What is the “Business Purpose Only” Hardship License?


If your license is suspended, revoked or canceled, then you may still qualify for a Class E driver’s license that restricts driving to only certain purposes.

The Class E license can include either a C Restriction or a D Restriction.

  • The C Restriction is the “Business Purpose Only” license; and
  • The D Restriction is the “Employment Purpose Only” license.

No hardship restriction can be added to a Commercial Driver License (also known as the CDL license). When a CDL driver obtains a hardship license the driver must downgrade to a Class E license.

How to I Apply for a Temporary Hardship Permit within the 10 Days after my DUI Arrest?

If your driver’s license is suspended because you were arrested for DUI, then the DUI citation operates as your 10 day permit if your driver’s license was otherwise valid.

During those 10 days you should demand a a formal review hearing to contest the administrative suspension. Because the rules for the hearing are so complicated, few people are able to successfully represent themselves at the hearing.

Note: Many people who cannot afford to hire an attorney within the 10 days decide to request immediate reinstatement and waive the formal review hearing. This is called a “waiver review hearing” by the DMV.

At the waiver review hearing, the hearing officer will make sure that you actually waived your right to a formal review hearing.

You are also required to show proof that you have enrolled in DUI school (the original certificate or the online form with proof of payment).   Other documents may be required and you must personally appear.

Individuals who cannot afford an attorney and are not eligible for a waiver review hearing should still request the formal review hearing so that they can obtain the 42 day driving permit.

If you can afford a private attorney willing to fight to invalidate the suspension, your attorney will demand the formal review hearing within the 10 days after your arrest (and you do NOT need to be present).

Your attorney will also obtain a 42 day temporary driving permit on your behalf (which is also called the “Business Purpose Only” temporary permit) that allows you to continue driving on a restricted basis while your attorney fights to invalidate the administrative suspension.

If you win the hearing and the suspension is invalidated, then the suspension is erased from your driving record as if it never happened. You just go to the DHSMV to get a duplicate copy of your driver’s license. If you lose the hearing, then you must serve the hard suspension and then apply for a hardship license.

How do I Apply for a Hardship License?

After your 42 day permit expires and you have served any hard suspension period, you can obtain a hardship license if you meet certain eligibility requirements. The agency that oversees the issuance of a hardship license is the Bureau of Administrative Review Office (often called the “BAR”). The BAR also holds the formal review hearings.

The application for any hardship license after the formal review hearing is concluded can be obtained at the Bureau of Administrative Review Office.

Tampa Bureau of Administrative Review (BAR)

2814 E Hillsborough Ave.

Tampa, FL 33619


Clearwater Bureau of Administrative Review (BAR)

4585 140th Ave. North, Suite 1002

Clearwater, FL 33762

(727) 507-4405

What Happens at the Hearing for my Hardship License?

If you lose the hearing then you must serve the hard suspension. After the hard suspension is over you can report to the Bureau of Administrative Review for a hardship license hearing. At the hearing, the hearing officer will ask you whether you drove during the hard suspension period. If you answer “yes” to this question then no hardship license will be issued.

If you were caught driving during the hardship period then no hardship license will be granted. The hearing officer will also determine if you actually need a hardship license and whether you are otherwise eligible. If you are eligible then you will receive a hardship license for the rest of the suspension or revocation period.

Who is Not Eligible for a Hardship License under Florida Law?

Certain individuals are not eligible for a hardship license because of something on their driving record (although that person might still be eligible for a 42 day hardship permit after the DUI arrest).

The most common reasons why a person is not eligible for a hardship license include:

  1. A second or subsequent administrative suspension for refusal (322.271(2)(a));
  2. A five or ten year DUI revocation (322.271 (2)(a));
  3. A DUI for Driving with an Unlawful Breath or Blood Alcohol Level (DUBAL) with two DUI convictions or two prior refusals (322.271 (2)(a);
  4. Permanent DUI Manslaughter with prior or subsequent DUI convictions (322.271(4));
  5. Murder Resulting from the Operation of a Motor Vehicle (322.28(3));
  6. DUI Serious Bodily Injury with two or more prior DUI convictions.

Other than in DUI cases, other types of suspensions or revocation are also ineligible for a hardship license including:

  1. A conviction for Felony Possession of a Controlled Substance (322.27(6));
  2. A conviction for Theft of Motor Vehicle, Parts or Components (unless ordered by trial judge)(322.274);
  3. Child Support Delinquency suspensions;
  4. Fail to Pay Fines (D6 suspension);
  5. Failure to Appear in Court (D6 suspensions);
  6. Suspensions resulting from the Drop-out Law (related to school attendance);
  7. Possession of Tobacco by a Minor; and
  8. Financial Responsibility Suspensions.

What Does “Business Purpose Only” Mean?

The hardship license for “Business Purposes Only” means that your driving is restricted to “any driving necessary to “maintain livelihood” including:

  • driving to or from work;
  • school (or other educational purposes);
  • necessary on-the-job driving;
  • driving for see a doctor (medical purposes); or
  • driving for church.”

The courts have considered a variety of excuses to determine whether they qualify as necessary to “maintain livelihood.”

For instance, the court has allowed driving necessary to obtain food (State v. Quiroli, 9 Fla. L. Weekly Supp. 780b (15th Jud. Cir., Sep 12 2002)) or driving to pay a utility bill (Vilches v. State, 12 Fla. L. Weekly Supp. 530a (11th Jud. Cir., Mar 29 2005)).

Those decisions were extreme dependent on the particular facts of that case and there is no guarantee that other courts would follow the same reasoning. In some cases, the courts have found that a person cannot drive on a “business purpose only” restriction if another licensed driver is in the vehicle.

What Happens if I Get Caught Driving for a Purpose Not Allowed by the Restriction?

Driving for any other purpose is not allowed and could result in an arrest for violation of the restriction on the driver’s license. Under Florida Statute Section § 322.16(5), Fla. Stat., violation of a restriction imposed pursuant to § 322.16(1)(c) is a second-degree misdemeanor.

That subsection provides that the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles may impose other restrictions on the use of the license with respect to time and purpose of use including the “business purpose only” restriction after an administrative or court ordered suspension for DUI.

As a second degree misdemeanor, the crime is punishable by up to 60 days in jail and a $500 fine. Also if you are caught in violation of your restriction during the restriction period, your restriction period may be extended on your driving record and you may receive a suspension.

If this happens, your old license will show an old expiration date and your hardship restriction will not automatically drop off your driving record until the new expiration date has passed.

What Happens with the Hardship Restriction Expires?

When the hardship restriction expires then the driver’s license simple loses that restriction. You can resume driving within full privileges. You are not required to obtain a new license. To avoid embarrassment, many people choose to get a clean driver’s license that does not notate the prior restriction.

You can obtain a replacement license for $31.25 at the tax collector’s office. If you are not already compliant under the REAL ID ACT then you will be required to show certain documents as explained on http://www.gathergoget.com.

This article was last updated on Sunday, August 9, 2015.


  1. Posted February 27, 2016 at 10:26 | Permalink | Reply

    ihave a suspended license in philadelphia for not turning in license when i moved to florida can i get a hardship license from florida will waiting for philadelphia suspended to run out

    • Posted March 1, 2016 at 22:02 | Permalink | Reply

      I don’t know. You would have to apply for a hardship and see. But if the suspension in Philadelphia shows in their system then I would guess they would require that to be cleared first.

  2. K
    Posted April 13, 2017 at 16:45 | Permalink | Reply

    What happens if I can’t obtain a temp license in the 10 days after my charge? I have to clear up tickets from another state and they are not responding about the fees. Plus 2 of the days are federal holidays and the DMV isn’t open.

    Is there anyway to get an extension?

    • Posted July 8, 2017 at 13:27 | Permalink | Reply

      By temporary permit do you mean the 42 day permit after requesting a formal review hearing or the hardship license after a waiver hearing? You must demand a formal review hearing on or before the 10th day or the next business day if the DMV is closed on the 10th day. Your license needs to be clear on that day if you want to obtain the 42 day permit. If you don’t have a clear DL, you should still demand the formal review hearing and fight to get the suspension totally invalidated (but don’t drive unless or until it is invalidated). The people that hire me to represent them always want the formal review hearing after they understand it whether they are entitled to the 42 day permit or not (although most all of them are entitled to the 42 day permit unless they have an out of state hold or two prior DUI convictions on their driving record). As to the waiver hearing, although the DMV originally took the position that the “waiver hearing” also had to be requested within the 10 day window, a recent court decision has found that the waiver hearing can be requested outside of the 10 days. I’m not sure if he DMV is following that decision in each office since none of my clients request a waiver hearing. [The waiver hearing means you are forever waiving your right to demand a formal review hearing to contest the administrative suspension of your driver’s license and instead, you are seeking immediately reinstatement of only hardship driving privileges – which is basically stipulating to the suspension which will remain on your driver’s license for the next 75 years.]

  3. Trina Gendron
    Posted July 8, 2017 at 10:03 | Permalink | Reply

    I’m trying to find out if my business hardship license covers me driving to the court

    • Posted July 8, 2017 at 13:16 | Permalink | Reply

      I guess it depends on why you are going to court. If you are required to go to court because it is necessary to maintain your livelihood (which should include your money, freedom or liberty) then it seems like it should be covered.

  4. aryn
    Posted July 15, 2017 at 22:41 | Permalink | Reply

    could i get this type of license if i have had no suspensions, but have had my permit for 6 months and need to drive myself to and from school and work?

  5. Dee
    Posted August 1, 2018 at 22:38 | Permalink | Reply

    could i get this type of license if i have had no suspensions, but have had my permit for 6 months and need to drive myself to and from school and work?

  6. Junior
    Posted March 24, 2021 at 07:32 | Permalink | Reply

    Can I drive to the mechanic with a Business Purpose only license?

  7. Paul Bedard
    Posted June 5, 2021 at 09:44 | Permalink | Reply

    I have been issued a Class B hardship license which is BPO only I’m retired and don’t work will I be able to drive to probation or things pertaining to my case and also such things as groceries and other things related to my home life such as dental, eye appointments or doctors appointments?

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  1. […] happens during a typical hardship hearing. The goal of the hearing is to help your client obtain a class C business purposes hardship license or a class D employment purposes hardship license. If you plan to attend the hearing with your […]

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