California Drivers License Hardship Law


Drivers Hardship License Law – General – California

1. Does the agency (motor vehicle/DOT) law provide for hardship licenses?

If your license has been taken as a result of a drunk driving (dui) conviction or as a result of having refused to take a breath or blood test, or having failed such a test, you may wish to inquire about your eligibility for a business or hardship license. These restricted licenses are provided by the Drivers License Bureau.

If you have already been convicted of drunk driving (DUI) by a judge and your license has been suspended or revoked, you should ask the judge to provide you with what is commonly called a “green order” (based on the color of the paper). This authorizes the Drivers License Bureau to provide you with a hardship license if you qualify.

If the Drivers License Bureau does not believe you qualify for a hardship or business permit they may deny you one even if the judge provides you with a green order. If you have not been convicted of the crime but your license has been taken from you because you refused to take the blood or breath test or failed the test, you are still eligible for a business purposes-only license.

2. Is an agency hearing required before a hardship license is issued?

No. A request for a restricted license cannot be considered at the DMV hearing. You may apply for a restricted license to drive to and from work at any DMV field office.

3. Do prior offenses prevent me from obtaining a hardship license?

Under MVC §13355, dealing with speeding suspensions, if there’s a previous speeding offense within past 3 years,you may get restricted license for job purposes for 6 months- or 1 year if you have 2 speeding convictions in the past 5 years.

MVC §13353.8 provides that the court may review the order and may impose restriction on the person’s privilege to drive based upon a showing of a critical need to drive, if the department determines that, within seven years of the current violation of Section 23136 (minor w/ alcohol offense), the person has not violated Section 23136

MVC §13353.7 allows a vehicle which has not been suspended or revoked pursuant to Section 13353 or 13353.2 for a DUI offense which occurred on a separate occasion within seven years of the occasion in question and, if the person subsequently enrolls in a program described in Section 11837.3 of the Health and Safety Code, pursuant to subdivision (b) of Section 23538, that person, if 21 years of age or older at the time the offense occurred, may apply to the department for a restricted driver’s license limited to travel to and from the activities required by the program or to and from and in the course of the person’s employment, or both.

A person seeking restricted driving privileges under MVC § 13353.6 for a restricted commercial driver’s license must have no prior  reckless driving or DUI offenses.

4. What are the requirements for getting a hardship license?

If you were convicted in court of the DUI charge, you may get a restricted license. If you have a non-commercial driver license and you show proof of enrollment in a DUI treatment program, file proof of financial responsibility and pay (on or after January 1, 2003) a $125 reissue fee after a mandatory 30-day suspension, you may request a restricted license to drive to and from the DUI treatment program and/or to, from, and during work. The reissue fee remains at $100 if you were under age 21 and were suspended under the Zero Tolerance Law pursuant to Vehicle Code §§23136, 13353.1, 13388, 13392.

Under MVC §12513, the application for a junior permit shall be accompanied by a signed statement from the school principal verifying inadequacy of school transportation to attend school activities, or signed statement from a physician familiar with the condition, containing a diagnosis and probable date when sufficient recovery will have been made to terminate the family illness emergency. Also,an application may contain a written statement from a parent or guardian verifying the need to drive to a job necessary to the family’s support in writing.

Under MVC § 13352 et seq., instead of suspending the person’s driving privilege, the department shall issue a restricted license upon receipt of an abstract of record from the court certifying that the court has granted probation to the person based on the conditions specified in paragraph (2) of subdivision (a) of, and subdivision (b) of, Section 23538. Or, after completion of a certain length of the suspension period, deprending on the sentence, the person may apply to the department for a restricted driver’s license, subject to the following conditions:

(A) The person has satisfactorily provided, subsequent to the current underlying conviction, either of the following:

(i) Proof of enrollment in an 18-month driving-under-the-influence program licensed pursuant to Section 11836 of the Health and Safety Code.
(ii) Proof of enrollment in a 30-month driving-under-the-influence program licensed pursuant to Section 11836 of the Health and Safety Code, if available in the county of the person’s residence or employment.

(B) The person agrees, as a condition of the restriction, to continue satisfactory participation in the program described in subparagraph (A).
(C) The person submits the “Verification of Installation” form described in paragraph (2) of subdivision (e) of Section 13386.
(D) The person agrees to maintain the ignition interlock device as required under subdivision (g) of Section 23575.
(E) The person provides proof of financial responsibility, as defined in Section 16430.
(F) The person pays all administrative fees or reissue fees and any restriction fee required by the department.

Restricted licenses issued under 13352.5 require a person charged with a DUI offense and granted probation to:

(1) Submit proof of enrollment in, or completion of, a driving-under-the-influence program licensed pursuant to Section 11836 of the Health and Safety Code, as described in paragraph (4) of subdivision (b) of Section 23542.
(2) Submis proof of financial responsibility, as described in Section 16430.
(3) Pay all applicable reinstatement or reissue fees and any restriction fee required by the department.

5. Does a lifetime or mandatory revocation make you ineligible for restricted driving privileges?

No, but 13353.7 provides restricted driving rights may be operative only so long as a one-year suspension of the driving privilege for a second or subsequent occurrence or offense, with no restricted or hardship licenses permitted, is required by Section 408 or 410 of Title 23 of the United States Code

6. Can minors receive limited driving privileges?

Yes, a person under 21 may seek the issuance of a junior permit pursuant to Section 12513. It allows limited permits for 14-18 year olds for:

(1) school transportation- driver needs to show inadequate school transportation to attend,
(2) necessary transportation to and from the employment of the applicant or
(3) need due to family illness.