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.