A conviction for operating while intoxicated (OWI) is serious enough on its own. Unfortunately, the collateral consequences associated with losing your license can quickly become unbearable. Under Indiana law, driving is considered a “privilege,” but it is a critical necessity for nearly everyone who needs to get to work, to take care of their children or even go grocery shopping.
If you lost your license due to an OWI (also called DUI and DWI), the good news is that you may have an option to legally stay behind the wheel: Specialized driving privileges (SDP). If your SDP petition is approved, your driving privileges will likely be restricted, but you will at least be able to take care of your most important driving tasks.
That being said, it is a good idea to work with an experienced attorney on your SDP petition, because the process can be complicated, with endless opportunities for mistakes.
Why your petition could be rejected
Like nearly all legal processes, seeking SDP is unnecessarily complex and confusing for the average person trying to handle it on their own. You need to follow a long list of special procedures, the details of which may change depending on the reason for your license suspension and how it was initiated. There are many common reasons why SDP petitions get rejected, including:
- The application was filed in the wrong county
- The applicant failed to include some required information
- The applicant failed to serve the petition on the appropriate party (the prosecutor and/or the bureau of motor vehicles)
- The applicant did not sign the petition under oath
- The applicant did not check to see if they were eligible for SDP before applying
- The applicant did not make a compelling argument for why they should be granted SDP and a judge denied the request
With so much complexity involved, most people would be lucky complete the process on their own without errors or omissions.
Safeguard your petition by working with an attorney
The easiest way to go through the petition process is to work with an experienced criminal defense attorney who can ensure all rules and requirements are met. They can also help you present the strongest possible case for why you need and should be granted specialized driving privileges. Hiring an attorney is not a guarantee of success, but it is a big improvement over the alternative of trying to navigate this bureaucratic maze on your own.