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 DHSMV, For the “waiver review hearing,” you must show proof that you have enrolled in DUI school (the original certificate or the online form with proof of payment). 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. Then your attorney will appear at your formal review hearing 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
Clearwater Bureau of Administrative Review (BAR)
4585 140th Ave. North, Suite 1002
Clearwater, FL 33762
(727) 507-4405

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 (BAR) 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:

  1. A second or subsequent administrative suspension for refusal (322.271(2)(a));
  2. A five or ten-year DUI revocation (322.271 (2)(a));
  3. 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);
  4. Permanent DUI Manslaughter with prior or subsequent DUI convictions (322.271(4));
  5. Murder Resulting from the Operation of a Motor Vehicle (322.28(3));
  6. 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:

  1. A conviction for Felony Possession of a Controlled Substance (322.27(6);
  2. A conviction for Theft of Motor Vehicle, Parts, or Components (unless ordered by the trial judge)(322.274);
  3. Child Support Delinquency suspensions;
  4. Fail to Pay Fines (D6 suspension);
  5. Failure to Appear in Court (D6 suspensions);
  6. Suspensions resulting from the Drop-out Law (related to school attendance);
  7. Possession of Tobacco by a Minor; and
  8. 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, the driver’s license loses that restriction. You can resume driving with full privileges, assuming your driver’s license is otherwise valid. 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, you must show certain documents as explained on www.gathergoget.com.

This article was last updated on Friday, April 12, 2024.


  1. ihave a suspended license in philadelphia for not turning in license when i moved to florida can i get a hardship license from florida will waiting for philadelphia suspended to run out

    1. I don’t know. You would have to apply for a hardship and see. But if the suspension in Philadelphia shows in their system then I would guess they would require that to be cleared first.

  2. What happens if I can’t obtain a temp license in the 10 days after my charge? I have to clear up tickets from another state and they are not responding about the fees. Plus 2 of the days are federal holidays and the DMV isn’t open.

    Is there anyway to get an extension?

    1. By temporary permit do you mean the 42 day permit after requesting a formal review hearing or the hardship license after a waiver hearing? You must demand a formal review hearing on or before the 10th day or the next business day if the DMV is closed on the 10th day. Your license needs to be clear on that day if you want to obtain the 42 day permit. If you don’t have a clear DL, you should still demand the formal review hearing and fight to get the suspension totally invalidated (but don’t drive unless or until it is invalidated). The people that hire me to represent them always want the formal review hearing after they understand it whether they are entitled to the 42 day permit or not (although most all of them are entitled to the 42 day permit unless they have an out of state hold or two prior DUI convictions on their driving record). As to the waiver hearing, although the DMV originally took the position that the “waiver hearing” also had to be requested within the 10 day window, a recent court decision has found that the waiver hearing can be requested outside of the 10 days. I’m not sure if he DMV is following that decision in each office since none of my clients request a waiver hearing. [The waiver hearing means you are forever waiving your right to demand a formal review hearing to contest the administrative suspension of your driver’s license and instead, you are seeking immediately reinstatement of only hardship driving privileges – which is basically stipulating to the suspension which will remain on your driver’s license for the next 75 years.]

  3. I’m trying to find out if my business hardship license covers me driving to the court

    1. I guess it depends on why you are going to court. If you are required to go to court because it is necessary to maintain your livelihood (which should include your money, freedom or liberty) then it seems like it should be covered.

  4. could i get this type of license if i have had no suspensions, but have had my permit for 6 months and need to drive myself to and from school and work?

  5. could i get this type of license if i have had no suspensions, but have had my permit for 6 months and need to drive myself to and from school and work?

  6. I have been issued a Class B hardship license which is BPO only I’m retired and don’t work will I be able to drive to probation or things pertaining to my case and also such things as groceries and other things related to my home life such as dental, eye appointments or doctors appointments?

Comments are closed.

Free Consultation

Submit this form to request a free and confidential consultation with one of our attorneys.

Our Office Locations

Tampa Office:

Sammis Law Firm, P.A.
1005 N. Marion St.
Tampa, FL 33602
(813) 250-0200

map + directions

New Port Richey Office:

Sammis Law Firm, P.A.
7509 Little Rd.
New Port Richey, FL 34654
(727) 807-6392

map + directions

Clearwater Office:

Sammis Law Firm, P.A.
14010 Roosevelt Blvd. #701
Clearwater, FL 33762
(727) 210-7004

map + directions

Our Attorneys

Leslie M. Sammis

Leslie M. Sammis

Jason D. Sammis

Jason D. Sammis

Joshua L. Monteiro

Joshua L. Monteiro

Dominique Celerin

Dominique Celerin

Katherine A. Aranda

Katherine A. Aranda

Idalis Vento

Idalis Vento