How does a restricted license work?

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How does a restricted license work?
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A restricted driver's license is a way for the state to restrict and regulate a person's driving privileges. There are a variety of different restricted driver's licenses that cover a range of issues, from underage drinking to medical conditions. Once the state issues a restricted license, you must follow the restrictions closely. If you ignore the restrictions, you run the risk of having your license permanently revoked, or you may even face jail time.

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What Is a Restricted Driver's License?

A restricted driver's license is a way for the state to restrict and regulate a person's driving privileges. There are a variety of different restricted driver's licenses that cover a range of issues, from underage drinking to medical conditions. Once the state issues a restricted license, you must follow the restrictions closely. If you ignore the restrictions, you run the risk of having your license permanently revoked, or you may even face jail time.

Types of Restricted Licenses

Some types of restricted licenses are ordered by the courts following convictions of certain traffic law violations. Other types are mandated by state law because of the driver's age, mental impairment or physical disabilities. People can also apply for restricted licenses if their driving privileges have been revoked. Specific types of restricted licenses vary from state to state, as do the regulations regarding them. However, there are two types of restricted licenses that all states issue: work restricted and restricted due to impairment.

Work-Restricted License/Driving Under the Influence

Work-restricted driver's licenses are usually issued to people who have been convicted of DUI offences and have lost their driving privileges. Depending on the state, people who are first-time offenders can usually apply for a restricted license that will allow them to travel back and forth to work. Sometimes they are also allowed to go other places, too (for education or addiction recovery purposes). People who have work-restricted licenses because of DUI offences are usually given a time frame by the court. If they stay within the license restrictions and receive no more violations or tickets, they'll be allowed to reapply for a regular driver's license. Depending on the offence, drivers may have to wait anywhere from a few months to several years before being allowed to reapply. Drivers who are caught violating the license restrictions face a variety of penalties. Most of the time, drivers lose the restricted license and are barred from reapplying for new ones until a certain amount of time has passed. They may also face fines, incarceration and the permanent loss of driving privileges in that state.
It is important to note that many states check the status of out-of-state drivers before issuing new drivers' licenses. They will uphold the license restriction or license loss that was imposed on a driver by another state.

Work-Restricted Licenses/Teenagers

Some states are beginning to issue restricted licenses to teenagers because of the high rate of car accidents involving teen drivers. Laws are being enacted where teens can only drive between certain hours of the day and can only drive at night if going to and from work or are attending a school function. Usually the age restrictions apply to teenagers who are 16 to 18 years old. Once the teen reaches the age limit set by the state without any violations, he will then be issued a regular driver's license. Many states with high rural populations issue work-restricted licenses to teenagers who are under the age of 16. These licenses are heavily restricted and can only be obtained by teens that can provide verifiable proof that they work on a farm or ranch, and cannot be issued without the parents' permission. These licenses regulate what type of equipment the teenager may operate, how that equipment is used, where the teenager may go and the hours when the teenager may work.

Restricted Licenses for Physical or Mental Impairment

States may issue restricted licenses for individuals who have physical or mental impairments that limit their ability to safely operate a car under certain circumstances. Some states are also beginning to issue restricted licenses to senior citizens. Among other things, a driver may be restricted to driving during daylight hours, may be required to wear corrective lenses while operating a vehicle, or need to be on regular medication.

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