The Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles and the Division of Insurance Board of Appeal authorize the issuance of hardship licenses, in certain cases, to allow a person whose license has been suspended or revoked to drive for a limited 12 hour period.

Hardship licenses are allowed based on the realization that someone whose license has been suspended or revoked may need to legally drive to get to work, school, or medical appointments. By statute, a hardship license is only valid for the 12 hour period for which it has been issued.

The Registry only issues hardship licenses for operating under the influence, habitual traffic offender, and drug-related license revocations.  To be considered for a Massachusetts hardship license for any other suspension reason including 7 surchargeable events or no liability policy violations, candidates must apply to the RMV Board of Appeal. Hardship licenses are usually not easy to obtain and it makes sense to hire an attorney who handles Registry and hardship license cases to represent you.

It may become necessary, during the term of a hardship license, to have the 12 hour driving period changed. This can be accomplished by going back to either the Registry or the Board of Appeal and requesting that your hardship license hours be changed. If your license was issued by the Registry without a Board of Appeal hearing, you can accomplish the change of hours by going directly to the Registry and meeting with a RMV hearings officer. Alternatively, if the Registry issued your license pursuant to a Board of Appeal finding and order, you must go first to the Board of Appeal to get a new order and then to the Registry to actually have the hours changed. The Board will accept faxed or mailed documentation regarding a change of hours. It is generally not necessary to hire a Massachusetts Registry Attorney to handle a change of hours.