Does Indiana Allow Driving Privileges to be Restored?

March 24, 2017

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  • Indiana lawmakers have made it easier for residents to reinstate their driving privileges. The law, which took effect January 1, 2015, gives judges and Indiana Bureau of Motor Vehicle (BMV) officials the discretion to grant special driving privileges to those with suspended licenses. With thousands of Indianans having suspended driving privileges, the law aims at easing the pressure of an overburdened judicial system. Under the rule, drivers who have committed certain offenses can request to retain, or regain, their driving privileges for a minimum of six months.

    Related content: How to expunge an Indiana conviction

    David Powell with the Indiana Prosecuting Attorneys is quoted stating, “We have lots of folks suspended and they can’t get reinstated often times. Judges will have the authority in the future to give specialized driving privileges where they did not have that authority before.” The bill was designed to help the punishment fit the crime. As an example, a person in Indiana could have their driver’s license suspended for failing to pay child support. The law now makes this person eligible to receive special driving privileges so that they can continue working and earning a livelihood.

    Judges still may lay out guidelines for drivers, such as when and where the driver may travel; but, this is still a much better option compared to not having the ability to drive at all. However, the following drivers may not petition to have their rights restored:

    • Those who have never held a valid Indiana driver’s license
    • CDL license holders
    • Those who have been convicted of an offense involving the operation of a motor vehicle and causing the death of another person
    • Those who have refused a chemical test

    The decision of whether to grant special driving privileges is discretionary and decided on a case-by-case basis.

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