Most of us go through life thinking that the worst-case scenarios for any given circumstance will never happen to us. Dramatic situations where lawyers and judges are involved are for other people or TV shows. Statistically speaking, you’re right. Most people don’t get caught when they break the law, however it happens to more people than you think.
The Bureau of Transportation Statistics states that 4 million Americans reported driving under the influence. Of those people, over 1.4 million were arrested for a DUI in 2010. Realistically, many more people have been guilty of this behavior and simply not reported it or were not asked. Despite the dire consequences associated with getting caught, more than a few people still drive drunk or high.
One of the consequences of being caught is a revoked driver’s license. The United States is almost exclusively travelled by road, which makes losing a license particularly problematic.
What is Hardship?
The legal definition of an undue hardship is special circumstances that exempt a person from a legal obligation or, in some cases, bound by the same restrictions. For instance, financial hardship might prevent a person from having medical insurance.
Healthcare.gov defines hardship as “financial situations and other circumstances that keep you from getting health insurance. If you qualify for a hardship exemption, you don’t have to pay a fee for the months you were uncovered.” Some examples of situations that lead to a hardship exemption include bankruptcy, death in the family, homelessness, natural disaster, and others.
There are many other reasons for seeking a driver’s license hardship exemption. One of the most common relates to suspended licenses due to a DUI. Few other reasons cause adults with an established driver’s license to lose their license.
Each state is different however. After a DUI related suspended license, special circumstances may allow you to obtain a Special Restricted Driver’s License. This license may allow you to only drive within a certain radius of your home and you may be able to driver only during certain hours of the day. Some states only allow people to drive to designated areas and back, such as school, work, doctor’s office, treatment center as well as only during times of class or employment.
To qualify, all fees must be paid and the car has to be in your name and insured. Additionally, you may be required to attend drug and alcohol education services and may have an interlock placed in your car.
When it comes to hardship related to a driver’s license, however, there are other reasons for seeking a hardship license. Teenagers, ages 14 or 15, can obtain a hardship license in a situation where they need to drive to school. This exemption is most common in rural areas and you still have to pass a driver’s test. However, you do not need to have a permit for 6 months or whatever the duration in your state. Typically, the hardship license, once issued, will expire on your next birthday. That means that even if you obtain this license 3 days before your birthday, you will have to apply again on that day.
How do you get a Hardship Qualification?
Hardship qualifications are decided after you submit an application. If you are filing for a hardship in more than one area, you must submit more than one application. Each state has a different license application. A simple internet search can provide you with more information about this process in your area.
This process may seem overwhelming and insurmountable, however, it is doable. First, you need to contact any legal services you have access to and inquire about your options. Then, submit the application related to your state. The time it takes to hear back will vary by from area to area.
Seeking legal advice during this process is advised if you have that option. There may be options or variations available to you that will lessen the burden of this turbulent time in your life.
Moving Out of Hardship
The biggest focus of yours is how to get out of this rocky time of life. You can suffer through the temporary stage of having a hardship license and getting your real one back. Some soul-searching is required to prevent this situation from happening again.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, drivers with a blood alcohol level of .08 or higher who were involved in fatal accidents were 4.5 times more likely to have prior convictions for driving while under the influence. If you sought a hardship license in the aftermath of a suspended license due to a DUI, you need to consider the beliefs and behaviors that contributed to this situation. Many people will simply say the system is unjust or that they were unlucky, however if you know that it is illegal to drive under the influence and do it anyway, you are rolling the dice with your freedom and life every time.
Many people who engage in drunk or drugged driving have a problem with drugs or alcohol that needs to be evaluated. We live in a society where mind-altering substances are glorified and common place. However, these substances are also addictive and can take over your life faster than you think.
When it comes to the complexities of substance abuse and addiction, the best first step is to find a therapist or doctor who understands the disease. The disease of addiction claims more lives every year. You can regain your life if you put in a little time and effort.
Most people benefit from an inpatient treatment center. Other types of programs are available for those who can’t take the time off from school or work. You may be familiar with a program or people in a sober program if you were required to take classes in conjunction with your hardship license or due to a DUI. Do some research and find a program that works with your needs. Taking the time to remedy the root of your driving under the influence could mean the difference between a happy life and a life behind bars.