Indiana Drivers License Hardship Law


Drivers Hardship License Law – General – Indiana

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

Yes, IC 9-24-15 et seq. allows for hardship driving privileges for those with suspensions for refusal to submit to a chemical test or drug sales or possesssion. Also, IC 9-24-15-6.7 allows restricted driving permits to be issued when a driver whose driving license or permit is suspended under IC 9-25-6-19, IC 9-25-6-20, or IC 9-25-6-21 (financial responsibility offenses) proves to the satisfaction of the court that public transportation is unavailable for travel by the petitioner. Privileges may be allowed to drive :

(1) to and from the petitioner’s regular place of employment;
(2) in the course of the petitioner’s regular employment;
(3) to and from the petitioner’s place of worship; or
(4) to participate in visitation with the petitioner’s children consistent with a court order granting visitation

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

Yes, IC 9-24-15 et seq. provides for a court hearing.

Under IC 9-24-15-6, the court shall, after hearing the evidence upon a petition filed under this chapter and without any requests, make, sign, and file special finding of facts in writing. The court may do either of the following:

(1) Refuse to grant the petition.
(2) Make a final determination in the nature of a recommendation to the bureau that the petitioner be granted a restricted driving permit.

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

A habitual violator is not eligible for relief under the hardship provisions of IC 9-24-15. IC 9-30-10-13.

A prior DUI offense will make a person ineligible for hardship driving privileges.

Also, an individual may not receive a restricted driver’s license to operate a commercial motor vehicle if the individual’s driving privileges are suspended for an alcohol or drug violation under IC 9-30-5 or 49 C.F.R. ยง 391.15.

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

A person is not eligible for a restricted driving permit if there was a failure of an individual to file security or proof of financial responsibility following an accident as required by or upon the failure of any individual to satisfy a judgment for damages arising out of the use of a motor vehicle on a public highway as provided for in IC 9-25, or

(1) When suspension is by reason of:

(A) physical, mental, or emotional instability;
(B) having caused serious bodily injury to or the death of another person when operating a motor vehicle after knowingly or intentionally failing to take prescribed medication, the taking of which was a condition of the issuance of the operator’s restricted driver’s license; or
(C) the applicant has been convicted of involuntary manslaughter or reckless homicide as a result of an automobile accident.

(2) A suspension of the license of an applicant whose license has been previously suspended.
(3) A suspension of the license of an applicant who has failed to use timely appeal procedures provided by the bureau.
(4) After June 30, 2005, a suspension of the license of an applicant whose commercial driver’s license has been disqualified under 49 CFR 383.51 or other applicable federal or state law, including an alcohol or a controlled substance conviction under IC 9-30-5-4 or 49 CFR 391.15.

The petition for a restricted driving permit will be granted if one of the following conditions exist:

The court shall grant a petition for a restricted driving permit if all of the following conditions exist:

(1) The person was not convicted of one (1) or more of the following:

(A) A Class D felony under IC 9-30-5-4 before July 1, 1996, or a Class D felony or a Class C felony under IC 9-30-5-4 after June 30, 1996.
(B) A Class C felony under IC 9-30-5-5 before July 1, 1996, or a Class C felony or a Class B felony under IC 9-30-5-5 after June 30, 1996.

(2) The person’s driving privileges were suspended under IC 9-30-6-9(b) or IC 35-48-4-15.
(3) The driving that was the basis of the suspension was not in connection with the person’s work.
(4) The person does not have a previous conviction for operating while intoxicated.
(5) The person is participating in a rehabilitation program certified by either the division of mental health and addiction or the Indiana judicial center as a condition of the person’s probation.

The process for restoration of driving privileges begins with the filing of a Petition. The Petition presupposes the applicant can show proof of compliance with the financial responsibility laws (insurance), all orders of the court, and has sufficient need for the limited or restricted license as to qualify the loss of their driving privileges as a hardship on the Petitioner’s family.

A person may petition the court for restricted driving privilieges if:

(1) an individual’s driving license has been suspended under Indiana motor vehicle law; and
(2) because of the nature of the individual’s employment the suspension would work an undue hardship and burden upon the individual’s family or dependents;
the individual may file a verified petition for a restricted driving permit for the sole purpose of driving to and from work and in the course of employment during the period of the driving license suspension.

In a petition for restricted driving permit under IC 9-24-15-4

(a) A verified petition filed under section 2 of this chapter must be filed in the circuit court of the county in which the petitioner resides.
(b) The clerk of the circuit court shall docket the verified petition in the name of the petitioner against the prosecuting attorney of the county.
(c) The prosecuting attorney shall appear in person or by deputy and be heard by the court on the petition.
(d) The bureau:

(1) serves as a recordkeeper; and
(2) is not a party; in a proceeding under this chapter.

A minimum suspension time of 30 days must be served before a restricted driving permit will be effective.

5. Can minors receive limited driving privileges?

IC 9-24-2-4 states that if a person is less than eighteen (18) years of age and is a habitual truant, is under a suspension or an expulsion or has withdrawn from school as described in section 1 of this chapter, the bureau shall, upon notification by the person’s principal, invalidate the person’s license or permit. A person whose license or permit is invalidated under this section may apply for a restricted driving permit under IC 9-24-15.