Applying for a Hardship License in Florida

Jacksonville DUI Defense Attorneys

DUI is a very serious offense in the State of Florida. Besides facing severe penalties and a conviction, DUI defendants face a loss of their driver license and consequently may not able to get to their job or school.

Below are instructions on how to apply for a hardship license, after you have been arrested for DUI in Jacksonville, Clay, Nassau, or St. Johns Counties (note that this applies to first time offenders ONLY).

First, you have two options within 10 days of being arrested in Jacksonville:

  • Challenge the administrative suspension of your driver license (if you blew above .08 or refused). The hearing will be scheduled and officers and breath test operator will appear and testify under oath.
  • Waive the administrative suspension hearing and immediately get your hardship license.

Again you must apply within 10 days of your arrest or you will be without a driver license for 30 days, for a breath test above .08, or 90 days for a refusal. Your DUI citation serves as your permit to drive for 10 days.

Applying for a Hardship License Is a 3 Step Process

1) You MUST sign up for DUI school, Level 1, with the Northeast Florida Safety Counsel (for Jacksonville, Nassau, Clay, and St. Johns Counties). Here is a link to the Northeast Florida Safety Council’s webpage. Their website provides you with information on how to sign up for DUI school and what documents you will need when you go in person. They are located at 1725 Art Museum Drive, Jacksonville, FL 32207 and the phone (904) 399-3119.

  • Please note, they will want your complete arrest and booking report, which you likely will not have. You can get it from a police station in the county where you were arrested. We request them online for our clients, and get them within 1 day or so.
  • You also have to prove your residency, so make sure to look at the list on their website of the documents they will accept, before you go.
  • You have to go in person to sign up for DUI School, so please be aware of that. You can pre-register online to start the process.



2) Once you signed up for DUI school and have a receipt, you will need to go to the DMV Administrative Review Office located at 7439 Wilson Blvd., Jacksonville, FL 32210.

  • Please note you may be able to do the hearing over the phone in certain circumstances, such as when you are injured or are far away from Jacksonville (St. Johns County cases).
  • Please note the hardship license hearings are held on first come, first served basis. Get there early, they open at 8am and close at 5pm. You may want to call them first (904) 777-2132. They take the last application for hardship license at 4pm.
  • When you go to the Jacksonville DMV administrative review office for a hardship license hearing, they will ask you whether you will waive your right to an administrative review hearing on your suspension. If you want a hardship license, the answer will be “yes.”
  • At the Jacksonville DMV administrative review office you will fill out a hardship license application. You must bring it with proof of enrollment in DUI school and a $25 filing fee.
  • At the hardship license hearing, the hearing officer will ask you a series of questions, including what you learned from this experience and why do you need to drive.
  • There are different types of hardship licenses. The one most people need is the “business purposes only” driver license, which includes the ability to drive to work, school, medical reasons, and church. Make sure to list all reasons as to why you need to drive.

3) Once you have been approved for the hardship license at the Jacksonville administrative review DMV office, there are two options to get your hardship license. Depending on the hearing officer, some may immediately give you the ability to drive, while you are there and give you a temporary paper license to drive. Your hardship license will be mailed to you within 5 to 7 business days. If you do not receive it in the mail, take your paperwork to the tax collector’s office and they will provide it for you.

  • If they do not reinstate your hardship license at the DMV office immediately, you will need to go to the regular DMV or tax collector’s office to pay the reinstatement fees and get your hardship license (it will look just like your regular driver license, but will have a business purposes only restriction on it).

For assistance with your Florida hardship license, call The Law Offices of Kate Mesic at (904) 615-8950 to schedule a complimentary initial consultation with our Jacksonville DUI lawyers.


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