Can I Get a Provisional (Hardship) License in Tennessee?

When you’re convicted of DUI, you may get your license suspended for some time. This can be a major inconvenience, considering that most people rely on their vehicles for transportation. In fact, a suspended license could mean losing a job, being unable to attend school, and being unable to take kids to and from school.

Fortunately, it’s often possible to obtain a restricted or hardship license in Tennessee, which should essentially let you drive to and from certain places on an otherwise suspended license. The special hardship licenses are typically issued to individuals who can demonstrate they need to drive for important reasons, such as to get to work.

There are two main types of restricted licenses: a restricted license with an ignition interlock device and a restricted license with geographic restrictions. A dedicated DUI defense attorney can help you to navigate the process of obtaining a provisional driver’s license.

What is a Hardship License?

A hardship or restricted license lets you drive to and from certain locations, such as work or school during prescribed hours, while your regular license is suspended. The main purpose of hardship licenses is to help individuals avoid jeopardizing their important obligations that require driving.

To receive a Tennessee hardship license, you will have to prove that you need to drive to:

  • Maintain your employment
  • Attend drug or alcohol treatment programs
  • Attend appointments with a probation officer
  • Attend school or take kids to school
  • Access medical care
  • Attend religious services at your place of worship
  • Complete other important tasks

Of course, obtaining a hardship license doesn’t restore your driving privileges. It actually comes with several conditions that specify where and when you can drive. The hardship license will be quite specific about the range of times you can drive. For instance, you may be limited to only driving during daylight hours.

Restricted License Application Process

To obtain a hardship license in Tennessee, you need to submit an application through the court system. The court will schedule a hearing, where you will present evidence to demonstrate why your inability to drive may jeopardize your work, school, etc.

The following are the general steps to follow if you believe you’re eligible for a hardship license:

  • Obtain a court order – You should first obtain a certified court order signed by a judge.
  • Obtain insurance – You have to obtain an SR-22 liability insurance form and present it to the Driver Services Center.
  • Pay the required fees – You will need to pay a $65 license fee along with a $2 application fee.
  • Install an ignition interlock device (IID) – If the court requires you to have an IID, you must install it and present the accompanying documents when applying for the hardship license.

The judge will have the final say as to whether or not you are issued with a restricted driver’s license. The judge will consider things such as whether or not you are likely to repeat the offense and whether you will adhere to the restrictions of the license.

You also need to be compliant with Tennessee Financial Responsibility Law before you are issued a hardship license. One of the stipulations of this law is that your driving privileges can be suspended if you don’t provide proof of car insurance.

Who is Eligible For a DUI Hardship License in Tennessee?

The state will not consider you eligible for a provisional license if you have ever been convicted of vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated, or have a previous conviction for aggravated vehicular homicide or vehicular assault. In case your DUI violation caused serious injury or death of another person, you won’t be eligible for a hardship license in Tennessee.

Although a hardship license with geographical restrictions is generally less expensive and perhaps less embarrassing, you can only be eligible for one under specific circumstances. In most cases, a DUI conviction means that you will only be eligible for a hardship license that limits your driving to a vehicle fitted with an ignition interlock device.

In such a case, you should ensure that the IID device has been installed before applying for the DUI Restricted license. The IID device is essentially a breathalyzer that prevents you from driving the vehicle if you have been drinking. The device also requires you to submit breath samples at random intervals while driving the car.

On the other hand, there are usually no limitations to when and where you can drive when granted a DUI hardship license that requires an ignition interlock device. This alone may convince those with a suspended license to choose this option.

Get Professional Legal Advice For Your DUI Case

For help navigating Tennessee laws surrounding the issuance of a hardship license, get in touch with the knowledgeable attorneys at Nash Law. Our DUI defense lawyers will evaluate your case, explain whether you’re eligible for a hardship license, and guide you on how to apply for one.

If you are facing DUI charges or simply want to apply for a hardship license, call Nash Law today at 615-NASH-LAW to talk to a lawyer.

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