Indiana Specialized Driving Privileges


Losing your driving privileges impacts nearly every aspect of your life. It affects your ability to work and to care for and provide for yourself and your family. If your Indiana driver’s license has been revoked, contact a Noblesville, Indiana criminal attorney from the law firm of Dollard Whalin LLP to discuss your case and how to apply for Indiana specialized driving privileges.

What are Indiana Specialized Driving Privileges?

The granting of specialized driving privileges (also called an Indiana hardship license), allows a person to drive, most commonly for very specific purposes, such as employment, church, grocery shopping, medical appointments, probation meetings, court hearings, and similar matters. Employment purposes may mean driving to and from work, or it could even mean driving as a part of your job.

A Noblesville, Indiana criminal attorney from Dollard Whalin LLP can help determine if you are eligible for an Indiana hardship license, and, if so, can help you file the Indiana specialized driving privileges petition properly.

Are you Eligible for an Indiana Hardship License or Specialized Driving Privileges?

Most likely the answer to this question is “yes.” However, specialized driving privileges are not considered under the following conditions:

  • The driver is not and never was an Indiana resident.
  • The driver did not submit to chemical testing offered under Indiana Code Chapter 9-30-6 or Indiana Code Chapter 9-30-7 and that is why they are suspended.
  • The suspension is a result of a sentence for causing death while operating a vehicle.
  • The driver was allowed specialized driving privileges in a previous case and has multiple convictions for violating the conditions of a previous order under Indiana Code § 9-30-16-5.

How to Apply for Specialized Driving Privileges in Indiana

Eligibility for an Indiana hardship license or other special considerations alone cannot guarantee that you will get your driving privileges reinstated. You must first file an Indiana specialized driving privileges petition. A judge will review your case on an individual basis to determine whether or not your petition will be granted.

At Dollard Whalin LLP, we use our experience in making the best case possible for our clients in seeking the reinstatement of driving privileges. Sometimes, an attorney will have the choice of which judge will hear an Indiana specialized driving privileges petition. Some judges are more likely to grant a petition for an Indiana hardship license or specialized privileges than other judges.

Additionally, an attorney who is experienced will often know what the judge will want to hear about or see to grant specialized driving privileges. These are factors that you won’t find in Indiana law, but because of the discretion allowed to a trial court judge, an experienced attorney can assist you in navigating the local courts more effectively.

What Must Be Included in an Indiana Specialized Driving Privileges Petition?

Understanding how to apply for specialized driving privileges is essential to a successful petition. First, the Indiana specialized driving privileges petition must be signed under the penalties of perjury by the applicant. Second, it must include the applicants age, birthdate, driver’s license number, and address.

Next, the petition requires information about why specialized privileges are needed and which privileges are being requested. The petitioner must explain to the court that he or she would like to have a hardship license or specialized driving privileges and why (for work, for issues related to children, for medical appointments, etc.). At Dollard Whalin LLP, we frequently also submit a copy of the petitioner’s driving record as an exhibit.

Once the petition is completed, it will need to be filed in the proper court. This is likely a superior or circuit court in the county of residence, but if privileges were revoked due to a conviction, the petition might need to be filed in the court where the conviction occurred.

An experienced Noblesville, Indiana criminal attorney from Dollard Whalin LLP can determine where to file your Indiana specialized driving privileges petition. Once the document is drafted and filed with the proper court, the petition will then be served, either by mail or through the electronic funds transfer system (EFTS), on the Indiana Bureau of Motor Vehicles (BMV), and the county prosecutor.

How Long Do Indiana Specialized Driving Privileges Last?

Specialized driving privileges must be ordered for a minimum of 180 days but can be extended much longer than that. This timeframe is especially important when your driving privileges have been suspended for life, or even for five or ten years. Often, when privileges are granted for longer than 180 days, the court will set compliance hearings, or other miscellaneous hearings, to find out if any changes need to be made to the order for specialized driving privileges.

Orders for Indiana Specialized Driving Privileges

The order for specialized driving privileges is very important and has a number of requirements. The following items are commonly included in a court order granting specialized driving privileges:

  • The defendant or petitioner’s address;
  • The defendant or petitioner’s place of employment;
  • The date on which specialized driving privileges begin;
  • The date on which specialized driving privileges end (the law requires a minimum of 180 days);
  • The date of the court order; and
  • The limitations and allowances under the order granting specialized driving privileges, including the following possibilities:
    • Driving for employment purposes;
    • Driving for purposed related to children;
    • Driving to probation meetings and court-ordered treatment or counseling;
    • Driving to scheduled medical appointments; and
    • Driving to a specified church for religious services.

The order granting specialized driving privileges will also set forth the requirements of the order, which can include the following:

  • The defendant/petitioner must carry proof of insurance.
  • The defendant/petitioner must carry a copy of the order granting specialized driving privileges.
  • The defendant/petitioner must carry a valid state identification card or driver’s license issued by the Indiana BMV.
  • The defendant/petitioner shall only operate a vehicle equipped with an operating alcohol ignition interlock device.
  • Modification of the order can only be made by the court granting the petition.
  • If modification is requested, the defendant/petitioner must file a petition for modification of privileges and serve the Indiana BMV and the Hamilton County Prosecuting Attorney in the appropriate manner.
  • The order does not apply to suspensions other than the one addressed in the order.

As you can see, these orders are quite thorough. It’s important that you follow the requirements exactly. If you are found to have knowingly or intentionally violated a condition imposed by a court as a part of the specialized driving privilege order, you can be charged with a Class C misdemeanor. If convicted of this Class C misdemeanor, the court may modify or revoke your specialized driving privileges and order the BMV to re-suspend your driver’s license, which could affect your ability to gain specialized driving privileges in the future as well.

We Help Clients Obtain Special Driving Privileges across the State of Indiana

A Noblesville, Indiana criminal attorney from Dollard Whalin LLP can file a petition for specialized driving privileges in any county in the state of Indiana.  If you have been questioning whether you are eligible for Indiana specialized driving privileges, we can help. 

Please call the office of Dollard & Whalin at (317) 854-5877 or complete our online contact form to get started determining the steps necessary to get you back on the road.

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