You find that your Indiana driver’s license has been suspended and you really are trying to drive to work legally, how do you fix this? Well, for some people the Specialized Driving Privilege is the way; but for others perhaps not. It can be a complicated question and usually starts with a thorough review of your Indiana Bureau of Motor Vehicles (BMV) driving record. This could mean that a review of the record shows that they have one or two unpaid tickets that just need to be “cleaned up.” This is not an ideal scenario for a Specialized Driving Privilege. For other people, there could be several items on the BMV record that show a suspension and a Specialized Driving Privilege may help in this scenario. But the question you want answered is whether or not a Specialized Driving Privilege is available for you.
The Habitual Traffic Violator and the Specialized Driving Privilege
How one becomes deemed a “habitual traffic violator” under Indiana law can vary, but for simplicities sake let’s just say that for most people it involves either getting several minor offenses within a specified time period or getting three major moving violations with a certain time period (think OWI’s). For most people with this designation, they are either facing a 10 year designation or a lifetime suspension from the BMV. Regardless of which one the BMV has chosen for you based on your record, both involve a lengthy suspension.
What I have seen from my experience is that the Specialized Driving Privilege seems to best fit the people who are suspended for a ten year period as a result of the HTV designation or people who may have the lifetime suspension, but have not met the time requirements to request a court to rescind that lifetime suspension. The Specialized Driving Privilege has to run for a minimum of six months from when it is issued to a maximum of two and a half years (but it can be renewed). Indiana courts also have quite a bit of latitude in how they craft a person’s Specialized Driving Privilege. If you are designated HTV because of several Operating While Intoxicated offenses, typically judges are going to require that you have some sort of ignition interlock device on your car as a term of your Specialized Driving Privilege. However, if you are suspended because you had a “heavy foot” from thirty years ago and then you kept getting a variety of minor driving offenses, the court may allow you to have a more generalized Specialized Driving Privilege.
When is a Specialized Driving Privilege not useful?
I use to think the Specialized Driving Privilege was useful for everyone with a suspended license, but like most things in life, experience will teach you otherwise. In my opinion, the Specialized Driving Privilege is not worth the cost and attorney fees associated with obtaining it, if you are facing a suspension of ninety days or less from the BMV. It tends to take six to eight weeks from hiring the attorney, filing the petition, getting into court, and then finally getting the BMV to update your driving record to make it happen. It has been my experience that this process just simply does not work out well for most people in this type of suspension, so, I generally do not recommend it anymore.
I have also found that if a person has several suspensions from a variety of courts in Indiana, the Specialized Driving Privilege may not work in that case as well based on the way the law is written.
If you have questions about your license suspension, feel free to give me a call at 574-387-6529.