Apply for Specialized Driving Privileges in Indiana
When someone has their Indiana driver’s license suspended everyday tasks quickly become a much larger burden. No longer are they able to drive to work, pick up some groceries from across town, or shuttle the kids back and forth from home to school to soccer and dance class. Thankfully, however, it doesn’t have to stay this way. Many Hoosiers in this situation can apply for specialized driving privileges in Indiana, which if granted would allow them to drive to and from important activities in their day-to-day life.
While the process is rather straightforward, the statutory requirements and strict petition guidelines necessary to apply for specialized driving privileges in Indiana can be confusing. Therefore, if you need help obtaining specialized driving privileges the Indiana driver’s license suspension attorneys at Keffer Hirschauer LLP would be happy to assist you. Our attorneys have extensive experience handling these types of petitions and can provide you with a stronger chance at getting back on the road. To speak with an Indianapolis attorney today call 317-751-7186 or complete our online contact form to schedule a free consultation.
The Basics: Privileges, Eligibility, and Violations
In the most general sense, specialized driving privileges are a set of unique circumstances that permit a person with a suspended license to drive to and from very specific locations. These privileges can only be granted by an Indiana court and are completely unique to each petitioner’s personal situation.
Indiana courts often will only grant specialized driving privileges that allow a driver to travel to and from their place of employment. However, courts can also grant a petitioner specialized driving privileges that allow for them to continue providing high-level care to their children. This could include the ability to drop off/pick up the kids from school or daycare, make a parenting time exchange, or attend a medical or dental appointment.
When granting specialized driving privileges, courts may stipulate certain parameters by which the suspended driver must abide. For example, if the driver is only allowed to travel to and from work, the court may stipulate which days the person can drive to work, at what time the person can drive to and from work, and even, the routes a person may take to work. In situations where the driver has certain privileges related to childcare, the court may stipulate that the driver can only drive to certain locations like the children’s school or doctor’s office, or the home of the child’s other parent/guardian.
Other Places That Could Be Included in Specialized Driving Privileges
- Counseling or other court-ordered treatment
- Attending to or caring for an elderly family member
- Attending medical or dental appointments
- Attending Higher or Continuing Education Classes
Sometimes the court may impose additional conditions when granting someone permission to drive on a suspended license. For example, when the petitioner has had their driver’s license suspended due to a violation of Indiana’s drinking and driving laws, the court could require them to have an ignition interlock device installed. This device prevents the engine of the car from starting until the driver passes a Breath Alcohol Concentration test (BAC test). In these situations, the driver is also required to absorb the installation and rental costs of the device.
Every petition for specialized driving privileges is unique, and courts are willing to consider any valid reason that is presented to them. However, the petitioner must adequately persuade the court of the seriousness of the request, which often is more challenging than one would imagine. Therefore, anyone who hopes to gain privileges beyond simply traveling to work should strongly consider utilizing the services of a skilled specialized driving privileges attorney when building and filing their petition.
When someone wants to apply for specialized driving privileges in Indiana, they must first make sure that they are eligible to apply. 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, including:
- 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.
- 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,
- a person who 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.
Violations and Penalties
When someone is granted specialized driving privileges in Indiana, it’s vital that they fully understand the conditions under which they can drive. Failure to do so could result in additional criminal charges and put your ability to drive back at risk. For example, let’s say that the court order granting your specialized driving privileges states that you can only drive to work on a specific route between 9-9:30 am, but you are stopped by police while driving to get lunch with friends on a non-sanctioned street around noon. In this situation, you risk being charged with violating the conditions of your specialized driving privileges, a Class C Misdemeanor in Indiana. If convicted, you could face between 0-60 days in jail and a fine of up $500. In addition, the court that granted the order may also choose to modify or revoke your specialized driving privileges.
Requirements for Eligible Drivers to Apply for Specialized Driving Privileges in Indiana
To apply for specialized driving privileges in Indiana following a license suspension, you must follow precise statutory requirements while preparing and filing your petition. If the suspension originated from the Bureau of Motor Vehicles, you’ll start by filing a petition in the relevant, local court. Per Indiana Code 9-30-16-4(b), the petition must:
- Include the driver’s verification (meaning the petition is signed under oath)
- State your age, date of birth, and address
- State the grounds for relief (why are you requesting permission to drive despite suspension?) and the relief sought (where do you need to drive?)
- Be filed in the county in which you reside, or, for non-Indiana residents, in the county of the most recent moving violation judgment
- Be filed in a circuit or superior court
- Be served on the Bureau of Motor Vehicles and the prosecuting attorney
When determining which county is appropriate for filing the petition, you’ll want to look at Indiana Code 9-30-16-4(d). This section of Indiana law states that if the individual is an Indiana resident, the petition must be filed in the county in which the individual resides. However, if that person is subject to an active administrative suspension under this section in addition to an active court ordered suspension, the petition must be filed in the court that has ordered or imposed a suspension of the individual’s driving privileges. Finally, if the individual was an Indiana resident at the time the individual’s driving privileges were suspended but is currently a nonresident, their petition must be filed in the county in which the individual’s most recent Indiana moving violation judgment was entered against the individual.
The process of applying for specialized driving privileges may seem simple, but many individuals make rather common mistakes, like forgetting to include required information or filing the petition in the wrong county; while others fail to properly serve the petition on the BMV or prosecutor. Given this, and the strict rules governing your application, it would be wise to seek legal representation from a specialized driving privileges attorney.
Common Mistakes When Filing a Specialized Driving Privileges Petition
- Filing Petition in the Wrong County or Court
- Omitting Required Information
- Failure to Properly Serve the Petition to the Prosecutor
- Failure to Properly Serve the Petition to the BMV
- Failure to Properly Complete the Petition, Under Oath
Even if your petition contains all the right information, is filed in the right place, and is properly served, it is still up to a judge to determine whether to grant or deny your request for specialized driving privileges. In the case of suspensions ordered by the court, the prosecutor may oppose the petition, and the judge issuing the suspension may be skeptical about lifting it for even limited purposes. Assertive and thorough legal representation by an experienced traffic or criminal defense attorney can help ensure that filing for these privileges goes as smoothly as possible.
Ready to Apply for Specialized Driving Privileges in Indiana?
If you currently hold a suspended Indiana driver’s license but would like to apply for specialized driving privileges in Indiana, it’s highly recommended that you work with an experienced specialized driving privileges attorney. This will better ensure no small mistakes are made when preparing or filing your petition, and ultimately, give you a better chance to being able to get back to some semblance of your previous life.
If you would like to speak with an attorney today, call Keffer Hirschauer LLP at 317-751-7186 or complete our online contact form to schedule a free consultation. Our team would be happy to help you try to reinstate some of your Indiana driving privileges as soon as possible.