What Is the Difference Between a Hardship License and a Conditional License?

As a consequence of a DUI, your license is automatically suspended. The Registry of Motor Vehicles is very reluctant to give driving privileges back to individuals they deem unsafe to be on the roads. So applying for a hardship license, or a conditional license, will require you to provide not only a clear need to drive, but documentation to substantiate your claim that you need to be able to drive.

Key Differences Between Hardship Licenses and Conditional Licenses

Hardship and conditional licenses are very similar, but they have many differences.

One of the key differences is in timing. 30 days after your license was suspended, you will receive a letter from the DMV offering you a pre-conviction conditional license. You will receive this offer regardless of whether or not you were also granted a hardship license. It is valid until you are either convicted or exonerated of your charges.

The fees are also different. A conditional license will cost you $75, made payable to the DMV.

Another difference is that a conditional license allots you some hours during the week for running errands. A hardship license forbids any extraneous driving outside of the approved reason(s), such as academic, work-related, and medical obligations. So a hardship license does not have the same flexibility that a conditional license has.

Applying for a Hardship License

In order to apply for your hardship license you need the following:

  • Official documentation proving the reason for your need. If your needs are academic, then you will need to provide proof of enrollment at your school. If they are medical or professional, then you will need to provide a letter from your doctor or employer on official letterhead explaining your schedule for treatments or work. If you are an independent contractor then you will need to provide proof of self-employment. This can include a professional license, business license, or tax forms (a W-2 or 1099).
  • Proof of the availability of local public transportation. This can include local bus routes.

Requirements of Receiving a Hardship License

There may be some requirements that go along with your license, such as being required to have an ignition interlock device installed in your vehicle. The Registry of Motor Vehicles will give you a packet of information related to your interlock device for you to understand more about using it.

You will have to attend an approved drug education program upon being granted your conditional license. The Board of Appeals and the RMV want you to attend these sessions and take them seriously.

Why You Must Hire A Hardship License Attorney

The RMV and Board of Appeals are obligated to keep roads safe. Therefore, the odds are already not in your favor, as they are hesitant to grant licenses to people who have been arrested for DUI. A hardship license attorney will ensure that you have the right documents and are applying at the right time in order to get back on the road again.