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Restricted drivers’ licenses

If you have had your driver’s license suspended due to a conviction for DUI or another similar offense, then you may, in some circumstances, be able to apply for a restricted driver’s license.

These restricted licenses are sometimes called probationary licenses, work licenses, Cinderella licenses or OLL (occupational limited license) licenses (Pennsylvania, for instance).

They are not usually available to anybody who has had their license revoked or refused – only to those who have had their licenses suspended for a given period.

The reason for allowing a restricted driver’s license is that certain people may demonstrate that their livelihood depends on being able to drive or there is some other very pressing reason why they need to be able to drive.

Examples of reasons why restricted driver’s licenses are issued include:

  • you need to drive to work
  • you need to drive to school or college
  • you have a dependent who has to travel to and from somewhere
  • it is the only way that you can get groceries
  • it is the only way that you can get to necessary medical treatment or in an emergency
  • you need it to go to religious services.

Every state has its own rules about restricted drivers’ licenses

Not all states have a restricted driver’s license system, while there are considerable variations between states as to what they will and will not allow.

If, for instance, you have never had a license issued in the state that your own license has been suspended, then you are unlikely to get a restricted license.

Normally, you have to complete an application form to apply for a restricted driver’s license explaining in detail the reasons why you think it is important you are still allowed to drive. There will also be a fee for the license and you will need to get a photo taken for your new license, if granted.

Restricted licenses are exactly what the name suggests. They are only valid for the period that your suspension is in place and there may be a variety of restrictions attached. This may include such things as an ignition interlock system, especially if you were convicted of a DUI / DWI charge, you may be confined to a certain route or only allowed to drive at certain times of the day or week. You may also not be allowed to take passengers.

Restricted licenses are issued on a case by case basis

Restricted driver’s licenses are normally issued on a case by case basis and your particular circumstances are carefully taken into consideration. If you have been a repeat offender then it is unlikely you will be granted permission. If you live in a remote area or even way out of town, it is more likely that you will be allowed to get a restricted license.

Lastly, just because you are on a restricted license does not mean that you cannot get further traffic violations, get points added and pay fines. If you receive any more traffic violations, then you may find that your restricted license is itself suspended or revoked completely.


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