Alabama’s New “Hardship” Driver License

Limited Driving Permit: In the 2018 legislative session, by Act 2018-289, the state of Alabama authorized for the first time a "hardship" driver license provision for any person was suspended or revoked and who could not obtain "reasonable transportation." The term "reasonable transportation" was left undefined by the Act, but established that the terms and conditions for issuance of a hardship driver license would be left to ALEA. The implementation of the issuance standards "…shall be subject to rules, terms, regulations, restrictions, and eligibility requirements established by the agency…" Code § 32-6-12.1(b). This act contravenes Code § 32-6-7 (2) and (3) which specifically state the Director shall not issue or renew a driver license to any person is presently suspended or revoked. One category of individuals who are statutorily ineligible to obtain a hardship driver license is [any] "person who has been adjudicated or convicted of driving under the influence…" Code § 32-6-12.1(d). An additional restriction is any person who is currently revoked must serve out the mandatory six month revocation period before making application for a limited driving permit. In response to the enactment of Code 32-6-12(b), ALEA drafted and received approval for Alabama Administrative Regulation 760-X-1-.24 titled "Hardship Driver License." [Re-drafted and re-filed effective January 13, 2019]. The requirements to obtain a "hardship driver license" are fairly strict. As example, proof of SR-22 certificate of insurance or proof of mandatory liability insurance as required by Code § 32-7A-3 or other applicable Code section is required for the duration of the hardship driver license. In addition, the initial validity period of the hardship driver license is for one year only, subject to annual renewal for a maximum of three consecutive years, provided all requirements for issuance are met.