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How to Get a Hardship License in Florida

If your license is suspended or revoked in Florida, you might be eligible to obtain a hardship license. This article discusses the requirement to get a hardship license.

The requirements for all hardship hearings include:

  • the customer may submit a completed Application for Hardship License (HSMV 78306);
  • pay a $12.00 filing fee;
  • wait for a CDLIS check to be completed; and
  • wait for a CCIS check/inquiry to be completed by the Hearing Officer (with a traffic search for out of state residents).

Attorney for Hardship License in Florida

If you need to hire an attorney to help you contest a suspension or obtain a hardship license in Florida, then contact an experienced criminal defense attorney in Tampa, FL.

We charge $400 an hour to review your driving record and explain all of the steps you need to take. That initial consultation usually takes one hour and we need a copy of your Florida's driving record at the time of the consultation.

During this initial hearing, we can also help you understand the problems you might have when seeking the hardship license.

Most people do NOT need an attorney to obtain a hardship license. Some people, however, want to hire an experienced attorney to help them through every step of the process. If you need help, call Sammis Law Firm to schedule a consultation. 

Call 813-250-0500 today.


When are you Not Eligible for a Hardship License?

Not everyone is eligible for a hardship license. You are not eligible for a hardship license if you have any of the following:

The following miscellaneous triggering events make a person not eligible for a hardship license:

  • Felony Possession of a Controlled Substance §322.27(6)(Has to have been driving vehicle);
  • Theft of a Motor Vehicle or Parts or Components of a Motor Vehicle §322.274(1)
    • Unless Court Order directs reinstatement
  • Suspension resulting from the “Drop-Out Law” §322.091
  • Possession of Tobacco by a Minor §569.11
  • Excessive Drinker/Habitual Drunkard
    • Referral to Medical Advisory Board
  • Failure to Pay Child Support §322.245(4)
  • Fail To Pay Ct Financial Obligation  §322.245(5)
  • Failure to Pay/Appear - Traffic Fines  §318.15
  • Financial  Responsibility Suspensions under Chapters  627  and  324, Florida Statutes, and F.A.C. 15A1.019(5)(g)
    • FR ineligibility does not apply to Fraudulent Insurance Claim Revocation under §817.234(8)(9) & §817.505
  • CDL must be downgraded to Class E §322.271(6) & 322.64(10)

Florida's 15A-1.019 for Reinstatement and Hardship Privileges

Any driver whose driver's license has been suspended, revoked, or cancelled for any reason, other than those that are statutorily prohibited, and habitual offenders during the first year of their five year revocation, may apply immediately to the Department for the modification of the order or the reinstatement of a license.

Those request pursuant to Section 322.271, F.S., include:

(1) Furnish the Department with a completed Application for Administrative Hearing (form HSMV-78306, Revised 12/13, and herein incorporated by reference), obtained from a Department office, and the following:

(a) Driver's license, if in the applicant’s possession.

(b) A list of all arrests for traffic violations in this and any other state.

(c) Proof of driver improvement school requirements as provided in Section 322.271, F.S.

(2) If, after the hearing, the Department modifies its suspension, revocation or cancellation order or reinstates the use of the applicant’s driver’s license, such use will be for employment or business purposes only as defined in Section 322.271, F.S. for the remaining period of the original suspension or revocation.

(3) If, after the hearing, the Department affirms its original order, no further hearing shall be held, except that another hearing shall be granted by the Department if proof of new evidence is submitted.

(4) A violation of the restrictions imposed on the use of a reinstated license shall cause the license to be automatically suspended or revoked for the remainder of the period of the original suspension or revocation.

The administrative rule, F.A.C. 15A-1.019, was previously numbered as 15A-1.19 when created on 11-20-75. The rule was last amended on 12-22-92 and 6-3-14. Related statutory provisions including Florida Statute Sections 318.15, 322.16, 322.245, 322.271, 322.28, and 322.282.


What Happens if the First DUI is Not on the Record?

In many cases, a person will go to the Bureau of Administrative Reviews office in order to get a hardship license after a DUI conviction in court. Because it takes time for the court ordered suspension to show up on the person's driving record, the BAR will not have any record that the First DUI court-ordered suspension is on the driver's record.

When the first DUI is not on the record, no hardship hearing will occur. Instead, the hearing officer will check for the driver's eligibility.

If the driver is eligible, the hearing officer will issue a 30-day temporary permit with a C restriction. If the driver is not eligible, the hearing officer will tell the driver the reason he or she is not eligible and the way to take corrective actions.

The hearing officer will tell the person to check back near the end of 30 days. If the driving record is not updated with the DUI conviction within 30 days, then the driver needs a certified court order (with court seal and signature) containing the driver’s name, DL#, citation number, conviction information and length of sanction.

The hearing officer will make a copy of that record for the file and upload the document to SharePoint.


Getting a Hardship with Multiple DUI Convictions

If a person will multiple offenses has a DUI that is not yet listed on their driving record, then no hardship hearing will be scheduled.

Instead, the records are sent through SHAREPOINT. The hearing officer needs certified court documents (with court seal and signature) containing the driver’s name, DL#, citation number and conviction information and length of sanction. 

The hearing officer will obtain the customer’s phone number to advise the person when the record has been updated.


Multiple DUI Offenders Must Comply with the Special Supervision Service Program

Even out of state customers must be able to comply with SSSP. The driver must call the provider prior to hearing to see if they can comply.

The out of state multiple offender will be told about two SSSP locations that can be contacted:

  • Bridgeway Center in Ft. Walton at (850) 833-7474; and
  • Tri County in Winter Haven/Lakeland at (863) 701-1919.

If other sanctions are not on record, then no hearing will be scheduled.

Instead, the hearing officer will send to records through SHAREPOINT using instructions. The hearing officer needs certified court documents (with court seal and signature) containing the driver’s name, DL#, citation number and conviction information and length of sanction.

The hearing officer will obtain the customer’s phone number to advise when the record has been updated.


Requirements for Out of State License Holders

The out of state license holder must do all of the following before obtaining a hardship license including:

  • the driver must obtain FL license for hardship; and
  • the driver must be willing to surrender OOS DL (privilege).

If both of those conditions are met, then the hearing officer will hold the hearing and send the person to the DL office after proving the requirements for DL issuance. If the person cannot comply, then no hearing will be set. 


What happens if the out of state license holder has a DUI Conviction?

There is no hardship hearing in Florida. The conviction will go to other state and the driver must deal with the requirements in that state. The conviction will NOT be recorded on the Florida driving record.

If a Florida driver’s license has been issued, the conviction should be transfer back through NDR so that no revocation occurs.


School Requirements for Hardship Reinstatement

Under Florida Statute Section 322.271(2)(a):

“Except as otherwise provided in this subsection, the department shall require proof of the successful completion of the applicable department-approved driver training course … or DUI program substance abuse education course and evaluation … If a driver's license has been suspended under the point system or pursuant to s. 322.2615, the department shall require proof of enrollment…”


No School Required for these Convictions

As explained in BAR Bulletin 98-03, Bulletin 010-98, Fla. Stat. §322.271, and F.A.C.15A-1.019(4), unless specifically required by court order, the following non-driving suspensions or revocations do not require school attendance:

  • Firearms Violation under §790.22;
  • Fraud under §322.27(1)(d);
  • Worthless Checks under §832.09 & 832.05;
  • Lewdness or Immoral Acts under §322.26(7);
  • Petit Theft under §812.014;
  • Fraudulent Insurance Claims under §817.234(8) & (9), §817.505 and §322.26(9);
  • Upgrade In Restriction (D To C) under §322.271; and
  • Reinstatement Rescinded/ Non-Multiple DUI Offenders - F.A.C.15A-1.019(4).

Hardship Hearing for a Fraudulent Driver License

In Florida, the DHSMV will suspend a driver's license for one year if the person is accused of fraudulently obtaining a driver license.

The driver may petition the department for a hearing to determine whether or not fraud has been committed. If, during the hearing, it is determined that fraud was not committed, the suspension will be removed.

If fraud is proven, the driver may apply for a hardship license. If approved for a hardship license, or if the suspension has expired, the driver must take the required examination and pay a suspension reinstatement fee and any other applicable license fees. A hardship license restricts driving to employment or business purposes only.

Read more about the Florida DHSMV driver license fraud suspension and how we fight these cases.


Additional Resources

Hardship after a Driver License Suspension and Revocation - Visit the website for the Florida Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (DHSMV) to learn more about the driver license suspension and revocation. Many suspension can be cleared by paying an unpaid fine or submitting proof of completing driver improvement school. Find information on drivers who are incapable of safely operating a motor vehicle, point accumulations on the driver record, violations not DUI related but resulting in death or serious bodily injury, and fraudulent driver license.


This article was last updated on Monday, August 20, 2018.

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