What is a Hardship License in Kentucky, and how can I obtain one after I am convicted of a DUI?

In Kentucky, if you are convicted of a DUI, you may request from the court a temporary, or hardship, license to use during the period that your license is suspended for DUI. A hardship license is never available immediately after a DUI conviction, as the legislature mandates a minimum ‘hard-time’ initial suspension.

One may petition the District Court for a hardship license at the following times:

  1. For a first offense: after 30 days;
  2. For a second offense: after 12 months;
  3. For a third offense: after 24 months; and
  4. For a fourth or subsequent offense: no hardship license is available during the 60 month suspension period.

The District Court has exclusive jurisdiction over the decision of whether or not to issue a hardship license, and the County attorney has a right to object. See KRS 189A.400. Having a lawyer by your side is crucial if you suspect that the County will object to your request, as you may not get a second chance at presenting your request.

The District Court will evaluate the following factors in its decision of whether or not to issue a hardship license (See KRS 189A.410(1)):

  1. Required to continue his/her employment;
  2. Required to continue attending school or an educational institution;
  3. Required to obtain necessary medical care;
  4. Required to attend driver improvement, alcohol, or substance abuse education programs; or
  5. Required to attend court-ordered counseling or other programs.

If the District Court issues a hardship license, it may also require the person to install an Ignition Interlock Device (New Section Coming Soon), but that is not a requirement.

In order to apply for a hardship license, speak to your attorney about filing out an application for a Hardship License. It will need to be accompanied by an Affidavit to be filled out by your alcohol/drug education program provider, employer, educator, physician, etc. This will be your temporary “license” to operate a motor vehicle for your essential day-to-day needs. See KRS 189A.420.

Please Note: All the above information assumes that you complied with your statutory requirement to blow into the Intoxilyzer 5000EN (which I personally highly discourage) and you did not refuse the test. No hardship license is available during the refusal suspension period. You may petition the court to reconsider the refusal suspension at the half-way point, however.

Finally, if you are later convicted of your DUI, you may petition for a hardship license as per the times denoted above despite the refusal suspension time (assuming it has already elapsed), but the court will not likely grant it as the legislature seems to prohibit it. See KRS 189A.410(3).

The full procedure of what goes on during the issuance of a hardship license is outlined in 601 KAR 12:060.

For CDL hardship license and suspension please see the CDL DUI Section.

If you need help with a DUI charge, or would like to apply for a hardship license, you need competent and experienced counsel to help you with your case. Do not delay, call the DUI Guy today.

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