Massachusetts RMV Board of Appeal
If the Massachusetts Registry has sent you a notice advising you of a ruling or decision by the RMV regarding your Mass. drivers license and you wish to appeal a license suspension, you may file a drivers license appeal with the Board of Appeal. There is a non-refundable $50.00 filing fee to appeal your license suspension. You must appear in person at your hearing, and you are entitled to be represented by an Attorney.
The Board of Appeal hears Mass. License Suspension and hardship license cases. After a hearing, pursuant to G.L. c. 90 § 28, the Board may order the Registry’s ruling or decision to be affirmed, modified, or annulled. The Board has the power to grant hardship licenses even when the Mass. DMV says no. The Mass. Board of Appeal handles approximately 6,000 license suspension cases each year and Board of Appeal hearings are scheduled based on the length of the suspension and when the appeal was filed. Unlike most Mass. RMV Hearngs, Board hearings are not conducted on a walk-in basis.
The Board of Appeals is a three-member panel, consisting of representatives of the Registrar of Motor Vehicles, the Attorney General and the Commissioner of Insurance. The Board conducts drivers license appeals and other appeals from actions of the Mass. Registry of Motor Vehicles. These appeals reflect license suspensions ranging in duration from thirty days to lifetime suspensions. In certain cases, these suspensions require the installation and maintenance of an alcohol-detection device. Contact a license reinstatement attorney to discuss your Drivers License Appeal and how to obtain a hardship license.
The Board of Appeal has the power to modify or annul Massachusetts license suspensions & revocations. The Board of Appeal also has the power to order the Registry to issue DMV hardship licenses. However, in order to win at a Hardship License Hearing it is not enough to show that your license suspension has caused inconvenience or that you could make more money if you had a license. To succeed in front of the Board of Appeal, you must show a compelling hardship. "Indeed, if the need for transportation qualified as a hardship requiring license reinstatement, the Board would have to return a license to almost every appellant." Richardson v. Bd. of Appeal on Motor Vehicle Liab. Policies & Bonds, 2005 Mass. Super. LEXIS 524.
In each case, the Board of Appeal thoroughly reviews the applicants driving history, criminal record, police reports, and other pertinent documents. An important consideration appears to be whether the applicant was caught driving after his or her license was suspended. Also, it is not uncommon for Board members to question the driver regarding his or her driving record, family situation, substance abuse, alcohol use, alcohol counseling, employment, criminal record, etc...
Registry attorneys know the types of questions which the Board of Appeal member's ask and we are familiar with the Board's concerns regarding license reinstatements and hardship licenses. It is a mistake to have a Board of Appeal Hearing before you are prepared. If you have not served enough suspension time or you do not have the evidence required to persuade the Board to restore your drivers license or grant you a DMV hardship license, you will not succeed. If you loose your case before the Board, you may have to serve the entire length of your license suspension. Unless the Board gives you a re-apply date, the Board will usually not hear your case again. It is not a good idea to try to represent yourself and hire a lawyer if you loose. If you are interested in hiring a lawyer to represent you before the Board of Appeal, the time to do it is BEFORE you file the Appeal or have your hearing.
Once you appeal a license suspension to the Board of Appeal, the RMV will not take any action on your license revocation or suspension. It is therefore critical to be well prepared and have good legal representation at your suspension appeal hearing.
Your hearing will be scheduled in the order in which it is received and according to the length of the drivers license suspension. There are no exceptions in order to be fair to all those filing appeals. Approximate time frame for a hearing to be scheduled once your appeal has been received:
30 day suspension approx. 2 weeks
60 day suspension approx. 3 weeks
4 – 8 year loss approx. 6 to 8 weeks
10 year loss approx. 3 to 6 months
others approx. 3 to 6 weeks
If you are on probation or parole, you must notify your probation or parole officer that you are attempting to obtain a hardship license. You should provide a letter to the Board from your probation or parole officer certifying that you are in compliance.
The laws regarding license suspensions, reinstatements, and hardship licenses are complex and sometimes confusing. A skilled attorney who is familiar with Massachusetts Motor Vehicle Laws can make the difference between winning at the Board of Appeal or having to serve the term of your license suspension.
If you wish to have your drivers license appeal continued so that you may have an attorney present or to obtain additional information, advise the Board prior to your hearing and they may grant you a continuance. Your attorney will contact the Board when you are prepared to go forward. If you decide to proceed with your hearing and then are not satisfied with the decision you will not be granted a second hearing before the Board, your avenue of appeal will be to Superior Court. Therefore, it is important to be represented by a skilled attorney.
Massachusetts Suspended License Lawyers have helped numerous clients get their license back by appealing their suspensions to the Board of Appeal. We have a proven track record of success. Contact us today for a free consultation.
If the Board grants any relief in the form of a hardship license or early return of a full license, the Board reserves the right to review this decision in light of new information being provided to the Board,or if new offenses or evidence of substance abuse occurred after the date of this hearing are reported to the Board. If you have not addressed: 1) outstanding fines/fees related to the return of your motor vehicle license (ex: moving violations, excise tax. parking tickets, etc.); 2) a requirement to complete a National Safety Council course; or 3) reinstatement requirements for any out of state motor vehicle license suspension/revocation, any modification or issuance of a motor vehicle license by this Board will not be effective unless and until these requirements are satisfied. Contact us for more information.