Do You Need a Lawyer for the Board of Appeal?

In September of 2009, I spoke with a gentleman who had a 2 year suspension for OUI 2nd offense. It commenced on February 6, 2010 and was scheduled to run until February 21, 2012. When he contacted me in September of 2009, regarding a hardship license, he had not served enough suspension time. I advised him to wait until at least February 6, 2011, when he would have served 1 year of the 2 year DUI 2nd offense suspension.

The hardship license candidate recently went before the Board of Appeal without a lawyer. This is what he had to say about his situation:

Eligible for my hardship but got my 2nd oui on a hardship. I went to the board of appeals last week and the meeting went great and how they were talking to me it sounded like i was [going to be] driving the next week but the letter I got in the mail said otherwise. I think the only reason they denied my hardship is because I didn’t have an attorney with me. What should I do now?

The Board’s findings and orders state “Do not file another appeal on this matter with the Board unless this finding and order specifically instructs you to do so.” This means that if the Board does not grant a re-apply date, the Board of Appeal is likely not interested in hearing from the Appellant and, subject to rare exceptions, he or she must serve the full suspension time with no hardship relief.

Unfortunately, it is next to impossible to win a G.L. c. 30A Superior Court Appeal in these situations. The Superior Court affords the Board of Appeal great latitude and deference when it comes to granting 12 hour hardship licenses and I am aware of no decision where a Superior Court judge ordered the Board to grant hardship relief. Therefore, the hardship license Appellant will be forced to wait until his 2 year DWI 2nd offense suspension completes next year.

Being represented by a lawyer would not have guaranteed a win, but it most likely would have increased his chances of getting a work license.