Drivers Hardship License Law – General – Pennsylvania
1. Does the agency (motor vehicle/DOT) law provide for hardship licenses?
Yes. 75 Pa.C.S.A. § 1553 provides for issuing a limited occupational icense for suspended drivers. Also, 75 Pa.C.S.A. § 3805 allows limited driving privileges for employment purposes for people required to install an ignition interlock device (IID).
An Occupational Limited License (OLL) is a limited driver’s license issued to a driver whose Pennsylvania driving privilege has been suspended. If your driving privilege has been revoked, disqualified, cancelled or recalled, you are not eligible for an OLL. If you have never been licensed by this or any other state, you are also ineligible to apply. An OLL authorizes driving a designated motor vehicle, under certain conditions, only when it is necessary for the driver’s occupation, work, trade, medical treatment or study.
You may be issued only one OLL every five (5) years.
2. Is an agency hearing required before a hardship license is issued?
No. Within 20 days of receiving your Petition, the Department will inform you in writing whether or not you qualify for an OLL. If your Petition is not received and approved before your suspension starts, you must return your current driver’s license to the Department and pay a restoration fee before an OLL will be issued.
If your Petition is received and approved, but the OLL has not been issued before your suspension begins, the Department will delay the start of your suspension for 15 days. They will issue an approval letter and a temporary license that is valid until the new suspension start date. Credit toward your suspension will begin upon the new effective date or later. During this 15 day delay, you need to send your current driver’s license, by certified mail, to the address shown on the bottom of the Petition.
3. Do prior offenses prevent me from obtaining a occupational limited license?
If you are currently, or about to be suspended for any of these violations, you are not eligible for an OLL.
3345 – Passing a School Bus
3367 – Racing on Highways
3732 – Homicide by Vehicle
3733 – Fleeing a Police Officer
3734 – Driving Without Lights
3735 – Homicide by Vehicle/DUI
3736 – Reckless Driving
3742 – Accidents Involving Death or Injury
3743 – Leaving Scene of an Accident
3802 – Driving Under the Influence (unless you are a first offender and have served 6 months of the suspension period).
(exceptions see below)
1533 or 6146 – Failure to Respond to a Citation
1543 – Driving while Suspended (unless your driving record shows that this suspension occurred only as a result of a prior indefinite suspension due to an unpaid citation or non-payment of a judgement, failure to attend a Departmental hearing or failure to undergo a Special Point Examination, you may be eligible. However, you may not apply for the OLL until three (3) months have been served for the suspension for driving while under suspension.)
1547 – Refusal to Submit to Chemical Testing (unless you have no more than one prior offense, have served 12 months of an 18 month suspension and have satisfied all restoration requirements, and have ignition interlock installed on your vehicle.
1786 – Failure to Maintain Financial Responsibility
ARD Ordered Suspension for DUI
Controlled Substance, Drug, Device and Cosmetic Act Violations
Underage Alcohol Violations (unless it is a first offense)
Any Serious Traffic Offense
Any Violations Relating to Accidents and Accident Reports
4. What are the requirements for getting a hardship license?
(1) The applicant for an occupational limited license must file a petition with the department, by certified mail, setting forth in detail the need for operating a motor vehicle. This petition is called Occupational Limited License Petition (form DL-15). The petition shall include an explanation as to why the operation of a motor vehicle is essential to the petitioner’s occupation, work, trade, treatment or study. The petition shall identify the petitioner’s employer, educational institution or treatment facility, as appropriate, and shall include proof of financial responsibility covering all vehicles which the petitioner requests to be allowed to operate.
(2) The petitioner shall surrender his driver’s license in accordance with section 1540 (dealing with surrender of license).
(3) A $50 fee must be paid.
(4) Send the form, along with a check or money order, proof of insurance (copies only) and Restoration Fee if not previously paid by mail to the Department.
5. Can minors receive limited driving privileges?
Yes, if the requirements are otherwise met, minors are eligible for an OLL.
6. Can the OLL be extended?
Maybe. If you are only convicted of a point related violation, the Department will notify you and send you the application to extend your OLL.
7. What happens if I commit a violation while driving on an OLL?
If you are convicted of an offense for which the penalty is a cancellation, disqualification, recall, suspension, or revocation of your driving privilege, the Department will recall your OLL and you must surrender the OLL to the Department.
8. Can I take any action in the event that my OLL is recalled or my request is denied?
Yes. You may file with the Department a petition for an Administrative Hearing accompanied by a non-refundable processing fee of $100.00. Additional information regarding this filing process will be provided upon request. “Hardship or extraordinary medical circumstances do not qualify you to receive an OLL.”