A prison term poses major restrictions on felons. They lose their freedom and the ability to move about as they want.
For many, this was very important to them prior to being incarcerated. Just being able to leave their house or apartment, get in their car and drive was important to them.
How about now that they are out of prison?
Many will once again want to hit the road. By the time they are released, a felon’s driver’s license has usually expired. Or, their offense resulted in their license being revoked.
This blog post will address the issue of whether a felon can get a driver’s license.
- Having an Expired License
- Revoked License as a Result of Their Offense
- Misdemeanor vs. Felony DUI
- Getting Their License Re-instated
- Driving on a Revoked License
- Supporting a Felon in Getting a Driver’s License
Having an Expired License
Most felons leave prison without a driver’s license not because their license was revoked when they were convicted, but because it expired while they were serving a lengthy sentence.
Typically, felons will spend a period of time at a halfway house following their release.
As a stipulation of their probation, felons are required to find employment. For those at a halfway house, one of the first things they are expected to accomplish as part of seeking a job, is to get a driver’s license if theirs is expired.
This will allow them increased ability to look for a job and help ensure they will be able to transport themselves to any job they take.
If their driver’s license has been expired for more than two years, felons cannot simply renew it online or by paying a fee.
After two years, an expired license can only be re-activated by beginning the application process from the start.
They will have to complete an application in the state where they live. Then, they will have to pass a written knowledge test, a driving test, and a vision exam.
Revoked Driver’s License as a Result of Their Offense
The other case is for felons who had their driver’s license revoked as part of their conviction.
This typically occurs when felons have been convicted of a felony DUI, convicted of a third DUI, or convicted of vehicular homicide. Another case is for some drug-related offenses.
These offenses will result in a permanently revoked license.
Usually, for multiple DUI’s, the license can be re-established.
There is a difference between a felony and misdemeanor DUI. There are several factors which determine its severity level.
Misdemeanor vs. Felony DUI
First, is the BAC level at the time the offense is committed. With .08 established as the legal limit, the farther above that the more likely it is that it will be considered a felony.
Another factor, is how recklessly they were driving. This establishes a level of danger to their actions.
Along with this is whether there were any injuries or deaths in the incident. The more injuries and the more serious those were, the more likely it is that the DUI charge will be a felony.
A DUI with a minor in the vehicle will result in a felony DUI. Driving with a suspended driver’s license will also earn a felony conviction.
Also, felons past criminal record makes a difference. With previous felony convictions on their record, again the more likely it is for that charge to be considered a felony.
Each state has its own laws regarding DUI’s, including the criteria for a DUI to become a felony. Typically, a third DUI conviction will make those charges a felony.
Getting Their License Re-instated
Typically, a driver’s license is revoked following conviction for a felony DUI. Another situation resulting in revocation of a driver’s license is a conviction for a non-DUI drug-related offense.
If a felon’s driver’s license is revoked for one of these offenses, felons must attend a reinstatement hearing in person. Felons with a vehicular homicide offense are unlikely to get their license back.
Felons will have to complete all court requirements. They will have to provide proof of car insurance and pay a court fee. Having legal counsel is recommended.
If a felon’s license has been revoked for an alcohol- or drug-related offense, they must complete an approved substance abuse program and provide proof of completion.
After that, they will have to complete an application in the state where they live. Then, they will have to pass a written knowledge test, a driving test, and a vision exam.
Driving on a Revoked License
Some felons may be tempted not to go through the process and drive after their release even though they have a revoked driver’s license. That is not a wise choice.
Driving without a license is a serious offense with large fines and jail time. Typically, this is a misdemeanor.
For felons, especially while on probation, this would be a violation of their federal probation and likely result in their return to prison.
Supporting a Felon in Getting a Driver’s License
Getting a driver’s license after release is important to felons.
This is one of the first steps in their road back to society. Having a driver’s license will help felons when looking for a job. It is already challenging enough to find employment.
It will help them with their commitment to live an honest life and allow them to be more independent.
This is the time for the family to step forward and provide caring and compassion. A loved one may face drastic, if not permanent loss of driving privileges.
Being there for them and assisting with transportation while they get their driver’s license will be essential. Provide them support in the difficulties they face.
So what do you think about this blog post about how a felon can get a driver’s license? Have you or someone you know tried to get a driver’s license after a felony? What was that experience like? Please tell us in the comments below.