Can Teens Get a Restricted License After DUI?

Not all teens in Orange County have it easy. Some teens need jobs to help support their families, while others need jobs to support themselves while they attend college. What if you’re a 12th grader with a job whose license was suspended for one year following a conviction for driving under the influence (DUI)?

You need your job, so the question is, can you qualify for a restricted license like someone who is 21 or over and convicted of DUI? First off, we want to commend you for being a teenager who is taking on so much responsibility. We all have to deal with setbacks and hopefully our advice will help you overcome your situation.

Can you get a restricted license? The chances are slim, but there is another way. What you want to do is seek a critical need licenseunder Vehicle Code Section 13202.5(c). If your request for a critical need license is approved, the juvenile court judge presiding over your case would state on the record that you have a “critical need” to drive. Otherwise, your driver’s license will be suspended for one year.

Suppose the judge said “yes” to a critical need license. In that case, you would take this approval (and required proof) for a critical need license to the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV), but that is not all you will need. You will still have to fill out an application for the critical need license. With a critical need license, you’re allowed to drive to and from certain “critical” places, which are usually places like work and school.


After your license has been suspended for 30 days, you may apply for a critical need driver’s license only if:

  • You completed a PAS or chemical test with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .01% or higher (you didn’t refuse to take the test), and
  • You can show the court that you have a critical need to drive.
  • Critical need restriction is very limited. In order to qualify you must be able to verify that a critical need exists and there is no other transportation available to you. Also, this must be your first DUI offense; you cannot have any prior convictions for DUI on your record.

Related: How to Behave During a DUI Stop

Get the Help Your Family Needs

If you, or your teenage son or daughter was recently arrested for an underage DUI in Orange County, it’s best that you discuss their case with a local DUI defense lawyer, such as Virginia L. Landry, especially since a DUI may affect their job, college applications and even school scholarships.

Contact our office today to schedule a free case evaluationwith an attorney who is a Board-Certified expert in DUI defense!

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