There are many reasons why you might have your driver’s license suspended in Louisiana. One of the most common reasons is a DWI violation. For your first offense over the age of 21, the state will suspend your license for 90 days. For your second offense within five years of the first, the state will suspend your license for one year.

After 30 days of suspension for your first offense, you may be eligible to receive a hardship license. This special circumstances license will allow you to “maintain the necessities of life.” These include driving to work, receiving medical care, going to school, or going to the grocery store. At the Law Offices of Michael J. Vergis, we regularly handle DWI cases and license suspensions. Our history of winning at trial is impressive. We have an excellent reputation with judges, prosecutors, and court personnel all across the state. If you’ve been charged with a DWI and need a hardship license, we’re 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 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 suspension periods in order to make a living or to acquire necessities. 

These licenses are often administered after certain violations or arrests, including a DWI, a school bus violation, child support violations, driving under suspension, or nonpayment of income taxes. After a DWI, refusal of DWI chemical test, or vehicle negligent injury, the LDPS will require the installment of an ignition interlocking device (IID) in your vehicle. 

An IID is a device which connects to your vehicle’s engine ignition system. It 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. 

After 30 days of suspension, you can apply for a hardship license. You must show, however, that you need to drive in order to maintain your life. To obtain the hardship license, you must 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. When the court approves your hardship license, you must always keep it on your person and attached to your driver’s license when you drive.


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 most likely be required to install an IID in your vehicle. You must prove that the device is in your vehicle before the courts will approve your hardship license. Additionally, you must offer up 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 your court order.

The fees for hardship licenses depend largely on the reason for your suspension. These fees include, but are not limited to:

  • $60 reinstatement fees
  • The cost of the license itself
  • Court costs
  • SR22 (high risk) insurance, liability insurance
  • Any fines you 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 attorney. Michael J. Vergis has years of experience helping clients in Louisiana fight their DWI cases. Don’t end up stuck without a license. Call (318) 698-3724 for more information about your hardship license application.

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 license. 

Once you receive approval for your hardship license, you must keep the 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. Offer SR22 (high risk) insurance, liability insurance, and pay all applicable fines or fees. 

With a hardship license, you may drive only to those places which allow you to maintain the necessities of life. These places 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.

Yes. Common violations of hardship restrictions include car accidents, speeding, DWIs, removal of the IID, and improper passing. Upon violating a restriction, the state will impose a suspension on your license which varies depending on the reason. Below, we explain two common 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.

Individuals accused of violating your hardship restrictions, you need an experienced Louisiana DWI 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 in Shreveport will fight to have your charges reduced or dismissed entirely. With years of experience defending those charged with a DWI, 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.