NY Suspended License

Obtaining a Restricted License When Your Driver’s License is Suspended

Published by 19 Comments

If you have a suspended license in New York, you may be able to obtain a restricted license (sometimes called a hardship license or restricted use license).

A restricted license is usually issued to a person who petitions a New York court and asserts that it would create an undue hardship for him not to be allowed to drive.

Many times this involves a person explaining that he would lose his job if he could not drive and that his livelihood depends on keeping his license.

How Do I Obtain a Restricted License (Hardship License)?

Under VTL 530, a driver whose license was suspended may petition the court to be issued a restricted license (hardship license) under certain circumstances.

In order to get a New York hardship license for work purposes, you need to be able to prove all of the following:

  • The suspension will deprive you of your livelihood
  • This deprivation will create an unwarranted and major financial hardship
  • This financial hardship applies both for you as the applicant and to your immediate family

To prove these, you will need to provide concrete evidence for why someone else cannot get you to and from work. In NYC—where taxi cabs and buses are pretty much everywhere—this can be quite tough to establish without the assistance of a skilled traffic attorney.

Even in New York State it can be difficult to convince a judge that your wife, older kids, or siblings are unable to take you to work. This is why it is vital to hire a New York traffic ticket attorney who has experience getting restricted licenses issued to his clients.

Some of the main factors that are considered when determining whether to issue a hardship license in NY are:

  • The ability of others to drive you
  • The amount of licensed drivers in your home
  • The location of your workplace
  • Your ability to afford public transportation
  • Your current employment situation
  • Your health and medical condition
  • Your occupation

Remember, if you are issued a restricted license in New York, you will only be allowed to drive to and from work or other locations directly specified by the court.

Who is Eligible for a Restricted License (Hardship License)?

According to the New York Department of Motor Vehicles:

  • “The DMV can issue a restricted use license to a driver who qualifies and whose license is suspended or revoked because of violations or incidents that are not alcohol or drug-related, or because of some drug-related violations.”

The DMV then provides the following main reasons why a driver does not qualify for a restricted use license:

  • You do not have a valid NYS license or a NYS license that can be renewed
  • Your license was suspended for a period of 30 or fewer days
  • The judge suspended your license based on the authority of the judge under the law (i.e. permissive suspension)
  • You had another restricted license in the last three years
  • You have a suspension that you can end through your own action (e.g. you did not respond to a traffic ticket, you did not pay a fine, or you did not file an accident report)

Lastly, if you are an out-of-state driver whose ability to drive in New York was suspended (and you meet all the other requirements), you will be entitled to apply for and receive a conditional or restricted driving privilege.


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This post was written by Adam H. Rosenblum Esq.

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  • Anthony Thompson
    June 26, 2019

    I haven’t been able to take care of my suspension for my NY license but I will be moving to NC soon and will definitely need license there to be able to get to and from work. Am I able to get restricted license in NC until I can fix my NY license.

    • Ronen Cohen
      August 6, 2019

      Hello Anthony, and thank you for contacting us. Unfortunately, we are not licensed in NC, and thus cannot advise you on your options. We suggest you contact an attorney there that can answer any questions you may have.

  • Ernest
    May 21, 2019

    I am immigrant in New York , i have NY DL which I get when I was still legally on tourist visa … but now I am overstayed and my DL is suspended on 120 days because of phone … how can I pay suspension fees and apply for restricted DL ??? Is it possible?

    • Ronen Cohen
      May 30, 2019

      Hello Ernest, and thank you for your question.
      We recommend contacting your DMV regarding your Driver’s License, they
      will be able to give you more information.

  • Junequa Stokely
    February 7, 2019

    I had insured and registered a car under my name for my sister and she failed to keep up with insurance and because she was holding on to the plates for the past 3 months I finally got a hold of the license plates and handed them in now my license is suspended for 110 days will I be able to get a restricted license because I am in the process of trying to get of job

    • Ronen Cohen
      February 18, 2019

      Hello Junequa and thank for your question. I would suggest contacting your DMV office as they can better answer your question.

  • Victoria A Woods
    September 21, 2018

    I have a new york state linsence but i moved to Atlanta my lincence is suspend and revoked can i apply for the restricted linsence in new york state

    • Ronen Cohen
      September 23, 2018

      Victoria – I suggest contacting the NY DMV for instructions on obtaining a restricted license.

  • Tina Grehan
    August 13, 2018

    I have a suspended license due to a laps in insurance, the plates to the car are missing so I went and got the form from the police station and need to turn it into the DMV. I was told to pay the $50.00 penalty but because the laps has been over the 90 days (it’s been 271 days) my license would remain suspended for the next 271 days.

    Now I am moving back to Massachusetts, would I be able to get my license in Massachusetts or will this hold me back from doing so?

    Also. I thought there would be a civil penalty that I could pay to lift both the suspension on the car and my license?

    Would I be able to get a restricted license?

    • Ronen Cohen
      August 30, 2018

      The suspension would generally transfer to your home state. I suggest contacting the DMV directly for answers to these questions.

  • Bryan schechter
    November 2, 2017

    I got a dwi in Lakewood, nj. I’m my mothers caregiver taking her to doctors. I have a New York license. Can I get a restricted license.

  • Cono
    June 12, 2017

    My license was revoked in NYC for driving without insurance I am eligible for a restricted license however I’m moving to Pennsylvania will I be able to drive there to and from work with a ny restricted license

    • RLF Attorneys
      June 14, 2017

      Cono – As we are not licensed in PA, I suggest you contact their DMV and inquire as to their rules.

  • henry
    March 27, 2017

    I got suspended licence in new york, but Im new jersey licence holder, because DUI, Im working in new york night shift, I cant use public transportation, is anyway I can get restricted licence my licence is suspended for 90 days

    • RLF Attorneys
      March 31, 2017

      Henry – I suggest you contact the NY DMV to discuss restricted licenses.

  • Randy
    November 5, 2016

    I got out of state license but I have my kids and mother that depends on me in NYC and one cop gave me ten tickets one time n same month. I was incarcerated for a year came home n I owe dmv over 10 thousand but my license is valid in all states expect NY I need help asap can someone help me

    • RLF Attorneys
      November 7, 2016

      Due to the complexity of your situation, I suggest that you contact us to discuss in further detail. Generally speaking, however, license suspensions transfer between the states. It is therefore imperative that you resolve any outstanding violations in NY.

  • Paul Rodriguez
    January 13, 2016

    I’ve been destroyed by Child Support. Being an honest father. I opened a case in my own so that I may see my child. But this proved to only be my demise. Causing me to receive a judgment for payments I couldn’t possible make without being homeless. 203.00 weekly. Now 253.00 to satisfy arrears. I’ve been struggling with off the books jobs where I’m taken advantage off. I can’t take it knowing a have a B class license. I’m now in the process of trying to clear up my license. But I’ve gotten in trouble for trying to cab a few times that has led me to be arrested for unlicensed driving almost immidiately. I want my life back. I have a great opportunity to get my own car and make real money to get me out of my hole for a change. But I want to make sure that my investment in my license won’t be for nought. Please enlighten me before I do something unthinkable like becoming a citizen of Brazil!

    • Adam Rosenblum
      February 4, 2016

      Hello Paul, we are very sorry to hear about your situation. You should contact our office for a free consultation to see what kind of information we can offer you about how to clear up your license. We can be reached at 888-883-5529.