DWI is illegal in every state in the U.S., and law enforcement officials take driving while intoxicated (DWI) offenses very seriously. Even first time offenders can have their licenses suspended for up to one year depending on the circumstances of their arrest and subsequent legal proceedings. A suspended license means you can no longer drive at all. If you are caught driving with a suspended license, it will be that much harder to get it back, if at all.
Losing the privilege of having a driver’s license can be a major problem for some people, especially if they need to drive for their livelihood or education. Fortunately, all hope is not lost if your license is suspended. If you get your license suspended for DWI, you can apply for a hardship license so that you can get your license back earlier than what the court had originally decreed. First time offenders typically have an easier time because there are no prior DWI convictions to complicate matters and instillation of an ignition interlock device is usually not required, but the requirements are otherwise the same for your first through to your fourth conviction. A fifth DWI conviction means your license will no longer be suspended; you lose your license permanently, so no hardship license will be approved.
However, hardship licenses are not available to just anyone, and the criteria for qualifying for a hardship license can vary from state to state. However, some common requirements include:
- No charges of driving with a suspended license
- Applicant qualifies for a 24D disposition or “second chance” first offender status
- There are no other active revocations
- Documented proof of hardship i.e. letter from employer and letter of explanation from applicant justifying the need for a hardship license
- Proof of an installed ignition interlock for 2nd offenders
- Ignition interlock packet (for first offenders) if hardship license is granted
It must be noted that even if an applicant meets all criteria for the hardship license, an official or law enforcement officer who will hear your case may still refuse to grant it on reasonable grounds.