How to Obtain a Hardship License in Indiana

by Mary Jane Freeman

Indiana drivers with a suspended license can apply for a specialized driver license, once called a hardship license, for limited driving privileges. Although these limits can differ based on the reason for the suspension, common restrictions include only being allowed to drive to and from work, doctor appointments or court-related sessions. Unlike some states, Indiana requires drivers to submit a specialized license application to the court rather than the Bureau of Motor Vehicles.

Causes of Suspension

Indiana law gives courts and the Bureau of Motor Vehicles authority to suspend licenses for certain traffic offenses or failure to carry required documents. Common violations include failure to pay a traffic ticket, maintain car insurance while operating a vehicle and habitually violating traffic laws within a 10-year period.


Indiana law doesn't talk about who is eligible for a specialized license, but rather who is not. Disqualified drivers are those who have never had an Indiana license, refused to take a chemical test or were convicted of causing a death while driving. Drivers who hold a commercial license aren't eligible for a specialized license.


Your Indiana driving record is available on the BMV website. The earliest date you can drive again without restriction is listed in the Reinstatement Requirements section. The Viewable Driver Record is free. The certified Official Driver Record costs $4. You must petition the court for a specialized license to restore driving privileges earlier than this date. If a court ordered your suspension, file it with that court. If the BMV ordered the suspension, file it in any courthouse in your county.

Additional Requirements

You must maintain car insurance once your driving privileges are reinstated. Keep proof of coverage with you or your vehicle at all times and present it to law enforcement upon request. Other conditions that may be imposed, depending on the circumstances, include limiting use of the vehicle to certain days and times or to and from certain locations. If the suspension was for a DUI, the state may require the driver to install an ignition interlock device. It renders your vehicle inoperable if it detects alcohol in your system after a breath test. Specialized driving privileges last at least six months.

More Articles

article divider