Washington Drivers License Hardship Law

Drivers Hardship License Law – General – Washington

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

Yes, an occupational license may be isssued under ยง 46-20-380 et seq. An occupational driver’s license issued to an applicant shall be valid for the period of the suspension or revocation but not more than two years.

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

No, a person must file an application for an occupational license with the Department of Licensing (DOL). A person denied by the decision of the department on the application for an occupational driver’s license may request a hearing as provided by rule of the department.

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

An applicant for an occupational driver’s license is eligible to receive such license only if:

(a) Within one year immediately preceding the date of the offense that gave rise to the present conviction, the applicant has not committed any offense relating to motor vehicles for which suspension or revocation of a driver’s license is mandatory; and
(b) Within seven years immediately preceding the date of the offense that gave rise to the present conviction or incident, the applicant has not committed any of the following offenses: (i) Driving or being in actual physical control of a motor vehicle while under the influence of intoxicating liquor; (ii) vehicular homicide under RCW 46.61.520; or (iii) vehicular assault under RCW 46.61.522.

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

A person administratively suspended for failure to appear or pay a traffic ticket under RCW 46.20.289; a violation of the financial responsibility laws under chapter 46.29 RCW; or for multiple violations within a specified period of time under RCW 46.20.291, may apply to the department for an occupational driver’s license if the applicant demonstrates to the satisfaction of the department that one of the following additional conditions are met:

(i) The applicant is in an apprenticeship program or an on-the-job training program for which a driver’s license is required;
(ii) The applicant presents evidence that he or she has applied for a position in an apprenticeship or on-the-job training program and the program has certified that a driver’s license is required to begin the program, provided that a license granted under this provision shall be in effect no longer than fourteen days;
(iii) The applicant is in a program that assists persons who are enrolled in a WorkFirst program pursuant to chapter 74.08A RCW to become gainfully employed and the program requires a driver’s license; or
(iv) The applicant is undergoing substance abuse treatment or is participating in meetings of a twelve-step group such as alcoholics anonymous.

If the suspension is for failure to respond, pay, or comply with a notice of traffic infraction or conviction, the applicant must enter into a payment plan with the court.

The department shall not issue an occupational driver’s license under (iv) of this section if the applicant is able to receive transit services sufficient to allow for the applicant’s participation in the programs referenced under (iv) of this section.

The applicant must show that he or she is engaged in an occupation or trade that makes it essential that he or she operate a motor vehicle and file satisfactory proof of financial responsibility under chapter 46.29 RCW.

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

No, but a previous mandatory suspension will make a person ineligible to receive an occupational license.

6. Can minors receive limited driving privileges?

Yes, minors under 21 convicted of an alcohol-related motor vehicle offense may apply for an occupational driving license.


Inside Washington Drivers License Hardship Law