If you are arrested and charged with driving while intoxicated (DWI), your ability to do what hundreds of thousands do every day may be seriously curtailed. A DWI arrest may remind you that possessing a driver's license is a privilege and not a right and is only meant for those who don't get convicted of DWI. Read on for an overview of what to expect with your driving privileges after an arrest.
Automatic License Suspension
In most cases, the department of motor vehicles (DMV) won't give those arrested for DWI the benefit of the doubt about their guilt. You might not have been guilty of that DWI, but your license will be suspended immediately after an arrest. The license you held and that you used without thought is now worthless, and you may face a long and difficult road to get a new one.
Hardship Driver's License
You may have heard of others with a suspended license that was issued a so-called "hardship license". Being able to drive legally again, even when you are found innocent of the charges, will be a challenge. In the meantime, you may need to take your children to school and yourself to work or school. Your first step after being arrested is to speak to a DWI lawyer about your case. A limited or hardship license may be an option if you meet the guidelines. Special driver's licenses cover you when your case is still pending as well as after a conviction. If your attorney can convince the judge that you are not a danger to the public, you may be issued a special permit to drive. Your chances depend on:
- Previous arrests – particularly for DWI.
- Enhanced charges – if the arrest was concurrent with an accident, someone was injured, a child was in the car, other crimes were committed, etc., your chances at a special license are reduced.
Limited Driving Privileges
The following rules may come along with a hardship or limited license:
- You can only drive to certain locations like work, school, the grocery store, etc.
- You can only drive during certain times of the day or days of the week.
An arrest is not a conviction, and a lot of things can happen between the arrest and the final outcome. If your attorney is able to get you a good plea deal, your case might be over quickly. The plea deal or the sentencing if you go to court will have provisions dealing with your driving privileges. In many cases, drivers are eventually able to get their licenses back after paying thousands in fees and fines. Speak to your DWI attorney to find out more.