The two central questions to be decided in every Massachusetts hardship license case is the applicant’s need to drive and the risk to public safety which may be created by putting the hardship license applicant back on the road. Both the RMV and Board of Appeal balance these risks when deciding whether or not to grant a hardship license.
Many people think that hardship licenses are automatically granted and that there is a right to obtain a hardship license, once the applicant has served enough time. This is wrong. Hardship licenses are discretionary and there no automatic right to get one. Even if a driver meets all of the RMV hardship license criteria and requirements, both the RMV and the Board of Appeal can refuse to afford hardship relief. For all intents and purposes, the decision of the Board of Appeal in hardship license cases is final. It is next to impossible to win a hardship license appeal in superior court.
One of the central parts of a hardship license hearing is documentation in the form of letters which support the issuance of a hardship license. These letters should address the applicant’s need to drive and risk of recidivism, or lack thereof. The letters should be written by people who know the applicant and can provide a personal firsthand prespective regarding the applicant’s recovery efforts and/or need for a license. The letters should explain how the hardship license applicant has brought the causes of the past and present violations under control such that he or she can be entrusted to safely drive a vehicle.
Many applicants misunderstand the above-described requirement and they provide “character reference” type letters. These letters are only marginally helpful and the real focus should be on how the hardship license candidate can be trusted to resume driving and how the lack of a license has impacted the candidate and his or her family.
In every case where a license is being sought for work purposes, the hearing package should include a letter from the candidate’s employer, on letterhead, not less than 30 days old, which explains the candidate’s work hours and need to drive. If applicable, the letter should also explain how there is no public transportation available. Individuals who are self employed can write their own letter and provide proof of self-employment.
Hiring a lawyer who specializes in Massachusetts Hardship License Appeals can dramatically increase your chances of success at both Registry and Board of Appeal hearings.