What is the “Business Purpose Only” Hardship License?
If your license is suspended, revoked or canceled, you may still qualify for a Class E driver’s license that restricts driving for certain purposes. The Class E license can include either a C or D Restriction.
- The C Restriction is the “Business Purpose Only” license
- The D Restriction is the “Employment Purpose Only” license
No hardship restriction can be added to a Commercial Driver License (CDL). When a CDL holder obtains a hardship license, the license is downgraded to a Class E license.
How to Apply for a Temporary Hardship Permit after a DUI Arrest?
If your driver’s license is suspended because you were arrested for DUI, the DUI citation operates as your 10-day permit if your driver’s license was otherwise valid. During those ten (10) days, you should demand a formal review hearing to contest the administrative suspension. Because the rules for the hearing are so complicated, few people can represent themselves at the hearing successfully.
Note: Many people who cannot afford to hire an attorney within the 10 days decide to request immediate reinstatement and waive the formal review hearing. This is called a “waiver review hearing” by the DMV. At the waiver review hearing, the hearing officer will make sure that you actually waived your right to a formal review hearing.
You are also required to show proof that you have enrolled in DUI school (the original certificate or the online form with proof of payment). Other documents may be required and you must personally appear.
Individuals who cannot afford an attorney and are not eligible for a waiver review hearing should still request the formal review hearing so that they can obtain the 42 day driving permit.
If you can afford a private attorney willing to fight to invalidate the suspension, your attorney will demand the formal review hearing within 10 days after your arrest (and you do NOT need to be present).
Your attorney will also obtain a 42-day temporary driving permit on your behalf (also called the “Business Purpose Only” temporary permit) that allows you to continue driving on a restricted basis while your attorney fights to invalidate the administrative suspension.
If you win the hearing and the suspension is invalidated, it is erased from your driving record as if it never happened. After winning the formal review hearing, you can obtain a duplicate copy of your driver’s license for $25. If you lose the hearing, you must serve any 30 or 90-day hard suspension before applying for a hardship license. With a second refusal, you will not qualify for a hardship license for the entire 18-month suspension.
How do I Apply for a Hardship License?
After your 42-day permit expires and you have served any hard suspension period, you can obtain a hardship license if you meet certain eligibility requirements. The agency that oversees the issuance of a hardship license is the Bureau of Administrative Review Office (often called the “BAR”). The BAR also holds formal review hearings.
The application for any hardship license after the formal review hearing can be obtained at the Bureau of Administrative Review Office.Tampa Bureau of Administrative Review (BAR)
2814 E Hillsborough Ave.
Tampa, FL 33619
(813)276-5795 Clearwater Bureau of Administrative Review (BAR)
4585 140th Ave. North, Suite 1002
Clearwater, FL 33762
What Happens at the Hearing for my Hardship License?
You must serve the hard suspension if you lose the formal review hearing. After the hard suspension, you can apply to the Bureau of Administrative Review for a hardship license hearing. At the hearing, the hearing officer will ask you whether you drove during the hard suspension period. No hardship license will be issued if you answer “yes” to this question.
No hardship license will be granted if you were caught driving during the hardship period. The hearing officer will also determine if you need a hardship license and are otherwise eligible. If you are eligible, you will receive a hardship license for the rest of the suspension or revocation period.
Who is Not Eligible for a Hardship License under Florida Law?
Certain individuals are not eligible for a hardship license because of something on their driving record (although that person might still be eligible for a 42-day hardship permit after the DUI arrest). The most common reasons why a person is not eligible for a hardship license include:
- A second or subsequent administrative suspension for refusal (322.271(2)(a));
- A five or ten-year DUI revocation (322.271 (2)(a));
- A DUI for Driving with an Unlawful Breath or Blood Alcohol Level (DUBAL) with two DUI convictions or two prior refusals (322.271 (2)(a);
- Permanent DUI Manslaughter with prior or subsequent DUI convictions (322.271(4));
- Murder Resulting from the Operation of a Motor Vehicle (322.28(3));
- DUI Serious Bodily Injury with two or more prior DUI convictions.
Other than in DUI cases, other types of suspensions or revocation are also ineligible for a hardship license, including:
- A conviction for Felony Possession of a Controlled Substance (322.27(6);
- A conviction for Theft of Motor Vehicle, Parts, or Components (unless ordered by the trial judge)(322.274);
- Child Support Delinquency suspensions;
- Fail to Pay Fines (D6 suspension);
- Failure to Appear in Court (D6 suspensions);
- Suspensions resulting from the Drop-out Law (related to school attendance);
- Possession of Tobacco by a Minor; and
- Financial Responsibility Suspensions.
What Does “Business Purpose Only” Mean?
The hardship license for “Business Purposes Only” means that your driving is restricted to “any driving necessary to “maintain livelihood” including:
- driving to or from work
- school or other educational purposes
- necessary on-the-job driving
- driving to see a doctor for medical purposes
- driving for church
The courts have considered a variety of excuses to determine whether they qualify as necessary to “maintain livelihood.” For instance, the court has allowed driving necessary to obtain food (State v. Quiroli, 9 Fla. L. Weekly Supp. 780b (15th Jud. Cir., Sep 12 2002)) or driving to pay a utility bill (Vilches v. State, 12 Fla. L. Weekly Supp. 530a (11th Jud. Cir., Mar 29 2005)).
Those decisions were extremely dependent on the particular facts of that case, and there is no guarantee that other courts would follow the same reasoning. In some cases, the courts have found that a person cannot drive on a “business purpose only” restriction if another licensed driver is in the vehicle.
What Happens if I Get Caught Driving for a Purpose Not Allowed by the Restriction?
Driving for any other purpose is not allowed and could result in an arrest for violating the restriction on the driver’s license. Under Florida Statute Section § 322.16(5), Fla. Stat., a violation of a restriction imposed pursuant to § 322.16(1)(c) is a second-degree misdemeanor.
That subsection provides that the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles may impose other restrictions on the use of the license with respect to time and purpose of use, including the “business purpose only” restriction after an administrative or court-ordered suspension for DUI.
As a second degree misdemeanor, the crime is punishable by up to 60 days in jail and a $500 fine. Also, if you are caught in violation of your restriction during the restriction period, your restriction period may be extended on your driving record, and you may receive a suspension.
If this happens, your old license will show an old expiration date, and your hardship restriction will not automatically drop off your driving record until the new expiration date has passed.
What Happens with the Hardship Restriction Expires?
When the hardship restriction expires, then the driver’s license simply loses that restriction. You can resume driving with full privileges. You are not required to obtain a new license.
You can obtain a replacement license for $31.25 at the tax collector’s office. If you are not already compliant with the REAL ID ACT, then you must show certain documents as explained on www.gathergoget.com.
This article was last updated on Friday, February 16, 2024.
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