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Mass. DUI Alcohol Programs for Hardship Licenses

Massachusetts Registry News

alcohol programIn order to get a hardship license from the Registry of Motor Vehicles, you must have completed the appropriate alcohol program. Not all alcohol programs are the same and the Registry’s alcohol program requirements for a hardship license may differ from the program to which you were assigned by the court or probation.

First offenders and “second chance first offenders” must present, to the Mass. Registry, acceptable proof of enrollment in the 24D First Offender Alcohol Program. This is a 16-week out-patient alcohol program that is approved by the Massachusetts Department of Public Health. The program is approximately 40 hours in length. The Registry will only accept this alcohol program at hardship license hearings when you have only one (1) DUI on your record or you have (2) DUI convictions on your record, at least 10 years apart, and the Court approved you for a 24D First Offender Disposition.

If you have 2 drunk driving convictions on your record, in order to get a hardship license from the Registry, the Driver Control Unit Hearings Officer will require you to have completed the 14-day in-patient DUIL program as well as all required aftercare. You must present not only your signed program completion certificate but also a discharge summary showing that you completed aftercare and you have been given a low risk of relapse or recidivism. This hardship license requirement applies whether or not the court convicted you of a first or second OUI. If the official records of the RMV reflect 2 OUI convictions, the Registry will not grant you a hardship license unless you meet these DUI 2nd offense alcohol program requirements.

In order for 3rd offenders to get a hardship license from the Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles, proof of a 90-day in-patient alcohol program must be submitted to a Registry hearings officer. The Registry will also be looking for a discharge summary or alcohol evaluation showing a low risk of relapse or recidivism. Absent this documentation, the Registry will not grant hardship relief. 3rd offenders will have their licenses revoked for eight (8) years.

As a condition of any hardship license for 2nd and 3rd offenders, the Registry will require use of the ignition interlock device during the entire length of the hardship license and for 2 years after getting the 12-hour restriction removed. The RMV and Board of Appeal impose this requirement pursuant to Melanie’s Law.

Anyone who is denied a hardship license by the Registry may appeal the denial to the Division of Insurance Board of Appeal. The Appeals Board has broad powers to reverse, modify, vacate, or annul any decision of the Registry. Board of Appeal hearings are conducted by a 3 member board and they are much more formal than Registry hardship hearings. They must be scheduled in advance and sworn testimony is required. It is strongly recommended that Appellants have competent legal representation at Board of Appeal Hearings.

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