictions may apply:
- Valid only for pre-authorized locations (i.e. work or school)
- Passengers can only be family members
- Mileage limitation
- Operate during the authorized 12-hour period
Hardship License After a DUI
A driver who has a DUI conviction can lose his or her driving privileges. In the state of Massachusetts, individuals can continue driving under limited conditions if they receive a hardship license.
An individual who has caused injury, death, or damage due to drinking and driving will not receive a hardship license. This license may be granted to an individual with the following offenses:
- First Offense (24D)
- Multiple Offense OUI
- Drug Offense (94C)
- Habitual Traffic Offender
Applying for a Hardship License
To apply for a hardship license, you must go to a select RMV hearing site. You should also bring the necessary documents with you when you attend a meeting with a hearings officer. In general, you must have one of the following reasons for applying for the license:
- Require a license to drive to and from school.
- Need a license to drive to and from work.
- Require a hardship license to work for your parent’s business.
- Need a license for medical reasons. In this case, however, routine medical appointments do not qualify.
The requirements that must be met to be eligible for a hardship license depends on whether you received a first offense, multiple offense OUI, drug offense, or habitual traffic offender license.
The RMV hearings officer may require more information after receiving your documentation. If you are missing certain documentation, you will need to return to the RMV hearings officer. Though you may meet the requirements, a hardship license is issued based on the facts of the case.
Upon approval for a hardship license, you must surrender your physical driver’s license. You will have the H Restriction added to your current driver’s license or record. You must return to an RMV hearings officer before or the day that your hardship license expires.
If the hearings officer approves your reinstatement, the H Restriction would be removed, and you will receive a replacement license.
Hardship License Guarantee
Hardship licenses are not a guarantee in the state of Massachusetts. The Registry of Motor Vehicles and the Board of Appeals take great effort in determining whether to grant this license. The Registry issues 3,500 hardship licenses each year.
Though there are no guarantees, having a criminal defense lawyer to prepare and present your case could increase your chances of getting a hardship license. On the other end, it could increase your chances of getting denied one. He or she should present your case to the Registry or Board of Appeal.
A trusted and qualified attorney should be familiar with the Board of Appeal and the Registry of Motor Vehicles. He or she should also be familiar with the laws surrounding hardship licenses.
A qualified OUI defense lawyer may assist individuals who are fearing the loss of their driver’s license. You should speak with one to determine the offense of your crime as well as the application process for a hardship license.
If you are found driving outside the hours of your Massachusetts Hardship License, you will receive a citation. It depends if you were charged with the crime of operating under suspension after your license was revoked for driving under the influence, which results in one year of prison. You could also receive a less severe offense called unlicensed operation.