Be Ready to Explain Your Criminal Record to the Board of Appeal

At a hardship license hearing in front of the Board of Appeal of the Division of Insurance, the Board’s task is to determine whether the causes of the hardship license applicant’s past or present problems have been brought under control such that he or she will not endanger the public safety, should the Board order the Registry to issue a limited 12 hour hardship license and, thereby, but the person back on the road.

In order to assess whether the hardship license applicant has sufficiently addressed any drug, alcohol, or substance abuse issues, the Board members will carefully and thoroughly review the hardship license candidate’s criminal record, which includes active and closed abuse prevention orders, which are also referred to as restraining orders or 209As. Recent arrests or the issuance of restraining orders may indicate, to the RMV Board of Appeals, that the hardship candidate may not have his or her addiction under control. Sometimes, domestic abuse incidents are fueled by alcohol or drugs. In other cases, domestic abuse charges may be indicators that the defendant has behavioral problems  which might indicate that he or she is not ready to resume driving. Recent criminal charges, which may not be related at all to driving or the operation of a motor vehicle, suggest that the hardship license applicant has a lack of respect for the law and that he or she is not law abiding. This can result in a denial, since the Board has complete discretion when it comes to granting hardship relief. 

Candidates who come before the Board of Appeal for the purposes of trying to obtain a Cinderella license, which is also known as a work license, should be prepared to fully and candidly explain the items appearing on their criminal records. A criminal history which shows a pattern of events which occurred after the candidate’s DUI charge can dramatically decrease the chances of getting a Massachusetts Hardship License.