Florida Restricted License

Florida has two main types of restricted licenses: learner’s licenses for young drivers and hardship licenses for drivers with suspensions.
Written by Bonnie Stinson
Edited by R.E. Fulton
background
There are two types of restricted driver’s licenses in
Florida
: learner’s licenses and hardship licenses. Restricted licenses allow
new drivers
and drivers with significant violations to get behind the wheel with certain limitations for safety. 

What types of restricted licenses are available in Florida?

There are two types of
Florida driver’s license
that are restricted in some way: 
  • Learner’s license
    : New drivers aged 15 through 17 have restrictions on their licenses for safety. 
  • Hardship license: If your
    Florida license was suspended
    or revoked due to violations, you can apply for a restricted license that will allow you to drive under certain circumstances. 

How to get a Florida learner’s license

In order to get a learner’s license in the state of Florida, you must: 
Where: Apply for the Florida learner’s permit at your local FLHSMV location.
When: You must be at least 15 years old before you head to the DMV. 
The Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (DHSMV) offers free
practice tests
for educational purposes so you can prepare adequately for your permit exam. Remember to bring proof of your residential address as well as your social security number.
To apply for
a full Class E Florida driver’s license
, you must have held your permit for at least 12 months and pass the driving test. Florida also requires 50 hours of supervised driving, including 10 hours of nighttime driving experience, for any learner’s license holder to apply for a full license. 

Restrictions on a Florida learner’s license

Driving with a learner’s license in Florida comes with limitations on when you can drive and who must be in the vehicle with you. 
Daylight driving only: If it’s your first time, your driving privileges are limited to daylight hours for the first three months on a permit. Once that period is up, you may start driving after dark to fulfill your driving skills practice requirements—but all drivers with a learner’s license are prohibited from driving after 10 p.m.
Must be accompanied: Drivers with a learner’s license must always be accompanied by a licensed driver 21 years of age or older in the front passenger seat. This can be your legal guardian or another licensed driver.
Once you pass the permit test and graduate to a driver’s license, Florida continues to put restrictions on teen drivers based on age: 
  • 16 years old: You may not drive between 11 p.m. and 6 a.m. unless you are driving to or from work or are accompanied by a licensed driver 21+ years of age.  
  • 17 years old: You may not drive between 1 a.m. and 5 a.m. unless you are driving to or from work or are accompanied by a licensed driver 21+ years of age.
All curfew-related restrictions end the minute you turn 18. Until then, the FLHSMV puts limitations in place to increase your safety on the road and prevent accidents that could cause your insurance rate to go up. 

How to get a Florida hardship license

In many cases, you’ll simply have to wait for the suspension to end and rely on public transportation or help from family and friends until then. However, if you’re having serious trouble getting around without your license, you can apply for a hardship license through your local
Bureau for Administrative Reviews (BAR)
To apply for the hardship license, you must: 
Expedited review: You can ask for an expedited review, which allows the Bureau to review your application and make a decision based only on the documents you provided.
Hearing: You can also ask for a hearing, where you’ll get a chance to explain your situation to the Bureau and make a case for why you need a hardship license. 
Anything from failure to pay a fine to a
DUI in Florida
or
insurance lapse
could get your license suspended or revoked in Florida.
Reinstatement
is almost always a challenge. 

Restrictions on a Florida hardship license

There are two different types of restrictions you may be subject to with a Florida hardship license:
  • Business purposes: This restricted license allows you to drive to and from your job, along with any necessary driving for education, church, or medical purposes. 
  • Employment purposes: This license only allows you to drive to and from your job. 
The hearing officer at the BAR will determine which type is appropriate for your situation. 
The exact restrictions you’re given will depend in part on your situation and in part on the offense for which your license was suspended in the first place. If you had a DUI suspension, you’re likely to get tighter restrictions than if you simply failed to pay a fine, for instance.
If your license was revoked for failure to pay child support, you won’t be eligible for any type of hardship license. 
Be aware that you may need to file
a SR-22 or FR-44 certificate
before you can get a car insurance policy in Florida.
Top insurance companies
usually charge higher premiums to people with serious violations on record—at the very least, your
average cost of auto insurance
will increase for at least one year.  
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