HARDSHIP LICENSE ATTORNEY IN LOUISIANA
There are many reasons why you might have your driver’s license suspended in Louisiana. One of the most common reasons is for a DUI conviction. For your first offense over the age of 21, the state will enact a driver’s license suspension for 90 days. For your second offense within five years of the first, the state will enact a driver’s license suspension for one year.
However, after 30 days of having a suspended license for your first offense, you may be eligible to receive what is called a hardship license. A hardship license is only available under special circumstances and allows you to “maintain the necessities of life.” These necessities include driving to work, receiving medical care, going to school, or going to the grocery store.
At the Law Offices of Michael J. Vergis, our criminal defense attorneys regularly handle Shreveport and Bossier City DWI charges and driver’s license suspensions. If we cannot get your driver’s license reinstated after a DUI suspension, we will use our knowledge and experience to help you obtain a hardship license. Our history of winning at trial is impressive, and we have an excellent reputation with judges, prosecutors, and court personnel all across the state of Louisiana. If you’ve been charged with a DWI and need to get a hardship license, Louisiana hardship license lawyer Michael J. Vergis is here to walk you through the application process.
What is a Class H (Hardship) License?
According to the Louisiana Department of Public Safety (LDPS), a hardship license is “a restricted driver’s license issued administratively in accordance with statutes or by order of the court to an application whose driving privileges are under suspension.” Basically, these licenses allow people to drive during license suspension periods in order to continue to make a living, acquire necessities, and support themselves or their family.
These licenses are often administered after certain violations or arrests, including a DWI, a school bus violation, and driving under suspension. After a DWI, refusal of DWI chemical test, or vehicle negligent injury, the LDPS may also require the installment of an ignition interlock device (IID) in your vehicle. An IID is a device that connects to your vehicle’s engine ignition system and conducts breath alcohol screenings prior to allowing ignition of the engine. It also prevents the vehicle from starting if it detects a blood alcohol level above a preset limit.
However, a habitual traffic offender with a bad driving record is not the only one who may need to get a hardship license, and not all violations that lead to a driver’s license suspension must relate to motor vehicles. Things like child support violations and nonpayment of income taxes may also result in a driver’s license suspension and the need to obtain a hardship license.
How Do I Apply for a Hardship License?
After 30 days of your driver’s license suspension, you may apply for a hardship license. You must show, however, that you need to drive in order to maintain and support your life.
To obtain a hardship license, you must first petition your parish’s district court. If there is a change in your court order, or if your driving needs change, you must petition the district court again. If and when the court approves your hardship license, your driving privileges will be reinstated, but you must always keep the license on your person and attached to your driver’s license when you operate motor vehicles.
If your suspension is the result of a DWI, DWI test refusal, vehicular negligent injury, or driving under suspension from an alcohol offense, you will also most likely need to install an IID in your vehicle. In many cases, you must prove that the device is in your vehicle before the courts will even approve your hardship license. Additionally, you must offer proof of insurance for the vehicle you intend to drive. Depending on the specifics of each situation, you may also be required to present medical documentation, a recommendation letter from Support Services, or a court order.
Is There a Fee for Hardship Licenses?
Yes, there will be a fee to obtain a hardship license and reinstate your driving privileges. The fees for hardship licenses depend largely on the reason for your suspension. These fees may include, but are not limited to:
- $60 reinstatement fees
- The cost of the license itself
- Court costs and attorney fees
- SR22 (high risk) insurance, liability insurance
- Any fines you may have incurred
The best way to make sure you cover all of your bases and meet the requirements for obtaining your hardship license is to hire an experienced hardship license lawyer. Michael J. Vergis has years of experience helping clients in Northwest Louisiana fight their DWI cases and license suspension. Don’t end up stuck without a license. Call (318) 698-3724 for more information about your hardship license application.
Who is Ineligible for Hardship Licenses?
Currently, only holders of Class D and E licenses are eligible for hardship licenses. Commercial license holders are not. They may, however, petition for their license to be downgraded to a Class D or E license if they are otherwise eligible. In this case, they may receive approval for driving a non-commercial vehicle. Additionally, if someone has a suspended license from a state other than Louisiana and relocates here, they cannot receive a hardship driver’s license.
What Do I Do After I Have Been Approved for a Hardship License?
Once you receive approval for your hardship license, your driving privileges will be reinstated, but only after you receive the physical license. You must keep this license with you, attached to your driver’s license, anytime you drive. If your suspension resulted from a DWI, you must also install an IID in your vehicle. This will require you to blow into the machine each time before you start the car. Further, you must obtain SR22 (high risk) insurance, liability insurance, and pay all applicable fines or fees.
Where Can I Drive with a Hardship License?
With a hardship license, you may drive only to those places which allow you to maintain the necessities of life. These places may include your place of employment, school, the grocery store, or medical care facilities. The hardship license permits you only to drive on designated streets, and only during designated hours of the day. If a police officer stops you while you have a hardship license, they have the discretion to determine if your reason for driving is authorized or not.
Can Hardship Licenses Be Suspended or Revoked?
Yes. Common violations of hardship restrictions include car accidents, speeding, DWIs, removal of the IID, unauthorized driving, and improper passing. Upon violating a restriction, the state will impose a suspension on your hardship license which varies depending on the reason. Below, we explain two common instances of suspensions of hardship licenses:
- Drivers who refuse to take a DWI test must submit to a 6-month suspension without any license.
- If your hardship license resulted from a DWI, and you violate one of the restrictions, you will incur a one-year suspension. This is in addition to any others you have.
For individuals accused of violating your hardship restrictions in Louisiana, you need an experienced Bossier City criminal defense attorney as quickly as possible. The Law Offices of Michael J. Vergis are here to help you get back on your feet and back on the road.
Should You Hire a Hardship License Attorney?
Absolutely. A good hardship license attorney like Michael J. Vergis will fight to have your charges reduced or dismissed entirely and reinvoke your driving privileges after a license suspension. If Mr. Vergis cannot avoid a driver’s license suspension entirely, he will work to obtain a hardship license for you so that you are still able to support yourself and your wellbeing.
With years of experience defending those charged with a DWI and other violations that may result in a driver’s license suspension, Michael J. Vergis knows all the ins and outs on how to fight your case. The status of your driving record is crucial. Explore your legal options with us, and call our office at (318) 698-3724 today, or visit our website.