Being arrested and charged with driving under the influence (DUI) can be a shock. One minute you're driving along and enjoying your freedom and the next you are behind bars. After an arrest, most suspects find out that they are not permitted to drive again until their case is resolved. To find out how you might be able to drive on a limited basis, read on.
Understand The Ramifications
You may be technically innocent until proven guilty but you will still endure several forms of punishment regardless of the outcome of your DUI case. As if being jailed were not enough, you might also have your driving privileges revoked immediately. The government agency that oversees driving and licensing is a separate entity from the justice system and you will be dealing with both of these organizations after a DUI arrest. Each state is different but many departments of motor vehicles will suspend the defendant's driving privileges pending a resolution of either a guilty plea or a court case.
Obtaining a Hardship License
The way things go after a DUI arrest depends a great deal on the circumstances of the arrest. Not all DUI cases are treated equally and the defendant's ability to be issued a temporary hardship license depends on several factors like:
- The defendant's record. Past DUI arrests may make it more challenging to be approved for a hardship license.
- The charges. If the defendant has additional issues, it might lead to an aggravated DUI and that might bump things up to a felony. If so, driving again is unlikely.
- The circumstances of the arrest. Other issues can increase the counts, charges, and seriousness of the situation. That might mean the defendant interfered with the arrest, refused to perform field sobriety tests or use a breathalyzer, led police on a chase, or injured others in an accident. Any extenuating circumstance will make it harder to get a hardship license.
Other Points to Understand
- You must request a hardship license, apply for it, and be approved for it – it doesn't happen automatically. The judge will decide if you merit a license by reviewing the arrest, your record, and why you need to have one. You might need to show that you take your children to school or have a job in order to show need.
- Hardship licenses are more expensive than other types of licenses and you can only drive during certain hours, days, and to certain places. Sometimes, the judge will only approve a hardship license in conjunction with an ignition interlock system.
- It's vital to get legal representation from a criminal lawyer who practices DUI law. Hardship licenses are not a given and your case could rest on having legal help so speak to a lawyer immediately after being released from jail.