How to Get a Restricted License to Drive to Work

To get a restricted license to drive to work after a DUI-related license suspension, one must do 3 things: (1) serve a 30-day hard suspension with no driving, (2) obtain an SR-22 Form, (3) enroll in a DUI school and (4) pay a $125.00 fee to the DMV.

A restricted license allows a person to drive in very limited situations. These include going to and from work and going to and from DUI school.

Not every person arrested for DUI is eligible to receive a restricted license to drive to work. Drivers are generally ineligible if:

  1. they were driving on a suspended/revoked license when they were stopped for DUI, or
  2. they refused to take a chemical test after being arrested for DUI.

Note that following a DUI:

  • the arresting officer seizes the person's driver's license, and
  • the DMV can suspend the license.

The length of the suspension will be:

  • up to four months (if a first-time DUI conviction), or
  • up to one year (if a second or subsequent DUI conviction).

A driver can challenge this suspension by requesting a DMV hearing.

Our California criminal defense attorneys will highlight the following in this article:

restricted license
A driver must take several steps following a DUI arrest to get a restricted license to drive to work.

1. How can a person get a restricted license to drive to work in California?

A driver must complete several steps to get a restricted license to drive to work following a DUI arrest. These are:

  1. serve a minimum license suspension period of 30 days,
  2. enroll in a DUI school,
  3. pay a fee of $125.00 at any local DMV field office, and
  4. purchase an SR-22 Form from a licensed insurance agent.1

An SR-22 Form is a California Proof of Insurance Certificate. It proves to the DMV that a driver is insured.2

Note that, in addition to the above, an arrestee may have to enroll in other court-ordered programs. Some of these may include:

  • an AA group,
  • a drug addiction support group, or
  • rehab.

If this is the case, the driver just needs to enroll in the program for license eligibility. It is not necessary that the person complete the program to receive a restricted license.

2. Is everyone eligible for a restricted license?

Not every person arrested for DUI is eligible to receive a restricted license to drive to work.

Ineligibility generally applies to:

  1. drivers who were driving on a suspended/revoked license when they were stopped for DUI, and
  2. drivers that refused to take a chemical test after being arrested for DUI.3

Ineligibility may also apply in the case of a “hard suspension.” A judge will impose this in some DUI cases involving a:

Hard suspension is a period of time where an arrestee cannot drive at all. A person, though, will be eligible for a restricted license after the hard suspension period ends.

Note that restricted licenses are only available for personal driving privileges. Drivers cannot get a restricted license for commercial driving purposes.4

man working office job
A restricted license allows you to drive to and from work

3. Where and when can a person drive with a restricted license?

With a restricted license, a motorist is authorized to drive:

  • to and from work, and
  • during the course and scope of work.

A driver is also authorized to drive to and from a required DUI school.

A restricted license is specifically intended to prevent pleasure driving. This same intent applies to convenience driving for the period of time the license is in effect.

4. What happens with a person's driver's license after a DUI?

Following a DUI:

  • the arresting officer seizes the person's driver's license, and
  • the DMV can suspend the license.

The length of the suspension will be:

  • up to four months (if a first-time DUI conviction), or
  • up to one year (if a second or subsequent DUI conviction).

Note that a person can challenge this suspension by requesting a DMV hearing.

A person makes this request by:

  • contacting a Driver Safety Office (located in the county where the arrest was made), and
  • asking the office for a stay and a hearing.

An arrestee has to make this request within 10-days from the date of the arrest.

A DMV hearing is an administrative procedure where:

  • an arrestee appears before a DMV hearing officer, and
  • tries to prevent the Department from suspending his/her driving privileges.5

A hearing runs like a criminal trial. The DMV and the driver have the opportunity to present evidence and prove their respective cases. Note that a driver has the right to be represented by a DUI lawyer at these hearings.6

After the evidence is presented, the hearing officer rules for or against the driver. If for, then a suspension is set aside. If against, the officer orders a period of license suspension or revocation.7

For additional help...

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For additional guidance or to discuss your case with a criminal defense attorney, we invite you to contact us at Shouse Law Group.


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