Common Questions: Specialized Driving Privileges in Indiana
Anyone who has had their Indiana driver’s license suspended knows just how much of a burden it can be to go through life without being able to use a motor vehicle. It complicates a variety of everyday tasks, from getting to work, going to the grocery, or just picking up the kids from school. However, it doesn’t have to be this way. Those who are eligible for specialized driving privileges may be able to restore some of their driving privileges, allowing them to drive to and from critical activities in their daily life.
If you need help understanding your eligibility for specialized driving privileges or are not sure how to apply, the Indiana driver’s license suspension attorneys at Keffer Hirschauer LLP are ready to assist you. We have a strong understanding of the statutory procedures that govern applications for specialized driving privileges in Indiana and can provide you with the best chance of getting back on the road. To speak with one of our Indianapolis attorneys today 317-857-0160 or complete our online contact form to schedule a free consultation.
What are Specialized Driving Privileges in Indiana?
Generally, specialized driving privileges in Indiana are a set of unique circumstances that allow a driver with a suspended license to drive to and from specific locations. These privileges are tailored to each individual’s personal situation and can only be granted by an Indiana court.
Most often, specialized driving privileges only grant a driver with a suspended Indiana driver’s license the permission to drive to and from work. The court may also place specific time windows and other details on the person’s driving privileges. For example, they may only be allowed to drive to work on certain days of the week, may only take a certain route, and must make their commute within a certain timeframe.
It’s not uncommon for courts to also grant specialized driving privileges allowing for a person to drive for the purpose of childcare; such as driving children to and from school or daycare, making a parenting time exchange, or attending medical or dental appointments. In situations like this, the address of the parent’s home, the children’s school and other approved destinations would be included in the court’s order. Furthermore, the court has the ability to specify which days of the week the driver can utilize these privileges, as well as the time of day.
Examples of Other Places the Court May Allow a Person to Drive To:
- Counseling or other treatment ordered by a court
- Caring for an elderly parent
- Attending medical or dental appointments
- Attending college or a technical school
Since every person’s situation is unique, courts are willing to consider any valid reason a person may have in the petition for specialized driving privileges in Indiana.
Additional Conditions for Specialized Driving Privileges
Sometimes the court imposes additional conditions when granting limited permission to drive on a limited license. For instance, when someone has had their Indiana driver’s license suspended due to an alcohol-related offense, the court could require that the driver have an ignition interlock device installed. This device ensures the car will not start until the user passes a breath test aimed at detecting alcohol. When a court requires this sort of device be installed in a driver’s car, the driver shall absorb the cost of installation and rental, and only ignition interlock devices certified for use in Indiana may be used.
Who is Eligible for Specialized Driving Privileges?
Per Indiana Code 9-30-16-1, specialized driving privileges in Indiana may be applied to a license suspension of anyone who has held a driver’s license at the time of a criminal conviction in which the operation of a motor vehicle was an element of the offense; a conviction for operating a vehicle or boat while intoxicated; or committed the infraction of exceeding the worksite speed limit for the second time in a single year.
However, some individuals are NOT eligible for specialized driving privileges. This includes a person who has never been an Indiana resident; a person who committed the offense of operation of a motor vehicle causing death; a person whose suspension was a result of refusing a certified chemical test despite laws regarding implied consent in Indiana (unless granted under Indiana Code 9-30-6-8(d)); a person whose license or driving privileges have been revoked due to being found to be incompetent or unfit to operate a motor vehicle.
In addition, a person whose license has been suspended for reckless driving or for failure to stop when a school bus is stopped and its arm is extended, as described in Indiana Code 9-21-12-1, is not eligible to receive specialized driving privileges. Furthermore, if a person had previously been granted specialized driving privileges and has more than one conviction for violating a condition of these privileges, and the violation involved serious bodily injury or death, the offender would no longer be eligible for specialized driving privileges.
What is The Application Process?
If you’ve had your driver’s license suspended in Indiana by the BMV and would like to obtain specialized driving privileges, you must prepare and file a petition in accordance with the statutory requirements listed in Indiana Code 9-30-16-4. As stated in this section, the petition must be verified by the petitioner, and must include the petitioner’s age, date of birth, and address, as well as the grounds for relief (why are you requesting permission to drive despite your suspension?) and the relief sought (where you need to drive to). Furthermore, it must be filed in the circuit or superior court of the appropriate county, as determined under subsection (d) of this section and be served on the bureau and the prosecuting attorney.
It’s important to note that if your suspension was issued by a court, rather than the Indiana BMV, the contents and filing requirements for the petition are the same. However, your petition must be filed in every court that ordered or imposed a suspension. In situations like these, the prosecutor will be required to appear in court and argue the State’s position regarding whether your petition for specialized driving privileges should be granted, limited, or denied.
In the case of a suspension that was ordered by the court, the prosecutor may oppose the petition, and the judge issuing the suspension could be skeptical about lifting it for even limited purposes. Assertive and thorough legal representation by an experienced suspended driver’s license attorney in Indiana can help ensure that filing for these privileges goes as smoothly as possible. To speak with one today, call the Indianapolis attorneys at Keffer Hirschauer LLP at 317-857-0160 or complete our online contact form to schedule a free case consultation.
If Granted, Will My Privileges Transfer County-to-County?
Generally, yes. If granted, specialized driving privileges will transfer, or permit driving between, counties in Indiana, provided that you are driving within the confines of the conditions set forth in order the granting your specialized driving privileges. For example, if you live and work in Marion County, and the court order granting your specialized driving privileges states that you can only drive to and from work in Marion County, then your specialized driving privileges would not transfer to another county, as that would a violation of your order. However, if you lived in Marion County but worked in Boone County, and the conditions of your specialized driving privileges order allowed for you to commute to work, then yes, those privileges would extend from Marion County to Boone County.
What Constitutes a Violation of Driving Privileges?
When a person knowingly or intentionally breaks the conditions set forth in the order granting their specialized driving privileges in Indiana, they can be charged with a Class C Misdemeanor. For example, if the order granting your specialized driving privileges states that you may only drive to drop off the children at school between 7-7:30 am and then pick them up between 2-2:30 pm, but you are found driving to the grocery store later in the evening, you can be charged with violating the conditions of your specialized driving privileges. Not only would a conviction result in a Class Misdemeanor, but the court that issued the order may modify or revoke the specialized driving privileges you had previously been granted.
Why Do I Need a Specialized Driving Privileges Attorney?
If you have a suspended Indiana driver’s license and hope to obtain specialized driving privileges, it’s important to understand that the preparation and filing requirements are strict. It’s not uncommon for individuals to file their petition for specialized driving privileges, only to find that they’ve made a small mistake that has now prevented the granting of the petition.
Common Mistakes When Filing a Petition for Specialized Driving Privileges in Indiana
- Omitting Required Information
- Filing Petition in the Wrong County or Court
- Failure to Properly Serve the Petition to the BMV
- Failure to Properly Serve the Petition to the Prosecutor
- Failure to Properly Complete the Petition, Under Oath
Given the strict requirements governing the application for specialized driving privileges, as well as just how important it is for you to obtain these privileges, it would be wise to speak with a specialized driving privileges attorney prior to submitting your petition. If you would like to speak with one today, call Keffer Hirschauer LLP at 317-857-0160 or complete our online contact form to schedule a free consultation. Our team would be happy to help you determine the best course of action and to help you reinstate some of your Indiana driving privileges as soon as possible.