When Can I Obtain a Modified Driver License
In some instances, when driving privileges are withdrawn as a result of a driver license revocation or suspension, the person can obtain relief from the withdrawal of driving privileges during the mandatory period of revocation or suspension by obtaining a Modified Driver License (also called a “Modification”), if otherwise qualified, from the Department of Public Safety (“DPS”). Generally, modifications may be permitted for Implied Consent revocations (such as breath/blood test failures & refusals following a DUI or APC arrest), for certain Convictions which caused revocations (such as DUI or APC), for the first revocations arising from certain Drug Convictions while using a motor vehicle, and for Point Suspensions arising from the driver’s accumulation of moving traffic violation convictions.
With regard to Implied Consent revocations, DPS, prior to an administrative hearing concerning the revocation may agree to modify the revocation when it is determined by the Department that no other adequate means of transportation exists for the person whose driving privilege has been revoked. This modification will only authorize the driving of Class D motor vehicles. Modifications are not allowed to permit driving of Class A, B, or C commercial motor vehicles.
Further, as a prerequisite and condition of this type of modification, the person shall be required to have installed an ignition interlock device approved by the Board of Tests for Alcohol and Drug Influence, at the person's own expense, upon every motor vehicle operated by the person. The ignition interlock device is also a requirement on employer vehicles driven by the person except when the employer requests the ignition interlock device not be installed. Under certain circumstances, such as where the person is self-employed or owns part of the company, the person is employed by relatives within the first degree of consanguinity or the person resides in the same household as the employer, or when the person has had a prior revocation, DPS will not accept the request to allow the company vehicle to be driver by the person without the device being installed.
For this type of modification, the person shall pay a statutory modification fee of One Hundred Seventy-five Dollars ($175.00) to the Department. Further, the person is required to obtain a replacement plastic license at a cost of $25.00 from a tag agent with the wording “Modified” printed thereon. The modified license will also indicate by restriction when the ignition interlock is required.
With regard to Convictions for DUI or APC which cause revocations, the foregoing information is equally applicable.
If any of the items listed below occurred during the events giving rise to the withdrawal of driving privileges, DPS would not be agreeable to offering a modification:
- Major injury accident (Serious bodily injury to licensee or others).
- Hit and Run / Leaving the Scene of an Accident.
- Hitting a Pedestrian – Collision with Injury.
- Resisting Arrest.
- Assault and Battery on any Law Enforcement Officer
- Attempting to Elude an Officer.
- Child in the Vehicle (Endangerment of a minor child).
- Driver was in violation of an existing modification at the time
- Driver had circumvented an existing ignition interlock device
DPS also considers if the modification would be consistent with public safety by looking at the driving record of the person requesting the modification. If the person’s driving record presents a concern for public safety, DPS may additionally limit the driving times, driving locations, purposes for which driving is authorized under the modification and may additionally place other restrictions on the authorized driving.
In the event that DPS declines to issue a modification or if an administrative hearing was held on the revocation, the person may file a petition for modification with the district court. The district court may modify the revocation when it has determined that the person has no other adequate means of transportation. The district courts also consider the driving record of the person who is requesting the modification to determine if the modification is consistent with public safety. If the person’s driving record presents a concern for public safety, the Court may additionally limit the driving times, locations, purposes in which driving is authorized under the terms of the modification or place other restrictions on driving. When allowing the modification, the court issues a written order directing DPS to allow driving, subject to the requirements of the installation an ignition interlock device on the vehicle(s) to be driven, and the payment of the statutory $175.00 modification fee to DPS. This type of court ordered modification also only authorizes the driving of Class D motor vehicles. Modifications are not allowed to permit driving of Class A, B, or C commercial motor vehicles.
With regard to Point Suspensions, DPS again reviews the request for modification based on whether the person has no other adequate means of transportation and would the modification be consistent with public safety. These modifications also only allow the driving of Class D motor vehicles. Modifications are not allowed to permit driving of Class A, B, or C commercial motor vehicles. DPS is also only allowed to modify a person’s Point Suspension once in any five (5) year time period. There is not a fee associated with a Point Suspension modification, nor is an ignition interlock device required for this type of modification. This modification will be issued by DPS by way of a paper license. Generally, driving under a modification of a Points Suspension is limited to: a) To or from or during the course of employment, b) To and from an educational institution, c) To comply with existing court orders, d) To attend a driver improvement course, a defensive driving course, or a motor vehicle accident prevention course, and e) for personal welfare.
If you are interested in seeking a modification, you can contact either the Legal Division or Driver Compliance Division of the Department of Public Safety.
Information concerning approved ignition interlock devices and the location and telephone number for approved vendors can be found on the Board of Tests for Alcohol and Drug Influence’s website or call (405) 425-2142.