Hardship license

A hardship driver’s license is an option for some drivers as an alternative to having a suspended driver’s license after a drunk driving conviction. Drivers with a hardship license can drive with limitations, while drivers with a suspended license are not able to legally drive at all.

Typical requirements of a hardship license include limits on where and when the driver can operate a vehicle along with installing a car breathalyzer like Intoxalock.

Restrictions in some states may limit  you to only driving a certain number of hours per week, driving in certain counties or municipalities, or driving to and from places like work, school/college/university, church, substance abuse education counseling or courses, medical appointments and places necessary to the maintenance of a household (grocery store, gas station, pharmacy, laundromat, etc.).

This means a driver on a hardship license typically may not drive to social or recreational gatherings or operate a commercial vehicle.

The process for hardship licenses is different in each state. Typically, hardship licenses are granted by a state administrative agency or a court on a case-by-case basis and are not available in all states. If you break any of the hardship license guidelines set by your state, you’ll likely incur more fines, lose your driving privileges altogether, spend additional time with an IID requirement and/or risk potential jail time.

A restricted/ conditional/ occupational license is effectively the exact same thing as a hardship license — they are a limited driver’s license granted on a case-by-case basis after an application for drivers with suspended or revoked licenses. The only difference is the name.

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