Who Is Eligible for a Restricted License?

Getting your New York driver’s license suspended can wreak havoc in your life. Being unable to drive is a lot more significant than simply an inconvenience. It is how you get to and from work, take the kids to and from school, buy groceries, run errands, go to doctor’s appointments, etc.

So if your driving privileges are suspended or revoked — such as being unable to pay a traffic fine or take time off from work to go to a hearing — you may be wondering whether there is anything you can do to at least be allowed to drive to essential places. This is where a conditional or restricted license comes in.

Do you need a conditional or restricted license in New York? Our traffic attorneys have extensive experience and they are ready to give you free advice on your available options. Call us at 212-683-7373, or fill out our online form today!

What is a Restricted or Conditional License in NY?

The New York Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) allows drivers with a suspended driver’s license to apply for a conditional or restricted use license. This is done in order to alleviate the burden of not having reliable transportation for certain activities, such as work or a doctor’s office.

If your driver’s license was suspended or revoked due to alcohol or drug-related violation, you can apply for a conditional driver’s license.

If your driver’s license was suspended or revoked for any traffic violation unrelated to drugs and/or alcohol, you can apply for a restricted driver’s license.

The names are different due to their root cause, but the result is the same: You can apply to be allowed to drive exclusively to certain places.

If your driver’s license was issued in another state, you can receive conditional or restricted driving privileges in New York.

Prior to applying for a restricted or conditional license, you should check whether your local DMV provides such services, as not all locations do. If yours does not, look for one that does.

Restricted licenses are not available for driving a motor vehicle that requires a commercial driver’s license.

Who is Eligible for a Restricted Driver’s License?

Whether or not you are eligible for a conditional or restricted driver’s license depends on your specific circumstances. This is determined on a case-by-case basis.

Also, you will not be deemed eligible for a conditional driver’s license if you have been convicted of a previous alcohol-related offense within the past five years. The same applies if you refused to take a chemical test (a breathalyzer, blood, or urine test) to show your blood alcohol level (BAC). Further, you will not be deemed eligible for a conditional or restricted driver’s license if you have had one in the past 5 years.

You will find out when you receive your Notice of Suspension in the mail. Read all of the information included within it to see whether you qualify. If you are not sure, speak with an experienced New York traffic ticket attorney.

Where Can I Drive With a Restricted License in NY?

Once a restricted driver’s license has been approved, you would be able to continue driving for any of the following specific reasons:

  • To and from work
  • To and from your child’s school
  • Medical appointments, as long as you can show a written statement from your doctor as evidence. The appointment can be for you or for a member of your household.

If you need to go to additional places on a regular basis, you can be issued a Conditional License Attachment (MV-2020), which will list all the locations you can drive to while having the restricted license. This can include to and from a DMV office to run errands pertaining to your suspended driver’s license, or to go to IDP (Impaired Driver Program) classes after receiving a DUI. You may also list any of the following on your MV-2020:

  • To and from probation activities ordered by the court
  • To and from your child’s daycare
  • During an assigned period of three consecutive hours between 5:00 AM and 9:00 PM once a week.

Can I Drive From New York to New Jersey With a Restricted License?

While many states recognize traffic tickets and conditional driver’s licenses issued in other states, New Jersey is an exception. Since they do not offer hardship/conditional driver’s licenses to their own residents, you cannot drive with a conditional license issued in New York into New Jersey.

If your license was suspended in New York and you need to go to New Jersey on a regular basis, you will have to look for alternative options, such as public transportation, carpooling with a coworker or neighbor, ride sharing, or having a loved one drive you to and from wherever you need to go.

If you get pulled over with a suspended driver’s license in New Jersey, you could face serious charges.

What Happens If I Am Pulled Over With a Restricted License in New York?

If you are pulled over while driving somewhere other than work, school, or a medical appointment — or somewhere that is listed on the MV-2020 — and are convicted or driving “out of class”, your conditional or restricted license will be revoked.

A restricted or conditional driver’s license can also be revoked if you are convicted of any moving violation or even a seat belt ticket. Examples include:

So even if you were driving to a permitted place, but are pulled over for any of the above reasons, you may lose your conditional or restricted driver’s license.  You cannot get convicted of even 1 moving violation with a restricted or conditional license.

What Are the Penalties Associated With Violating Terms of a Conditional or Restricted License?

If you are pulled over while driving with a conditional or restricted driver’s license in New York, and you are not driving to or from one of the authorized locations, you can face fines up to $500, plus mandatory surcharges, and you expose yourself for up to 15 days in jail.

Also, this would constitute an additional traffic violation, and as such would remain on your traffic record.

A New York Traffic Ticket Attorney Can Help

At Weiss & Associates, PC we provide the best representation you could receive. We offer an initial free consultation, flat fees, and experienced traffic lawyers who will show up on your behalf, so you do not have to waste time in court trying to clean up this mess.

We have extensive experience fighting thousands of traffic tickets in New York City and throughout New York state; and we have a skilled team of lawyers who are ready to give you free advice on your available options. Call us at 212-683-7373, or fill out our online form today!

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20 Comments. Leave new

  • My spouse has a total of 3 alcohol offenses on his record within the past 25 years. The time between the most recent one and the last one was almost 15 years, his license was revoked for 6 months and ordered to have an interlock device which is now in his vehicle which I drive as his license is gone for the duration it’s ordered to be in there (makes no sense). Any idea what the likelihood is that he will get his license reinstated to its normal state? Or will it be restricted with the IID for 5 years? Thanks!

    • K D Ryan,

      We don’t have enough info to answer this question.

      I suggest you contact the lawyer who represented your spouse on the most recent case.

      Good luck!

      Matthew Weiss

  • Hi,

    I returned my lease back in February 2023, I kept my insurance for two months when I decided to cancel it in April, but the insurance company shows a cancellation date of February.

    I made the mistake of not turning in my plates as soon as I had cancelled the insurance, now NY DMV is going to suspend my license because I turned my plates in 120 dates late, is there a way to fight this?

    I can’t have a restricted license since I work in NJ and live in NY

    • Matthew Weiss
      June 1, 2023 5:55 pm


      As the registrant of the vehicle, you are responsible for maintaining continuous coverage and, after 120 days, there is nothing that I know of that can remedy this situation (other than serving the suspension period).

      Matthew Weiss

  • Cooper Harasimowicz
    May 8, 2023 5:24 pm

    Hello I was involved in a fatal car accident about 2 years ago, I had no criminal charges, my license was revoked. I already applied for a restricted license, I was denied when do you think I can get my license back

    • Matthew Weiss
      May 8, 2023 5:54 pm

      Cooper Harasimowicz,

      That is an impossible to question to answer. DMV has incredibly broad power to revoke (and keep revoke) a license when there is a fatality.

      Matthew Weiss

  • I applied for and received a conditional license before the court hearing, after court I was convicted of VTL 1192.1 and ordered to do an IDP program and 90 days license suspension. Is my conditional license still valid?

    • Matthew Weiss
      February 1, 2023 4:16 pm

      Alan D,

      If you were charged with DWI or DUIA while driving with a conditional license, then you will lose it. Otherwise, I do not believe you will lose it.

      Matthew Weiss

  • My daughter is from Syracuse New York. She was staying with a friend in Charlotte NC for awhile, changed her insurance carrier while she was there because of a cheaper rate. For some reason the women she spoke with put her insurance under North Carolina and not New York State.
    My daughter was unaware of this and when she came back to Syracuse was advised by an officer that told her that she didn’t have insurance. So she had to go through a big hassle of finding another insurance carrier. Okay, so now she goes onto the DMV website to renew her license and it says she has an “invalid” license. Went to the DMV to talk to them in person and she is on suspension until Feb 2nd. Anything she can do about this?

    • Matthew Weiss
      January 11, 2023 4:45 pm

      Audrey Barry,

      Sounds like she must wait until Feb 2nd to get her license back.

      I am not aware of anything she can do to expedite this. Sorry.

      Matthew Weiss

  • I was in an accident on 2/22/22 and I had insurance, the car was a total loss, the insurance ruled it as a total lost as well. on the date of the accident I fell unconscious because of the impact and woke up in hospital, I get the police report, and the report has no information as to who towed the car and where it was towed to, even though they were the ones who called for it to get towed. after repeatedly going to the precinct to see if they can update the police report, 2 months later in April the finally supposedly found where the car was towed to, at the same time I get a letter from the lot saying that I have a little less then a month to pay almost $3000 to get my car back or its gonna be auctioned. at the time im injured and unemployed from the accident so I couldn’t afford it. the car ends up getting auctioned off with the plates. I call the insurance they don’t have the car, called lender they didn’t have the car either. I end up having to report it stolen, and when I get to the dmv they pass me a receipt saying im suspended for 228 days, for insurance lapse. do I qualify for the restricted license, and can I appeal the suspension?

    • Peter,

      I’m sorry to read about your misfortune.

      If you haven’t been issued a restricted license in the last 5 years, then you should be eligible. Go to your local DMV office and inquire.

      I do not believe you can undo your suspension … but check with DMV while you’re there.

      Matthew Weiss

  • When my license was suspended I also had to turn in my plates. If I get a restricted license would I also get a new set of plates for my car?

    • Matthew Weiss
      November 7, 2022 9:24 am

      Mark Heiser,

      Are you sure the requirement to turn in your plates was connected to your license suspension. This would be highly unusual.

      Perhaps there is another reason why this was required.

      Matthew Weiss

  • My license was suspended by a judge due to moving violation. It’s a scheduled suspension that does not take affect for another 24 days–can I apply for my restricted license ahead of time or do I have to wait until the suspension takes affect?

    • Matthew Weiss
      October 29, 2022 8:51 pm

      Matt P,

      You should visit your local DMV office ASAP and ask to apply for your restricted license.


      Matthew Weiss

    • I’ve not had a ticket or infraction for 30 years I lapsed On on insurance on one of 3 of my cars do to moving to several location { a complete mistake } lost the use of my car had to surrender the plates and lost lic for 4 months …….can’t register the car for one year !!!
      Applied for conditional ny lic at motor vehicle and was denied , im 65 ……seems a tad harsh if you ask me.

      • Matthew Weiss
        May 9, 2023 8:48 am


        It sounds like you were previously issued had a conditional license (in the last 5 years). Otherwise, I do not understand why you were not given one.

        Matthew Weiss

  • Carrion Manuel R.
    July 15, 2022 12:41 pm

    me suspendieron la licencia por conducir sin seguro. no puedo registrar mi carro para unas nuevas placas y poder sacarlo del ayuntamiento.

    que puedo hacer necesito un permiso de trabajo

    • Matthew Weiss
      July 15, 2022 12:55 pm

      Intente ir a su oficina local del DMV y pregunte a alguien allí si puede obtener una licencia restringida. ¡Buena suerte!


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