In many parts of Indiana, it is difficult to get around without your own vehicle. Public transportation may be spotty or take a long time, and the locations people need to visit may be too far away to reach on foot or on bicycle.
For this reason, losing your license – due to an offense like operating a vehicle while intoxicated (OWI), for instance – can be devastating. Thankfully, if this has happened to you, it may be possible to obtain specialized driving privileges (SDPs) and regain some of your travel freedoms. While limited, SDPs do allow individuals to meet their most essential travel needs.
Common travel permissions granted with SDPs
Not everyone will qualify for specialized driving privileges. And even if you do qualify, the court can place unique restrictions on where you can travel and for what purpose. That being said, individuals granted SDPs are commonly allowed to:
- Drive to and from work: Losing your job because you lost your license can set you on a path to years of financial and personal hardship. Most judges understand this and want to help petitioners maintain steady employment, if possible.
- Drive to and from school: Whether you are driving yourself or transporting your children, SDPs often include travel permissions for education.
- Tend to the needs of family members: In addition to driving your kids to school, you may need to drive them to extracurricular and social activities. Maybe you have aging parents who need your assistance with grocery shopping. Maybe your spouse cannot drive for medical reasons and relies on you for transportation. Courts will often allow you to fulfill these important obligations.
- Drive to medical appointments: Whether you or a family member is the patient, this is commonly recognized as an important reason to travel.
- Attend religious services: If you have a faith practice and need to get to church or another type of religious service, judges may include this in your SDP.
Although the scenarios listed above are among the most common, you can petition the court for any unique travel need you may have. It will be important to make a compelling case for why such travel is necessary.
Seeking legal help is critical
As mentioned above, SDPs are not guaranteed, nor will a judge necessarily grant every travel request you make. To give yourself the best chance at a successful outcome, it’s a good idea to seek the help of an experienced criminal defense attorney who understands the nuances, limitations and opportunities associated with specialized driving privileges.