DUI Hardship License in California

DUI Hardship License in California

Table of Contents

Attorney Christopher J McCannBy Christopher J McCann

Convicted DUI offenders can apply for a restricted license allowing for the individual to operate a vehicle for medical and/or work purposes. The DMV does not automatically grant a DUI offender a hardship license. Instead, the offender must request that the judge issue them a document that authorizes the DMV to grant a restricted license if the person qualifies.

Requirements for a DUI Hardship License

As stated above, the first step in obtaining a hardship license is to request that the judge approve your request to apply for the license. Next, the individual must petition the DMV to issue a restricted license. A hardship license can only be applied for after the defendant has completed the mandatory 30-day driver’s license suspension. In addition to a completed application, the offender must pay the $125 license reissue fee and show proof of enrollment in an 18-month or 30-month DUI School. If issued a DUI hardship license the offender may be required to install an interlock ignition device (IID) in their vehicle. The IID prevents DUI offenders from operating a vehicle while drunk by requiring them to submit a breath test in order for the vehicle to start. The car will not start if the breath test registers a blood alcohol level at or above a set limit (often this limit is below the .08% BAC limit).

DUI Hardship License California Restrictions

Once the application is submitted, the DMV will review the document and issue a ruling. The applicant is required to show proof that driving a vehicle is a necessity for job related functions or for a medical reason. Therefore, the DMV offers requires either a doctor’s note or written documentation from the employer stating why the individual needs access to a vehicle. In addition, the DUI offender must prove that no one else in his or her household could bring the person to work or to medical appointments. If a hardship license is granted then the individual can only drive to work, medical appointments and to court ordered DUI programs. Failure to abide by these restrictions will result in the hardship license being revoked and further punishments. While prior offenses do not prevent the issuance of a hardship license they do make it more difficult. If an individual has had a speeding offense within the past three years they can be granted a work license for a period of 6 months.


Hope is not lost for convicted DUI offenders who require a vehicle for medical and/or work related reasons. After serving a mandatory 30-day license suspension, convicted DUI offenders can request that the DMV grant them a hardship license. This license allows the person to drive to and from work, medical appointments and DUI School. While the easiest way to prevent a DUI is to not drive drunk should you find yourself facing a DUI charge, contact a criminal attorney as soon as possible.

About Guest California Criminal Defense Lawyer & Author:

If located in Orange County California and you need a DUI attorney for your case, contact The Law Offices of Christopher J McCann for a free case consultation. You can also follow Chris McCann’s tweets on twitter at @CJM_Law_Firm for related drunk driving law rants or pick up a print copy of my published author DUI book.

If you liked reading this post, please check out my other articles posted here:

Christopher J McCann, Author at Flock of Legals


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