Driving for Hardship Purposes after a DUI Conviction

Florida Hardship License

If you are convicted of DUI, the court must revoke your driver’s license for at least six (6) months. Of course, the best way to avoid the court-ordered revocation is to avoid the DUI conviction entirely. For example, if your DUI is reduced to reckless driving, the Court is not required to suspend or revoke the driver’s license.

If you must enter a plea to DUI, you might be eligible for a restricted license (sometimes called the “hardship license”). Unfortunately, the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (DHSMV) is taking longer to issue the hardship license.

The DHSMV will not act on your application for a restricted license (hardship) until after the court-ordered revocation appears on the driving record. It might take several weeks for it to show up after the conviction. You can check the DHSMV’s online DL check for free to determine when the driving record has been updated.

After that, the department will process your application for a restricted license (hardship) (HSMV 78306)(Rev. 1/2022), which must include a check or money order for $12 made payable to “Division of Motorist Service” and proof of completion of DUI school.

You must complete the application perfectly because if there is even one mistake, the DHSMV will close the request and make you reapply.

If the application is completed correctly, the department will cash the check and review the application. The hearing officer will call you for the hearing from a restricted number. If you miss the first call, they will call two more times. If you miss all three calls, the department will close the request, and you must start over. So answer your phone, especially if it comes from a restricted number.

The department will send you written confirmation if you are approved for a hardship. You do not need to wait for written confirmation to get the plastic hardship license at the DHSMV.

The department will process the requests in the order they are received, so there is no good way to know when you might be called. The DHSMV is taking forever to process applications. For example, we learned today that the department is working on applications received 7/19/22, a 41-day delay. This 41 day delay explains why obtaining the 45-day temporary paper hardship permit is important. Normally, the request is processed within 30 days.

Obtaining a 45-Day Temporary Paper Hardship Permit

If you apply for the hardship license, how do you obtain the 45-day temporary paper hardship permit? To get the permit immediately after the plea, you need the Court to sign an “order of reinstatement.” A sample of this order is provided below.

The department must immediately issue the 45-day temporary paper hardship permit as explained in Florida Statute Section 322.282, if you present the following documents at your local Bureau of Administrative Reviews (BAR) office:

  • the “order of reinstatement” signed by the judge;
  • proof of completion of a department-approved driver training or substance abuse education course; and
  • a written request for a hardship hearing under s. 322.271.

What is the “order of reinstatement”? Florida Statute Section 322.282(2)(a) requires the order of reinstatement to be issued on a “form to be furnished by the department.” So where is the form?

DHSMV hasn’t yet created the form. I recently confirmed this fact with one of the field administrators for the Bureau of Administrative Reviews. That same field administrator told me that an attorney could draft their own form by tracking the statutory language. I also confirmed that the sample “order of reinstatement” below is sufficient.

We expect this process will continue to change over time. If you have any suggestions for obtaining the hardship or paper permit that are not included here, please email me at Lsammis@sammislawfirm.com and cc Jennifer@sammislawfirm.com so we can update this article.

Sample “Order of Reinstatement” Form

We confirmed with the department that the verbiage in the sample “order of reinstatement” listed below is sufficient for now. We expect the department will eventually issue a standard form for the “order of reinstatement” as required by statute.





STATE OF FLORIDA,                                CITATION NO.: ________

v. ______________________,                  CASE NO.: ____________________

Defendant. _____________________/         DIVISION: _____________



On ______day of ________, 2022, this Court adjudicated the below-named Defendant guilty of DUI and has granted this order of reinstatement pursuant to Florida Statute Section 322.282(2)(a).

Defendant may use this order of reinstatement, along with the other required documents, to obtain a temporary driver permit from the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (hereinafter “the department”), if otherwise eligible. The Court approves the DHSMV issuing a hardship license if the Defendant is otherwise eligible.

According to Florida Statute Section 322.282(2)(a), the department shall issue a temporary driving permit (often called the 45-day permit) to a licensee who presents the court’s order of reinstatement, proof of completion of a department-approved driver training or substance abuse education course, and a written request for a hearing under s. 322.271, if otherwise eligible.


Judge’s Signature


Driver’s Name


Driver’s Date of Birth


Driver’s License Number


Court Case Number



What Happens to the Florida Driver’s License for an Out-of-State Conviction

The process is the same if you are convicted out of state for a DUI-type offense. The other state will report the DUI-type conviction to Florida. When Florida receives notice of the out-of-state DUI conviction, it will send you a written notice that your Florida driver’s license will be revoked for at least six (6) months (in the same way it would have been revoked if the DUI conviction had occurred in Florida).

The notice of suspension will tell you the effective date of the revocation. On that date, you can apply for the hardship hearing and attempt to get the immediate 45-day temporary paper hardship permit if this is a first offense. Otherwise, the process is the same.