Documents Required for Hardship License Hearings

It is important to be prepared for your Massachusetts Hardship License Hearing, whether it is held before the Driver Control Unit of the Registry of Motor Vehicles or the Mass. Division of Insurance Board of Appeal. An important part of that preparation involves collecting documentary evidence showing that you have a substantial hardship which warrants relief and that the causes of the past and/or present violations have been brought under control such that putting you back on the road will not endanger public safety.

Anytime a hardship license is issued, the Board of Appeal or Registry hearings officer who grants the license must have documentary evidence to support issuance of the license. This documentation is maintained in a permanent file. If you are applying for a hardship license because of a DUI or “drunk driving” suspension, you must have evidence that you have enrolled in or completed a DUI alcohol education and treatment program, such as the Mass. DUI 24D Program for DUI First Offenders. Subsequent offenders must also provide a discharge summary which shows the subsequent DUI offender’s recidivism classification or risk of relapse. Repeat DUI offenders who not have the required discharge summary may be able to substitute an alcohol evaluation report from a license drug and alcohol counselor or therapist. This document is key, because a licensed professional provides his or her expert opinion regarding the risk of relapse.

In addition to the alcohol program discharge summary, letters from individuals who are familiar with the hardship license applicant are important. These letters should attest to the applicant’s character and fitness to safely operate a motor vehicle. In cases involving alcohol, they should attest to sobriety and involvement in AA or similar recovery programs. In drug hardship license cases, the letters should discuss abstinence from drugs and the hardship license applicant’s recovery efforts. Generally, the more of these letters presented, the better.


The “work letter” is an important part of hardship license appeals. The letter should be written by the applicant’s employer. It should explain why he or she needs to drive, discuss the lack of public transportation, and list the hardship license candidate’s work hours. The Registry of Motor Vehicles requires a signed original work letter, on letterhead, not more than thirty (30) days old. The Board of Appeal will accept a fax or photocopy of the hardship license work letter. Hardship license candidates who are self-employed must submit proof of self-employment. This is required because people who are unemployed sometimes falsely attempt to claim that they are self-employed. Those seeking a hardship license because of medical or educational reasons must provide documentation regarding their medical appointments or their enrollment in school and their need to drive as a result thereof.


Massachusetts Hardship license applicants who are on probation or parole must submit a letter from the applicant’s parole or probation officer. The letter should outline any history of violations or lack thereof. It is helpful if the letter also discusses sobriety or drug abstinence, if applicable. The letter should also discuss the results of any breathalyzer or urine testing.


Generally, the more documentation an offender has, the better the chances that he or she will be able to obtain a hardship license. Candidates who are serious about getting a hardship license often hire lawyer who routinely practices before the Registry of Motor Vehicles and Board of Appeal. This can often make the difference between getting a license or getting denied and having to serve out your license suspension. If you are interested in legal representation, please contact me. My office handles all aspects of the hardship license case, from filing to presenting the case at the Board of Appeal or Registry Hardship License hearing. Most clients believe that it is money well spent. Due to the strong public and political sentiment against drunk drivers and those who commit drug and motor vehicle crimes, hardship licenses are not easy to get. Hiring a lawyer can substantially increase your chances of success.