How to File for a Hardship License in Missouri

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If you've had your Missouri driver's license suspended, revoked or denied and it's not yet time for reinstatement, you might still be able to drive under limited circumstances. A limited driving privilege, otherwise known as a hardship license, may be granted to individuals who need use the vehicle for certain important reasons, such as getting to work. You must follow the procedures to apply and qualify.

Determine If You Qualify

You might not qualify for a hardship license because you haven't satisfied all the conditions for reinstatement, or because you haven't served the requisite number of days of suspension. Other reasons for disqualification include:

  • Failure to pass a driving or medical examination as required
  • Not paying a motor vehicle accident judgment
  • Failure to pay a ticket

Effective on Jan. 1, 2017, the previous permanent ban for commission of a felony with a motor vehicle has been changed to a five-year "look back." This includes crimes such as DWI. The charge of leaving the scene of an accident is no longer a disqualifying event.

The standard is that not driving would present a "hardship" to you. Establishing a hardship requires that you prove that you need to drive because of:

  • Employment
  • Medical treatment for yourself
  • To attend school
  • To attend a rehabilitation program
  • Any other circumstance that the court finds would legitimately create a hardship.

Submit an Application to the Department of Revenue

Download the hardship license application from the Missouri Department of Revenue website. Fill in your contact information and select the reason you think a limited driving privilege should be granted to you. Copy your proof of insurance and proof of having an ignition interlock device installed if you have an alcohol-related offense on your driving record. You will receive notification of the decision to grant or deny the limited driving privilege within five days.

Petition the Court

If your license has been suspended for five or 10 years, you cannot follow the application procedure above. Instead, you must file a petition with the circuit court in the county where you work or live.

Preparing the Petition

The petition should set out the facts of your case, including your name, address and place of employment. Include your conviction or reason why your license was suspended or revoked. Detail any steps that you have taken toward reinstatement, such as having an ignition interlock device installed, attending a rehabilitation program or waiting the required number of days after suspension.

Write why you need the privilege, such as going to work or taking your children to daycare. The director of the Missouri Department of Revenue must be named as the defendant in the case.

Filing the Petition

Give the court clerk three copies of your petition: one for the court record, one for your copy and one for the director. Write a check for the amount of filing fees and court costs as determined by the specific court. The court clerk will stamp the copies with a mark that indicates that the documents have been officially filed. Retrieve the defendant's copy and your own.

Serve the Director

Have the director served at her address at the Department of Revenue Truman Building, Room 670, PO BOX 311 Jefferson City, Missouri 65102. Service must be in compliance with Missouri's rules of civil procedure, which allow for service by mail. Contact the Cole County Sheriff's Office or a private process server if you want to personally serve the director.

When You Have Your LDP

Drive only within the area permitted under the conditions of your limited driving privilege. Otherwise, you can face an additional charge of driving without a valid license.