Back on the Road Are Specialized Driving Privileges Right for You? January 2019 www.wilson-law-office-elkhart.com 574-522-1900
Drivers with suspended licenses across Indiana have the opportunity for a new start in 2019. With the elimination of the hardship license statute in favor of“Specialized Driving Privileges” by our state legislature, more people will be able to commute legally than ever before. If you have had your license suspended, and are struggling to make it to and fromwork and other appointments, this new lawmay bring the relief you’re looking for. In essence, this law (Indiana Code § 9-30-16) removes many of the restrictions that used to be placed on suspended license holders who need the use of their vehicles. While gaining even limited permission to drive has proven extremely difficult in the past, this statute means that those who were convicted for an OWI/DUI, Habitual Traffic Violations (HTV), and much more have the opportunity to return to a sense of normalcy in their lives. As a lawyer who has represented those accused of driving with suspended licenses for 25 years, I could not be happier about this change. One of the worst aspects of the old hardship statute was how it caused small mistakes to snowball. One particular case that comes to mind is that of a single father who struggled to pick up his kids from school. Thankfully, he had a girlfriend with a valid license who was more than happy to pitch in and ferry the kids whenever she could. But, life happens. Something came up one day, and the girlfriend wasn’t able to get the kids herself. Unwilling to leave his kids stranded, the father got in his car and took off for the school. The man went five mph over the speed limit, and in the end he was slapped with a felony charge.
towns like Elkhart, we don’t have a lot of options when it comes to transportation, and lacking a car can be a significant challenge. Most folks can’t exactly afford to Uber to work every day. When it comes to holding down a job, or being there for your family, the temptation to drive illegally cannot be understated. That’s why my team and I are excited that more Hoosiers than ever before have an opportunity to get to these important functions legally.
You have previously received a specialized driving privilege, but were convicted for violating the terms of those privileges.
You are not guaranteed specialized driving privileges.
While the requirements for these privileges are more open than they were under previous laws, you will still need to petition the court. This means having a hearing in front of a judge, who will then decide whether or not to grant these privileges, as well as the restrictions and limitations that come with them. This is where having an experienced lawyer at your back canmake a difference. As someone who’s represented drivers in Elkhart and beyond for the past 25 years, I understand just how debilitating having a suspended license can be. If you need to get back on the road in 2019, please reach out to us. My team and I can help you understand the process, and plan your next steps forward.
There are, however, a few caveats you need to be aware of.
You will not be able to petition for specialized driving privileges if:
You have never been an Indiana resident
You are currently suspended for refusing to submit to a chemical test during an OWI stop You were convicted for an offense involving the operation of a motor vehicle that caused the death of another person
It’s easy to sit back and point out what this father could have done, but that misses the point. In
-Tom Wil son
www.wilson-law-office-elkhart.com | 1
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