I recently attended a Board of Appeal hardship license hearing where the Board members inquired regarding an open restraining order, which is also known as an abuse prevention order or a “209A.” The Board became aware of this order because it obtains and reviews complete “Board of Probation” reports which are also knows as CORI reports regarding every applicant for a hardship license. In Massachusetts, the Commissioner of Probation maintains a statewide domestic violence record keeping system which contains copies of active and closed restraining orders.
Some Board of Appeal members may view restraining orders as indicative of someone who may be a danger to public safety or someone who may not have a drug or alcohol problem completely under control. It is therefore important to notify your hardship license lawyer if you have any recent restraining or abuse prevention orders.
At your hardship license hearing, you should be able to explain what triggered issuance of the restraining order and why it should not prevent you from holding a hardship license. Given their years of experience, the members of the Board of Appeal are aware that restraining orders are often issued on flimsy evidence and sometimes the product of fabricated allegations of domestic violence. 209A orders are sometimes used abusively by litigants for purposes of discovery and harassment. Nevertheless, those appearing before the Registry of Motor Vehicles or the Division of Insurance Board of Appeal, who are seeking a hardship license, should be able to candidly and fully explain the full facts and circumstances surrounding any recent restraining orders.