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What Is a Restricted License?

Posted on March 30, 2021 in DUI

Driver’s license suspension is a common penalty assessed against someone who commits a traffic violation in Arizona, such as driving under the influence (DUI). If the offender needs his or her license to fulfill employment, education, or religious obligations, however, the courts may grant the offender a restricted or hardship license instead. This type of license allows the driver to only drive to certain places and/or at certain times. Read on to learn more and if you have additional questions regarding restricted licenses in Arizona, speak with a DUI lawyer in Scottsdale.

Definition of Restricted or Hardship License in Arizona

In Arizona, a restricted license is a driver’s license that permits the holder to operate a motor vehicle, but only under very specific terms and conditions. A restricted license controls when and/or where a motorist can drive.

A hardship license is a step down from a suspended license, which does not allow a driver to operate a motor vehicle at all for the allotted amount of time. A driver might have his or her license suspended in Arizona for committing a crime such as DUI, reckless driving, extreme speeding or accumulating too many points in a short period of time.

How Do You Get a Restricted License in Arizona?

A restricted license is a punishment intended to limit a driver’s ability to travel without fully barring the driver from driving to necessary places. Only certain drivers are eligible for hardship licenses in Arizona. If the driver can prove that not having a license would be a substantial hardship, he or she may qualify for a restricted license instead of a fully suspended license.

A substantial hardship can mean the driver has a necessity to travel to one or more of the following places:

  • Work
  • School
  • Religious institution
  • Hospital or doctor’s office
  • Counseling appointments
  • Drug or alcohol treatment center

Furthermore, the driver will have to show a judge that public transportation is not a viable option, such as through lack of disability accommodations or insufficient funds. Some states bar hardship licenses in cases involving serious crimes, such as hit-and-run accidents and vehicular manslaughter. Most also do not permit restricted licenses in cases that involve second or subsequent offenses.

Where Can You Drive on a Restricted License?

If a judge in Arizona grants a request for a hardship license, the driver may only drive to and from the approved places. If the judge also imposed time of day restrictions, the driver cannot operate a motor vehicle outside of the approved window. The driver may not be allowed to operate a motor vehicle at night, for example. If a driver needs to go someplace else, he or she will need to submit a request to a judge for approval first.

How Long Is a Restricted License in Arizona?

The length of time you will have to drive with a restricted license depends on your specific case. For committing a minor traffic violation, a judge may limit your driving privilege for 60 to 90 days. For more serious infractions or repeat offenses, however, you may end up with a hardship license for several months to a year or longer.

What Happens if You Violate a Restricted License?

If a driver violates the rules of a restricted license in Arizona, he or she could lose all driving privileges with a fully suspended or revoked license, as well as face other penalties. For example, the driver may have to pay extra for SR-22 high-risk car insurance for the next three years. The courts also do not give second chances; violating a restricted license generally means being unable to apply for another.

How an Attorney Can Help

If you are facing charges for any type of traffic violation or crime involving a motor vehicle, consult with a defense attorney right away. Hiring a skilled defense lawyer can help you avoid the most serious penalties for a conviction, such as jail time. Your attorney can negotiate with the courts for a positive outcome according to your needs, including negotiating a suspended license to a restricted license. If you have more questions about a hardship license in Arizona, contact Rosenstein Law Group to speak to a lawyer.

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