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Appealing a Hardship License Denial

Massachusetts Registry News

Hiring a lawyer to handle your Board of Appeal Hardship License case is strongly advised and it can often make the difference between winning and losing. The issuance of a hardship license is by no means guaranteed. “In Massachusetts, one’s right to operate a motor vehicle is a privilege voluntarily granted” and “continued possession of this privilege is conditioned on obedience to the Legislatures comprehensive regulatory scheme aimed at regulating the motor ways and keeping them safe.”

Many hardship license candidates are unaware how hard it is to get a hardship license. They only decide to hire a lawyer after they represented themselves and were denied a hardship license.  When this happens , the Appellant’s usual recourse is to appeal the denial to Superior Court. There have been no reported decisions where the Superior Court, or any Massachusetts court for that matter, has ordered the Board to issue a hardship license. The Board is legally vested with broad latitude and discretion when it comes to hardship licensing decisions. The reviewing court may not substitute its judgment for that of the Board and must give due weight to the Board’s expertise. A person challenging the Board’s decision bears the “heavy” burden of showing that the hardship license denial is invalid.

In some cases, when an individual appeals a Board or Registry decision, Superior Court judges have not only denied the appeal, but they have also required the person who filed the appeal to pay the costs associated with the case. For example, in the case of Rich v Registrar of Motor Vehicles and Board of Appeal, the Judge Sanders of the Suffolk Superior Court ordered that “The complaint of the plff Charles Rich is hereby is hereby DISMISSED against the deft Registrar of Motor Vehicles, Board of Appeals Motor Vehicle Liability Policies and Bonds and the defts recovers its cost of action entered on docket pursuant to Mass R Civ P 58(a).” Likewise, in the case of Gelinas v. Board of Appeal on Motor Vehicle Liability Policies and Bonds, Judge John S. McCann dismissed an appeal and awarded costs to the MA Board of Appeal on Motor Vehicle Liability Policies and Bonds.

One of the best ways to avoid a hardship license denial is to consult with an attorney prior to filing your case with the Board of Appeal. Call 508-656-0057 or e-mail Attorney Brian E. Simoneau ( for a free consultation and review of your situation.

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