Hardship license appeals begin with a thorough review of the customer's driving record, which you can download from the Registry's website. You must see what suspensions are active or pending prior to applying. If you owe fines, fees, or citations, you should pay those and any other outstanding financial obligations prior to you hardship license hearing. Also, if you have three surchargeable events or a 4 year habitual traffic offender revocation, you must complete the Massachusetts Driver Retraining Course which is offered by the National Safety Council. Finally, you must ensure that you have served enough of the suspension to be considered for a hardship license. Some suspensions have minimum suspension time requirements and the Registry will not grant you a hardship license until you've served the minimum suspension or revocation time.
Provide Proof of a Legitimate Hardship
Prior to your hardship license hearing at the Registry, you must obtain documentary evidence of a legitimate need to drive for work, education, or medical related reasons. This proof usually comes in the form of a signed letter from your employer, on company stationery, not less than 30 days old, which adequately confirms your employment, schedule, and need to drive. The letter should also address how public transportation will not help you. If you need to drive for medical reasons, you should supply a letter from your doctor and if you need to drive for school, you should provide a letter from the Registrar's office. All hardship license letters must contain sufficient information regarding your schedule, hours, and need to drive. These letters must be recent and signed in ink.
Complete all Required Treatment & Courses
If your license was suspended due to a DUI conviction, the Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles will not grant you a hardship license until you have completed the appropriate DUI program. This means that you must complete the sixteen week out-patient 24D program if you are a first offender, the 14 day in-patient DUIL program if you are a 2nd offender, and the 90 day residential treatment program if you are 3rd offender. The Registry makes no exceptions to these requirements. However, I have been able to obtain hardship licenses for my clients by bringing them before the Board of Appeal. The Registry's appeals board can grant hardship licenses to qualified candidates notwithstanding the candidates' not having completed the required alcohol program. The Registry will require a copy of your completion certificate as well as any ancillary documentation, if you are a repeat DUI offender. For example, repeat offenders must submit a discharge summary which contains a risk of recidivism assessment. This document is only issued when the offender completes the aftercare portion of the alcohol treatment program. The Massachusetts Registry requires completion of an approved drug treatment program for all customers who are seeking hardship licenses for drug suspensions. You must submit proof of program completion at your hardship license hearing along with evidence of 3 clean urine screens, spaced at least 30 days apart.
Attend your Hardship License Hearing
To get a hardship license in Massachusetts, you must see a Registry Hearings Officer. Hearings are held on a walk-in basis, during normal business hours, weekends and holidays excluded, at the Registry Branches located in Boston, Brockton, Lawrence, Springfield, and Worcester. At your hearing, the Hearings Officer will thoroughly review your case. This will include your driving record, criminal record, citations, documentary evidence and all applicable laws and regulations. The Hearings Officer will also likely check your driving record in other states and with the National Driver Register. You are entitled to be represented by a lawyer at any hardship license hearing and having skilled legal counsel on your side may be extremely beneficial.
Hardship License Denials
If a Massachusetts Registry Hearings Officer denies you a hardship license after a hearing, you have the legal right to appeal the denial to the Registry's Board of Appeals. Hearings at the Board are scheduled in advance and they are much more formal than Registry hearings. The Board of Appeals on Liability Policies and Bonds is located at 1000 Washington Street in Boston and it has the legal authority to reverse the Registry's decision to deny you a hardship license. You have the right to be represented by an attorney at the Board of Appeal and there are several attorneys, such as myself, who specialize in these cases.
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