The bad news is, you’ve got a 5 year DL suspension as a habitual traffic offender (HTO).
The good news is, you don’t have to wait the entire five years before you start driving again.
Here’s the thing, don’t forget that HTO suspensions can be removed. Removing an HTO suspension is a far better option than a hardship license for several reasons. First, a hardship license in Orlando is restricted. You can’t go out to eat. You can’t go to your kid’s ball game, etc. etc. And, the insurance rates on an HTO suspension are astronomical, you’ll be calling me asking, “Is it legal for them to charge that much for auto insurance?” It’s not fair, it’s not right, but it is legal.
Before we jump into the hardship stuff: are you sure you have already explored the option of having your HTO removed? If you’ve checked into this, and a few attorneys have already told you that you don’t qualify for HTO removal–then you have arrived at the right web page. Keep reading.
How to Apply for a Hardship License
Like I said, the good news is that you can drive on an HTO suspension, but you have to wait at least ONE YEAR before applying.
Now, getting a hardship license is NOT AUTOMATIC. Many, many folks get rejected.
But, if you have already waited at least a year into your five year suspension, the first step will be making sure that ALL OTHER REVOCATIONS be taken care of. One common reason folks get denied a hardship is that they haven’t paid off absolutely every single suspension on their record. Everything must be cleared off. Yes, I mean everything.
Step #2: contact the Bureau of Administrative Reviews (BAR) in your area. In Orlando, they are located at 4101 Claracona-Ocoee Rd. Suite 152, Orlando, and their number is 407-445-5581. They will be the folks who will schedule a hardship review hearing to determine your eligibility for a hardship license.
There is also a BAR office in Winter Springs, their address is 154 Tuskawilla Rd, Suite 1368, Winter Springs, and their number is 407-327-6678.
The Bureau of Administrative Reviews may ask that you pay a review filing fee of around $25, a hardship hearing fee of around $12, and they may request that you take a driving class (typically 12 hour advanced driver improvement class). So, be ready to take a class, and spend some money.
Bear in mind that, if (and that’s a big “if”) the BAR holds a hearing and grants a hardship license–this means you do NOT have your full driving privilege. In other words, it will be a CRIME and you be arrested if you drive to your kid’s softball game, or grab dinner at Chili’s. Can’t do it, let someone else drive or Uber, please.
Potential Types of Restricted License Available
The BAR may give you one of two restricted licenses: either a “C Restriction” or a “D Restriction”. Here’s what that means. The “C” restriction is a Business Purposes Only (BPO) icense, and this is the best case scenario. It is also the most common, and it let’s you drive to work, to job training, to school, to church, and to the doctor. Some folks would even include groceries as a business purpose, as you must eat to maintain your livelihood–but still–no “going out to eat” on a BPO.
If the BAR gives you a “D Restriction”, that is called an Employment Purposes Only license. You may drive to and from work, and drive to and from anything your job requires. This is the most restrictive hardship license.
Florida law doesn’t provide a whole heck of a lot of guidance on when the BAR should grant a hardship, or should not. Florida Statute 322.271 provides that the BAR will investigate the driver’s “qualifications, fitness, and need to drive.” Hum. What does that mean?
That means, you better have some damn good excuses. Get letters of recommendation from your employer, doctor, friends, as the statute mentions that “letters of recommendation from respected business person in the community, law enforcement officers, or judicial officers may also be required to determine whether a person should be permitted to operate a motor vehicle on a restricted basis for business or employment use only and in determining whether such person can be trusted to so operate a motor vehicle”. 322.271, Florida Statutes.