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What is a Hardship License?


Getting arrested for operating a motor vehicle under the influence (OUI) of alcohol or drugs can cause some serious issues for you, whether or not you are ultimately convicted of the crime. To beat the charges, you will need to spend significant time and money in court and working with a criminal defense attorney, and it is important that during this process you are certain to meet any and all deadlines that are required of you. When you are working with an experienced OUI attorney in Massachusetts, you can be confident that you have a legal professional who is aware of all that is required of you and will make sure that you stay on top of these things, but it is important that you understand what you will need to do in order to maximize your chances of success while minimizing the hardships that you must endure.

An experienced and successful hardship license lawyer, such as Attorney Brian Simoneau, will be able to help you make sure that you have the best chances of being approved for a Mass hardship license if you are eligible, and will be able to identify any and all possible roadblocks to this limited license before you begin the process. If you have been convicted of an OUI in Massachusetts and have lost your license, one of the most important steps that you can take is to work with an attorney who will be able to help you keep your driving privileges so that you are able to continue to earn money, address your medical needs, attend school, and as the name suggests, avoid hardships as a result of your conviction.

Read more below about what a hardship license is, how it can help, how you can maximize your chances of being approved for one, and where to begin today. Contact us now for an initial consultation to learn about the next steps to take and how our team can help you get the outcome that you need and deserve.

What Is a Massachusetts Hardship License?

After being convicted of OUI in Massachusetts, and in some cases even before a conviction, the Registry of Motor Vehicles will suspend your license for a certain amount of time. For example, a second offense OUI conviction results in a 2 suspension, and the penalties increase from there. After five OUI convictions, an individual loses their driving privileges for the rest of their life. During the periods of suspension, the loss of transportation can cause serious problems for the person who has lost their license. While this is simply part of the punishment for their decision to operate a motor vehicle under the influence of drugs and alcohol, there are options to help alleviate these issues if there is a serious threat of hardship if they are unable to use their own personal transportation. Hardship licenses are not available for immediate threat suspensions. However, Attorney Simoneau has been very successful in getting many of these indefinite suspensions overturned on appeal.

In instances where the person convicted of OUI is at risk of a serious hardship if they are unable to drive for the entire length of their license suspension, then there are options available to apply for a Massachusetts hardship license, otherwise known as a “Cinderella license.” This limited license is granted for a 12 hour period each day in order to allow the person to drive a car to and from work, to and from medical treatments, or to and from school. There are few, if any, other reasons that the state will consider to be an actual hardship beyond educational, medical, and income-related requirements, so it is important that you have the proper documentation and proof of the potential hardship before you have your hearing with the RMV or Division of Insurance Board of Appeal.

Keep in mind that even if your reason for needing a hardship license in Massachusetts is 100% valid, there is no guarantee that you will be approved, and you are not automatically entitled to getting the license simply for meeting the requirements. Because the issuance of a hardship license is completely discretionary, we will need to work to build a comprehensive argument for your request to ensure that you have the best chances of being granted this privilege.

Am I Able To Get a Hardship License?

In order to apply for a hardship license, you will need to attend a hearing at a designated Registry of Motor Vehicles location, where you will need to make your case for why you need this license. In order to make your case, you will need compelling documentation that proves your situation and makes a persuasive argument for why the RMV should consider the loss of your driver’s license as creating a true hardship. The Registry must also be convinced that you are safe to operate.

Here are a few of the basic requirements in order for you to get your hardship license in Massachusetts:

You Are At Risk of Hardship If You Can’t Drive

Hardship could be lost wages, and therefore an inability to provide for yourself in your family. However, a hardship could also be if you have recurring medical appointments and you are unable to care for your health because you are unable to get to the medical center. Finally, if you have educational obligations and you are unable to attend because you are unable to drive, this is considered a hardship as well. The Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles does not consider other circumstances, such as being unable to visit with friends or family or being unable to drive your children to sports practice, as a legitimate hardship that warrants a limited license.

You Have Met The Baseline Criteria For Applying

If you have been convicted of a single OUI in Massachusetts and lost your license unless your case was resolved pursuant to G.L. c. 90 Sec. 24D, you will be required to serve three months of the one-year suspension before you are able to apply for your restricted license at the Registry. After a second conviction, your license will be suspended for two years, and you will be required to complete one year of the suspension before you are eligible. After a third conviction, you will be required to complete two years of the eight-year license suspension before your MA hardship license application is considered. If you are convicted of a fourth OUI, your license will be suspended for 10 years, and you will be required to complete five years of the suspension before submitting an application. A fifth OUI conviction results in a lifetime driving ban, with no chance of a hardship license.

In addition to completing the required time of the license suspension, there are other requirements that you will need to show that you have completed. This includes things like there being no evidence of you operating a motor vehicle during your suspension, that you have no other license suspensions that coincide with your OUI suspension, and that you will install an IID (Ignition Interlock Device) in your vehicle, at your own expense, for the duration of your hardship license, if you are required to do so under Massachusetts Law. If you are convicted of a second, third, or fourth OUI, you will be required to install an IID during the term of your hardship license and for two years after removal of the hardship hours.

You Do Not Have Other Reasonable Transportation Options

If you meet all of the criteria, but you happen to live right across the street from a commuter rail stop that goes directly to the medical center, school, or place of employment that you need to get to in order to avoid a hardship, you can be certain that the Registry, and potentially the Board of Appeals will want to know why this isn’t a good option for you. If you have reasonable access to public transportation, then we will need to make a clear case for why this isn’t the only issue that we are asking them to consider.

You Are Approved During Your Hearing

Even if you have met all of the necessary criteria, there is no guarantee that your hearing at the RMV will end in an approval for your Cinderella license. When you are working with a hardship license attorney in Massachusetts, you will be able to make a plan for how you will present your situation, evidence of a hardship, and maximize your chances of being approved before your hearing. In addition to having a plan, you will need all of the required documentation to prove your case. If you arrive at your hearing without the right documents and proof, then it is highly likely that you will be denied in your request and we will need to move towards appealing the decision through the RMV Board of Appeals.

Contact a Massachusetts RMV Lawyer Today

Applying for your Massachusetts hardship license without the help of an attorney can be a complicated and often frustrating process. By working with an experienced attorney who focuses on helping their clients get their hardship licenses, you will be maximizing your chances of success during your RMV hearing and will be able to get back on the road soon. The sooner you contact us after your OUI conviction (or if you have refused a breathalyzer during an arrest), the sooner we will be able to take steps to get your restricted license approved. During your call, we will be able to discuss how to get a hardship license, and how we can help.

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