Driving On A DUI Hardship License: How To Remain Trouble-Free

If you’ve been granted a hardship license after a DUI conviction, there are some things that you need to do, in order to remain trouble-free on the road. Learn more.

Understand the limitations of your license.

Depending on where you live, a hardship license might also be called a day license, a work license, or a Cinderella license. What you are allowed to use the license for can vary greatly, so you need to understand exactly what your hardship license allows you to do.

Ask your attorney to carefully explain the limitations of your license. Depending on your situation, some things that you might want to remember to ask your attorney include:

  • Are you allowed to drive back and forth from school, as well as work?
  • Are you allowed to drive to the drugstore or grocery store?
  • Are you allowed to drive your children to school or daycare?
  • Are you allowed to drive to the doctor’s office, or take a relative who depends on you (like a child or a parent) to the doctor’s office?
  • Are you allowed to drive to a hospital if a relative is injured or sick?
  • If you normally share the car ride to work with someone, can you continue to do so, if that means driving to his or her workplace before heading to your own?
  • Does you license prevent you from driving, for any reason, during certain hours?

Realize that you could be stopped for any reason.

In several states, if you receive a DUI hardship license, you are also issued what’s often called “party plates,” or special DUI license plates for your car. If you have them, you need to realize that you are absolutely going to attract the attention of every police car you pass.

Even if you don’t live in a state that requires you to use different plates, you could still get pulled over for any number of reasons, including a burned out tail-light. 

If you do get pulled over, you can expect that the officer is going to ask if you are on the road for a legitimate reason.

Don’t open yourself up to more problems.

Even the most lenient of hardship licenses prohibit you from driving for the purposes of pleasure or entertainment. Some examples of what can be considered “pleasure or entertainment” include picking up a carry-out order for dinner, even if you pass right by the restaurant on your way home from work.

Under the law, picking up a carry-out dinner is no different than going out to a restaurant for dinner and drinks while using a hardship license.

Either way, you could be arrested, have your car impounded, fined, serve jail time, or have your license revoked for violating the terms of your hardship license.

Take a few steps to reduce the officer’s suspicions that you are driving for an unauthorized reason.

It will be easier on you if you just don’t raise any suspicions about why you are driving. Use these tips:

  • Be prepared to explain why you are driving, where you have been, and where you are going.
  • If you are driving to and from work, have the name and phone number of your supervisor ready to give to the officer. If possible, have a copy of your work schedule with you.
  • If you are driving back and forth to school, have a copy of your class schedule handy.
  • If you have a medical appointment, make sure that you have an appointment card ready to hand to the officer, or at least have your doctor’s name and business number handy.
  • Be dressed appropriately. If you have a work uniform, wear it when you are heading to and from work, even if you usually change at the job site. If you’re a student, don’t dress like you’re heading to a party. Having the right—or wrong—clothing on can affect how the officer sees you.
  • Don’t drive at night. In some states, your license will have a curfew built into it. In other states, it won’t, but try not to drive at night anyhow. It raises suspicions that you’re doing something that you shouldn’t.
  • Don’t give the police any reason to pull you over. Make sure that your turn signals, tail lights, and muffler are all in good working order. Do not glide through stop signs, and don’t speed. Don’t rush through yellow traffic lights, either.

It’s difficult to work your way back to normal once you’ve been convicted of a DUI. Understanding your situation and doing what you can to prevent any further problems is the first step in the right direction. You can talk to your DUI lawyer for more information.

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