I was just charged with DWI and the officer took my license. Can I get it back?

If you are charged with a DWI, most people are eligible for limited driving privileges (or LPDs) to drive to work or school. Losing a license can be a great hardship on those convicted of a DWI. Most of us depend on driving a vehicle as a means of getting to and from work.

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For some of us, driving is work, so the loss of driving privileges presents a great hardship not only in the very real loss of freedom to move about but also the loss of income. Thus, a limited driving privilege license can be critical if you need to drive for your job, school or just to take care of your family.

The court and DMV issue limited driving privileges at their discretion. You can request a restricted license at your hearing and you may find that you are immediately eligible or you may become eligible after a certain amount of time has passed on your sentence. It is important to remember that limited driving privileges are different from a regular license, because under a limited driving privilege you are only allowed to drive for a specific purpose such as work or school.

What are the requirements for limited driving privileges when I am charged?

If you were charged with a DWI and your blood alcohol level was 0.08% or higher (0.04% or higher for commercial vehicle drivers), your license will be automatically suspended by the DMV for 30 days. After the 10th day of the suspension, you will likely be eligible for limited driving privileges. The general requirements for limited driving privileges are:

1. At the time you were stopped you must have had a valid license to drive (or, if it is expired, it has to have expired for less than a year)
2. You cannot have been charged with any additional DWI since receiving the charge for which you are revoked
3. You need proof that you have obtained a substance abuse assessment
4. The license has been suspended for at least 10 days if the suspension was for 30 days, or at least 30 days if the suspension is for 45 days

If the above conditions are met, you are eligible to petition the court for a limited driving privilege. You will be required to provide the following to the court:

1. Proof of insurance, in the form of a document called a DL 123 (your insurance company should be able to fax you or your attorney this document)
2. Proof that you have completed a substance abuse assessment and enrolled in any recommended treatment
3. A certified copy of your 7-year driving history from the DMV, which must show that you have not been convicted of an offense related to driving while impaired within the preceding 7 years
4. A Petition for Limited Driving Privilege (AOC-CVR-9) and Limited Driving Privilege Order (AOC-CVR-10 or AOC-CVR-11)
5. A cashier’s check or cash in the amount of $100 to the clerk of court

Once these materials are collected, your attorney can petition the court on your behalf, and your appearance will not be required. It is important to remember that your pre-trial driving privileges is only valid up until the 30th day after you were charged with DWI. After the 30th day, your restricted license expires and you must pay the $50 restoration fee to have your regular driver’s license reinstated. Once your license is reinstated, you will keep your regular license unless and until your license is suspended upon conviction, at which time you may again be eligible for a limited driving privilege. If you or someone close to you is facing a DWI charge, it is often advisable to pursue a limited driving privilege license. An experienced DWI attorney can help guide you through the process and maximize your chances for a successful petition.

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