Has your Indiana driver’s license been suspended? Having trouble making arrangements to get back and forth to work or take care of your children with a suspended license? Under current Indiana law, drivers can petition to receive “specialized driving privileges,” previously known as a hardship license or probationary license. In most situations, “specialized driving privileges” won’t be the same as full driving rights, but the privileges may allow you to drive to work, handle child care commitments, drive to doctor’s appointments, and attend court ordered therapy sessions.
What Types of Suspensions Apply?
Whether you license has been suspended by the Indiana BMV on administrative grounds or by an Indiana county court, you may qualify for “specialized driving privileges.” Indiana law now provides a single path for relief from either type of suspension.
Who may (and may not) apply for Specialized Driving Privileges?
Indiana law (see IC 9-30-16) is expansive on who may apply for “specialized driving privileges.” Indiana law allows all persons to petition an Indiana court for privileges, with the following exceptions:
A person who has never had a valid Indiana Driver’s license;
A person who holds a commercial driver’s license;
A person who has refused to submit to a chemical test (see IC 9-30-6) and is currently serving that suspension; and,
A person who has been convicted of an offense that includes causing death to another while operating a motor vehicle.
Where can I drive with Specialized Driving Privileges?
First off, you need to know that “specialized driving privileges,” if granted, are at the discretion of an Indiana county judge. A judge will review your petition for “specialized driving privileges” (and potential arguments from a county prosecutor or the Indiana BMV) and issue an order either granting or denying your request. If your request is granted, it is typical that the judge would limit your driving to the following activities (so it is not a blanket or unrestricted license):
You may be able to drive to and from work (possibly allowed stops along the way for grocery or pharmacy stops);
You may be able to drive to handle childcare or other family obligations;
You may be able to drive to attend medical or legal appointments; and,
You may be able to drive to attend court ordered appointments like group therapy or AA.
Additionally, the judge may also limit your driving to certain hours of the day and may also require you to install an interlock device in your car. At the end of the day, “specialized driving privileges” are granted by a judge who will review your petition and determine any limitations or conditions on your driving.
How do I petition a court for Specialized Driving Privileges?
As it is a judge at the end of the day who grants or denies “specialized driving privileges,” any petitions must be filed with the court. If you are requesting privileges in a pending case (for example, you are currently suspended due to a pending DUI arrest), you would file a petition with the court that is hearing your case. However, if your suspension was issued by the BMV administratively, then you would need to file your petition in the county clerk’s office the same as you would the filing of a lawsuit or other petition – there will probably be a filing fee to open a new case with the court.
Indiana law requires that your petition include the following:
The petition must be signed and verified by the person seeking privileges;
The petition must state the age, date of birth, and current address of the person seeking privileges;
The petition must state the grounds for relief and the relief sought, or to put it another way, the person seeking privileges needs to tell the court why they need to be able to drive;
The petition must be filed in the county in which the person seeking privileges resides;
The petition must be filed in a circuit or superior court; and,
Copies of the petition must be served on the Indiana BMV and the local county prosecutor’s office.
Before filing anything with the court, it is always recommended that you work with an attorney to discuss all of your options. As every situation is unique, there is no set form for petitioner’s to use in applying with the court. An experienced attorney will work with you to present the best argument for driving privileges to the court.
What other requirements are there with Specialized Driving Privileges?
In addition to any restrictions ordered by the judge in your case, Indiana law requires drivers with “specialized driving privileges” to comply with the following:
Maintain proof of insurance and financial responsibility;
Carry a copy of the order in the vehicle you are driving; and,
Produce the copy of the order upon the request of a police officer.
Additionally, the law requires that if “specialized driving privileges” are granted, then they would be in effect for at least 180 days. Drivers facing short suspensions need to keep this in mind and work with their attorney to determine the best (and most cost effective) path forward.
Keiffner Allen | Attorneys at Law are Indianapolis attorneys here to help assist you with petitioning the court for relief from your suspension and to secure Specialized Driving Privileges. Call us today to schedule a free confidential consultation.