The Alabama hardship license is an allowance from the court to people with suspended driver licenses. Many states offer a hardship license or waiver so those whose driver licenses are suspended and revoked can continue to work, attend school, and engage in other necessary activities. Until a few years ago, Alabama did not offer any such opportunity. People routinely lost their jobs, had to quit college, and suffered other unintended consequences.
Since 2019, however, some people in the state with a suspended license have had the chance to apply and receive a hardship license. This license provides limited privileges to drive to and from specific locations. Keep reading to learn more about the Alabama hardship driver’s license.
What Is the Goal of the Alabama Hardship License?
The Alabama hardship license, allowed under Hardship Driver License Rule 760-X-1-.24, offers an opportunity for some offenders who cannot legally drive to regain limited driving privileges. The goal is to help them continue to live a full and productive life instead of causing significant issues with their work, school, or other activities.
This program is for those who have license suspensions not related to a public safety crime. It permits them to travel to a limited number of places for specific activities. There are no recreational or non-necessary trips allowed.
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Who Qualifies Someone for a Hardship License in Alabama?
According to the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency (ALEA), you must fall into one of several categories to qualify for this limited license. You must:
- Have a suspended license and be unable to meet your transportation needs otherwise
- Be released from Alabama Department of Corrections custody
- Be in a Community Corrections program
- Be participating in a Department of Corrections work-release program
These are just the general eligibility requirements. Those who wish to participate will also need to document that they are not a risk to public safety. They can do this by showing that they do not have any barred convictions or other contraindications.
Unlike many states, those who have a driver license suspension because of a drunk driving charge are not eligible for a hardship waiver in Alabama.
Where does a Hardship License Permit You to Drive?
There are strict limits on where a hardship license holder is allowed to drive. This generally includes several pre-approved locations such as:
- Their lawyer’s office or court proceedings
- Work, job training, job interviews
- School, where they take classes or attend training
- Their children’s school and school events
- Locations associated with their Community Corrections or work-release program
- To run necessary errands, such as grocery shopping
- Attending medical appointments, including mental health care
- Going to church
- Attending counseling or rehabilitation programs
This license is only valid in Alabama, and drivers cannot cross state lines. If you need to go into another state for any reason and have a hardship license, you will need to make other arrangements.
Who Is Ineligible for an Alabama Hardship Driver License?
While many people with a suspended driver license will qualify for a hardship licenses, many others will not. Those who had their license suspended or revoked because they committed a serious traffic offense under Ala. Code Title 32 will not qualify. This is because they are considered a danger to public safety behind the wheel.
Some examples of serious traffic offenses in Alabama include:
- Vehicular manslaughter
- Using a motor vehicle to commit a felony
- Leaving the scene of an injury or fatal crash
- Fleeing a police officer
- Drunk driving and related offenses under Ala. Code § 32-5A-191
Under the rules of the hardship license program, anyone who does not have a current license because of one of these offenses is ineligible for a hardship license. This means they will need to wait until their suspension or revocation is over before obtaining a license and driving privileges.
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What Is the Process to Apply for a Hardship License in Alabama?
You can download an online application for a hardship license and submit it via:
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Fax: (334) 353-9988
- Mail: ALEA Driver License Division, Hardship License Unit PO Box 1471 Montgomery, AL 36102
This application does require additional support and documentation, and it is not as simple as it may seem to get approved for this type of license. For this reason, you might decide to work with an attorney who handles these applications.
You will need to prove that you meet all the requirements, including that you have no other options for transportation. You might need proof of employment, enrollment in school, regular medical appointments, church attendance, or other approved destinations, as well.
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