Prior to January 1, 2015 people with driver licenses that had been suspended by the courts and/or the Indiana Bureau of Motor Vehicles only had the opportunity to drive legally if they were able to obtain a hardship or probationary license. Many people, for a variety of reasons, were unable to qualify for those types of restricted driver’s licenses, and as a result were unable to pursue jobs, transport their children or other of activities of life that had previously been taken for granted.

On January 1, 2015 the Indiana Legislature restored to drivers the opportunity to seek reinstatement of their previously suspended driving privileges by enacting Indiana Code 9-30-16-1 thru 5. That new law now allows either the circuit or superior court in the county in which a person resides to stay or ” put on hold” a driver’s license suspension imposed by a court and/or the Indiana Bureau of Motor Vehicles, and grant a driver “specialized driving privileges”. To obtain the “specialized driving privileges” a person must petition a court as follows:

    (1) the petition must be signed and verified (signed under oath as true) by the driver;
    (2) set forth the driver’s age, date of birth, and address;
    (3) state why the driver is seeking specialized driving privileges (ex. employment, medical treatment, counseling, transport children, etc.) ;
    (4) be filed in the county where the driver currently resides in either the circuit or superior court;
    (5) be served on the Indiana Bureau of Motor Vehicles and the county Prosecuting Attorney.

The judge in the court where the petition is filed is vested with the discretion to decide whether to issue a “Specialized Driving Privileges ” permit on a case by case, fact specific basis. The judge is vested with the discretionary authority to deny the petition or to grant the petition with either very narrow or broad restrictions.

The new law applies to many suspended drivers. However, certain drivers may not file such a petition if:

    (1) they have never held a valid Indiana driver license;
    (2) they hold a commercial driver license;
    (3) they have refused to submit to a chemical test or blood draw for intoxication;
    (4) they have been convicted of an offense involving the operation of a motor vehicle and causing the death of another person;
   (5) they have previously been granted a specialized driving privilege and have received more than one (1) conviction for violating the terms of those specialized driving privileges.

If the petition is granted and the specialized driving privileges issued, the driver must:

    (1) maintain proof of future financial responsibility (insurance) during the period of specialized driving privileges;
    (2) carry a copy of the court order granting the specialized driving privileges, or keep a copy of the order in the driver’s car;
    (3) produce a copy of the court order granting the specialized driving privileges upon request by a police officer.

Specialized driving privileges shall be granted for a minimum of one hundred eighty (180) days.

The new law also provides that that  a person who knowingly or intentionally violates a condition imposed by the court in its order commits a Class C misdemeanor. Upon conviction, in addition to the statutory penalty imposed, the court may modify or revoke the specialized driving privileges and order the Indiana Bureau of Motor Vehicles to lift the stay of a suspension of driving privileges and suspend the person’s driving license as originally ordered.

Rick Beers is an experienced Fort Wayne lawyer that can help some suspended drivers. Contact BEERS LAW OFFICE at (260) 428-2203 if you are interested in trying to obtain specialized driving privileges in the State of Indiana.

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