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David N Lesh
Oregon DUII Attorney
Oregon Super Lawyer 2018 and 2019

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What is an Oregon hardship permit?

A hardship permit is essentially a limited driver license sometimes available to Oregon licensed drivers who face a suspension of their Oregon driver license.  hardship permit may be available to you if your license is suspended and you had a valid Oregon Driver License at the time of your suspension.  See ORS 813.500 et seq; ORS 807.240.

Many states have similar types of limited licenses but use different names for the license including :  ignition interlock license; a restricted license; an occupational license; a hardship credential; a restricted credential; a restricted use permit; a special operator's permit; a conditional permit; an employment driving permit; an occupational limited license; a special restricted driver license; a specialized driving privileges; or a special work permit.

 Oregon hardship permits often are not available for license "revocations" including the lifetime revocation resulting from a third or greater Oregon DUII convictions.  Oregon hardship permits are also not available to persons with an out of state driver license.  Hardship permits are also not available for a second Oregon DUII conviction within a five year period.

Keep in mind that there is often a significant "black out" or waiting period before you can obtain a hardship permit.  See ORS 807.240 and ORS 813.520.  Hardship permits are only available for Class C (non-commercial) driver licenses.  See ORS 807.240(8)(c).

Under Oregon law, hardship permits only allow driving for:

  • Occupational (work) and employment purposes;

  • Occupational training or education that is required by your employer;

  • Transportation to and from an alcohol or drug treatment or rehabilitation program;

  • To look for work (for up to 120 days);

  • To participate in gambling addiction treatment; and

  • To obtain medical treatment on a regular basis for you or a member of the your immediate family.

See OAR 735-064-0060.  A hardship permit will not be issued for more than 12 hours of driving on any one day, except for transportation to and from an alcohol or drug treatment program. 

In order to obtain an Oregon hardship permit you must, among other things, obtain an SR-22 certificate of liability insurance which will likely have negative implications for your insurance rates or insurability.  If you choose to enter the diversion program on your DUII charge, you probably will not have to file an SR-22 to get your license reinstated unless you apply for a hardship permit.  However, if you are convicted of an Oregon DUII you will have to file an SR-22 to reinstate your license regardless of whether you apply for a hardship permit. 

If you are convicted of an Oregon DUII or are in the diversion program you will also have to install an ignition interlock device in your vehicle in order to obtain a hardship permit.

 



OREGON HARDSHIP PERMITS LAWS

 

      ORS 807.240 Hardship permit; fees; rules. The Department of Transportation shall provide for issuance of hardship driver permits in a manner consistent with this section. A hardship driver permit grants the driving privileges provided in this section or under the permit. Except as otherwise provided in this section, a hardship driver permit is subject to the fees, provisions, conditions, prohibitions and penalties applicable to a license. The following apply to a hardship driver permit:

      (1) The department may only issue a permit to a person whose driving privileges under the vehicle code have been suspended.

      (2) Except as provided in ORS 813.520, the department may reinstate the privilege to operate a motor vehicle of any person whose license to operate a motor vehicle has been suspended by issuing the person a hardship permit described under this section if such person qualifies under this section, ORS 807.250, 807.252 and 813.500. However, the department may not issue a hardship permit authorizing a person to drive a commercial motor vehicle.

      (3) To qualify for a hardship permit, a person must do all of the following in addition to any applicable provisions under ORS 807.250, 807.252 and 813.500:

      (a) The person must submit to the department an application for the permit that demonstrates the person’s need for the permit.

      (b) The person must present satisfactory evidence, as determined by the department by rule:

      (A) That the person must operate a motor vehicle as a requisite of the person’s occupation or employment;

      (B) That the person must operate a motor vehicle to seek employment or to get to or from a place of employment;

      (C) That the person must operate a motor vehicle to get to or from an alcohol or drug treatment or rehabilitation program;

      (D) That the person or a member of the person’s immediate family requires medical treatment on a regular basis and that the person must operate a motor vehicle in order that the treatment may be obtained;

      (E) That the person’s driving privileges are suspended for driving uninsured in violation of ORS 806.010 or for violation of ORS 165.805 or 471.430 and are not suspended for any other reason and that the person must operate a motor vehicle in order to provide necessary services to the person or to a member of the person’s family. The department shall determine by rule what constitutes necessary services for purposes of this subparagraph. The rule shall include as necessary services, but need not be limited to, grocery shopping, driving the person or the person’s children to school, driving to medical appointments and caring for elderly family members; or

      (F) That the person must operate a motor vehicle to get to or from a gambling addiction treatment program.

      (c) If the person is applying for a permit because the person or a member of the person’s immediate family requires medical treatment on a regular basis, the person must present, in addition to any evidence required by the department under paragraph (b) of this subsection, a statement signed by a licensed physician or certified nurse practitioner that indicates that the person or a member of the person’s immediate family requires medical treatment on a regular basis.

      (d) The person must show that the person is not incompetent to drive nor a habitual incompetent, reckless or criminally negligent driver as established by the person’s driving record in this or any other jurisdiction.

      (e) The person must make a future responsibility filing.

      (f) The person must submit any other information the department may require for purposes of determining whether the person qualifies under this section, ORS 807.250, 807.252, 813.500 and 813.520.

      (4) If the department finds that the person meets the requirements of this section and any applicable requirements under ORS 807.250, 807.252, 813.500 and 813.520, the department may issue the person a hardship permit, valid for the duration of the suspension or for a shorter period of time established by the department unless sooner suspended or revoked under this section. If the department issues the permit for a period shorter than the suspension period, renewal of the permit shall be on such terms and conditions as the department may require. The permit:

      (a) Shall limit the holder to operation of a motor vehicle only during specified times.

      (b) May bear other reasonable limitations relating to the hardship permit or the operation of a motor vehicle that the department deems proper or necessary. The limitations may include any limitation, condition or requirement. Violation of a limitation is punishable as provided by ORS 811.175 or 811.182.

      (5) The department, upon receiving satisfactory evidence of any violation of the limitations of a permit issued under this section or limitations placed on a hardship permit under ORS 807.252 or 813.510, may suspend or revoke the hardship permit.

      (6) The fee charged for application or issuance of a hardship driver permit is the hardship driver permit application fee under ORS 807.370. The department may not refund the fee if the application is denied or if the driver permit is suspended or revoked. The fee upon renewal of the driver permit is the same fee as that charged for renewal of a license. The application fee charged under this subsection is in addition to any fee charged for reinstatement of driving privileges under ORS 807.370.

      (7) The department may issue a permit granting the same driving privileges as those suspended or may issue a permit granting fewer driving privileges, as the department determines necessary to assure safe operation of motor vehicles by the permit holder. [1983 c.338 §327; 1985 c.16 §144; 1985 c.608 §29; 1987 c.730 §11; 1987 c.801 §3; 1989 c.636 §33; 1991 c.860 §4; 1993 c.627 §2; 1993 c.751 §45; 1999 c.796 §4; 2001 c.294 §1; 2003 c.23 §1; 2003 c.160 §2; 2005 c.471 §11; 2017 c.319 §1]

 

      ORS 813.500 Restrictions on issuance. (1) If a person’s license is suspended for driving while under the influence of intoxicants under ORS 813.400 and the suspension period is determined by ORS 809.428 (2)(b) or (c), the Department of Transportation may only issue a hardship permit to the person under ORS 807.240 if the person, in addition to any requirement under ORS 807.240 and any applicable requirements under ORS 807.250 and 813.520:

      (a) Is examined by the Oregon Health Authority to determine whether the person has a problem condition involving alcohol, cannabis, controlled substances or inhalants as described in ORS 813.040; and

      (b) Complies with the requirements of this section.

      (2) If the authority determines that the person has a problem condition involving alcohol, cannabis, controlled substances or inhalants, as described in ORS 813.040, the department may issue the permit to the person only if both the following apply:

      (a) The person enrolled in a program for rehabilitation for alcoholism or drug dependence approved by the authority.

      (b) The authority recommends, on the basis of the person’s progress in the rehabilitation program, such reinstatement in writing to the department. If the authority makes a recommendation under this paragraph, the authority shall state specifically in the recommendation the times, places, routes and days of the week minimally necessary for the person to seek or retain employment, to attend any alcohol or drug treatment or rehabilitation program or to obtain necessary medical treatment for the person or a member of the person’s immediate family.

      (3) The person may use the hardship permit to get to or from a gambling addiction treatment program, in addition to the places listed in subsection (2) of this section.

      (4) If the authority determines that the person does not have a problem condition involving alcohol, cannabis, controlled substances or inhalants as described in ORS 813.040, the department may issue the permit to the person only if, in addition to any requirements under ORS 807.240, the person enters an alcohol or drug information program approved by the authority and the department determines that issuance of a permit is appropriate. If the department issues a permit to a person described in this subsection, the department shall require, under ORS 807.240, that the person complete the program as a condition of retaining the permit. [1983 c.338 §328; 1985 c.16 §145; 1987 c.801 §13; 1989 c.401 §2; 1991 c.557 §9; 1999 c.619 §13; 2003 c.23 §4; 2009 c.595 §1146; 2017 c.21 §88; 2017 c.319 §4]

 

      ORS 813.510 Limitations on privileges granted by permit; conditions of permit. This section establishes limitations that the Department of Transportation is required or permitted to place on hardship permits issued under ORS 807.240 to persons whose suspension is based upon a conviction for driving under the influence of intoxicants or upon ORS 813.100. Limitations placed on a hardship permit under this section are in addition to any limitations placed on the permit under ORS 807.240. A person’s permit is subject to suspension or revocation as provided under ORS 807.240 if the department determines that the holder of the permit has violated any limitation placed upon the permit under this section. Violation of a limitation under this section is punishable as provided by ORS 811.175 or 811.182. The limitations are as described in the following:

      (1) A hardship permit issued to the person shall limit the person’s driving privileges:

      (a) To the times, places, routes and days the department determines to be minimally necessary for the person to seek or retain employment, to attend any gambling addiction, alcohol or drug treatment or rehabilitation program or to obtain required medical treatment for the person or a member of the person’s immediate family; and

      (b) To times, places, routes and days that are specifically stated.

      (2) The person’s driving privileges under the permit are subject to suspension or revocation if the person does not maintain a good driving record, as defined by the administrative rules of the department, during the term of the permit.

      (3) If the person is in a rehabilitation program under ORS 813.500, the person must complete the rehabilitation program.

      (4) The department may require the person to complete a driver improvement program under ORS 809.480 as a condition of the permit.

      (5) If the person is involved in a diversion agreement under ORS 813.220 and 813.230, the department may require the person to successfully complete the diversion program as a condition of retaining the permit.

      (6) The department shall condition the permit so that the permit will be revoked if the person is convicted of any of the following:

      (a) Reckless driving under ORS 811.140.

      (b) Driving under the influence of intoxicants under ORS 813.010.

      (c) Failure to perform the duties of a driver under ORS 811.700 or 811.705.

      (d) Fleeing or attempting to elude a police officer under ORS 811.540.

      (e) Driving while suspended or revoked under ORS 811.175 or 811.182. [1983 c.338 §329; 1985 c.16 §146; 1987 c.730 §21; 1987 c.801 §14; 1991 c.208 §5; 2003 c.23 §5; 2017 c.319 §5]

 

      ORS 813.520 Limitations on authority to issue hardship permit or reinstate driving privileges. In addition to any provisions of ORS 807.240 and 813.510 or 807.250, this section establishes limitations on the authority of the Department of Transportation to issue driving privileges under ORS 807.240. The department may not reinstate any driving privileges or issue any hardship permit under ORS 807.240 as provided under any of the following:

      (1) For a period of 90 days after the beginning of the suspension if the suspension is for refusal of a test under ORS 813.100 and the person is not subject to an increase in the time before a permit may be issued for reasons described in ORS 813.430. This period of 90 days shall be reduced by the time the department refused to issue a hardship permit under subsection (5) or (6) of this section if the person’s driving privileges were suspended based on the same occurrence.

      (2) For a period of 30 days after the beginning of the suspension if the suspension is because a breath or blood test under ORS 813.100 disclosed that the person had a level of alcohol in the person’s blood that constituted being under the influence of intoxicating liquor under ORS 813.300 and the person is not subject to an increase in the time before a hardship permit may be issued for reasons described in ORS 813.430. This period of 30 days shall be reduced by the time the department refused to issue a hardship permit under subsection (5) or (6) of this section if the person’s driving privileges were suspended based on the same occurrence.

      (3) For a period of one year after the beginning of the suspension if the suspension is because a breath or blood test under ORS 813.100 disclosed that the person had a level of alcohol in the person’s blood that constituted being under the influence of intoxicating liquor under ORS 813.300 and the person is subject to an increase in the time before a hardship permit may be issued for reasons described under ORS 813.430. This period of one year shall be reduced by the time the department refused to issue a hardship permit under subsection (5) or (6) of this section if the person’s driving privileges were suspended based on the same occurrence.

      (4) For a period of three years after the beginning of the suspension if the suspension is for refusal of a test under ORS 813.100 and the person is subject to an increase in the time before a hardship permit may be issued for reasons described in ORS 813.430. This period of three years shall be reduced by the time the department refused to issue a hardship permit under subsection (5) or (6) of this section if the person’s driving privileges were suspended based on the same occurrence.

      (5) For a period of 90 days after the beginning of the suspension under ORS 813.400 if it is the person’s second conviction for driving while under the influence of intoxicants if the suspension period is determined by ORS 809.428 (2)(b). This period of 90 days shall be reduced by the time the department refused to issue a hardship permit under subsection (1), (2), (3) or (4) of this section if the person’s driving privileges were suspended based on the same occurrence.

      (6) For a period of one year after the beginning of the suspension under ORS 813.400 for driving while under the influence of intoxicants if the suspension period is determined by ORS 809.428 (2)(c). This period of one year shall be reduced by the time the department refused to issue a hardship permit under subsection (1), (2), (3) or (4) of this section if the person’s driving privileges were suspended based on the same occurrence.

      (7) To any person who has a mental or physical condition or impairment that affects the person’s ability to safely operate a motor vehicle.

      (8) If the suspension is based upon a conviction for a violation of ORS 813.010 or is imposed under ORS 813.410 based upon ORS 813.100 to a person who has available public or private transportation sufficient to fulfill the person’s transportation needs while the person is suspended.

      (9) For a period of 30 days following imposition of suspension, if the person, within the previous year, has been convicted of a traffic crime and the suspension is based upon a conviction for violation of ORS 813.010 or is imposed under ORS 813.410 based upon ORS 813.100. [1985 c.16 §148; 1985 c.672 §16; 1987 c.673 §1a; 1987 c.801 §15; 1989 c.224 §141; 1989 c.401 §3; 1993 c.305 §9; 1995 c.568 §9; 1999 c.1051 §91; 2005 c.140 §5; 2009 c.607 §1]

      OAR 735-064-0060  Standards for Issuance of Hardship Permits

(1) All hardship permits are restricted to minimally meet the applicant’s needs. Upon request, the permit holder must submit verification of those needs to DMV or law enforcement. The person must have the hardship permit in addition to a valid driver license in the person's possession at all times when driving.

(2) DMV may issue hardship permits only for the following purposes:

(a) Occupational and employment purposes;

(b) Occupational training or education that is required by the applicant’s employer;

(c) Transportation to and from a gambling addiction, alcohol or drug treatment or rehabilitation program;

(d) To seek employment; and

(e) To obtain medical treatment on a regular basis for the person or a member of the person’s immediate family.

(3) A hardship permit will not be issued for more than 12 hours of driving on any one day, except for transportation to and from a gambling addiction, alcohol or drug treatment or rehabilitation program.

(4) A hardship permit issued to look for work will not be issued for a period of more than 120 days at a time.

(5) DMV may deny a hardship permit to an applicant who has public or private transportation available which is sufficient to serve the applicant’s transportation needs as established in section (2) of this rule.

(6) DMV will determine whether public or private transportation is sufficient to serve the applicant’s need based upon the following criteria:

(a) Convenience in terms of hours and distance;

(b) Requirements of occupation or employment;

(c) Physical limitations of applicant; and

(d) Personal safety of applicant.

(7) An applicant with multiple suspensions, multiple revocations under ORS 809.600, or combination of suspensions(s) and revocations(s), must satisfy the requirements for each type of suspension and revocation to obtain a hardship permit.

(8) If the applicant is suspended under ORS 809.260 the applicant may apply either for privileges granted under a hardship permit as described in this rule or an emergency permit as described in OAR 735-064-0230, but not both.

 

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