Keeping your Massachusetts Hardship License

Obtaining a hardship license in Massachusetts is not easy, especially for repeat offenders. For many, getting the license is only half the battle. Holding onto the license is the other half. If you are fortunate enough to have received hardship relief, you must be extremely careful to not lose it. A hardship license is only valid for twelve (12) hours each day. If you are found driving outside of your hardship license hours, you may be arrested and, if you are convicted, the Registry of Motor Vehicles will revoke your hardship license and impose the balance of the original license suspension. Also, driving outside of your hardship hours is considered “unlicensed operation” and it may result in an additional 4 year habitual traffic offender revocation.

When a Massachusetts Police Officer runs your license plate, he or she will be able to easily see that you are on a hardship license. The Registry codes these licenses with Restriction “H.” This code is displayed on police cruiser laptops when your license plate is queried. If you are seen operating after hours, a police officer may legally stop your vehicle to see who is driving, even if you have not committed a motor vehicle violation.

If you are fortunate enough to have received a hardship license, you should consider yourself on “thin ice” with the Registry and Board of Appeal. The Board takes it personally when it grants a hardship license only to have the license holder re-offend. The Board and Registry maintain very good records of those who come before them and they are unlikely to afford subsequent hardship relief.

In summary, observing the “rules of the road” and not driving outside of hours will help insure that you keep your hardship license and avoid future license suspensions.