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Mass. Hardship License Minimum Mandatory Suspension Periods


There are two potential sources for hardship licenses in Massachusetts, the Registry of Motor Vehicles and the Division of Insurance Board of Appeal. The Board has the legal authority to order the Registry to issue a hardship license, even when the RMV has initially refused to do so or where the Registry says that you cannot get a hardship license (e.g. 7 Surchargable Event or JOL Speeding License Suspensions).

However, there are certain waiting periods for hardship licenses. This means that you must serve a portion of the license suspension period prior to attempting to get a hardship license. These waiting periods are statutory, meaning that they are written into the Massachusetts hardship license laws.

The Massachusetts hardship license waiting periods are as follows:

For a 2nd offense OUI, you must serve 1 year of the 2 year license suspension.

For a 3rd offense OUI, you must serve 2 years of the 8 year license suspension.

For a 4th offense OUI, you must serve 5 years of the 10 year license suspension.

For a 5th offense OUI, your license will be revoked for life. There is no provision for hardship licensing. However, it may be possible to get a hardship license after you have served a considerable period of the suspension and you have a legitimate and documented need to drive.

The above-listed suspension periods are in addition to any chemical test refusal suspension, which must be served first. CTR suspensions run consecutively and not concurrently with OUI suspensions. Please contact Attorney Brian E. Simoneau, using the contact form on this site if you are interested in appealing your CTR or breathalyzer refusal suspension.

You will need to have the ignition interlock device installed in your vehicle during the entire term of any hardship license for the above-listed DUI suspensions and for a 2 year period after reinstating your full license. There are absolutely no exceptions to this rule.

Habitual Traffic Offenders must serve 1 year of the 4 year license revocation prior to applying for a hardship license.

Drug Offenders must serve 1/2 of the license suspension before seeking a hardship license.

In rare cases of extreme hardship, it may be possible to get a license from the Board of Appeal sooner than the above-listed waiting periods. However, the Board of Appeal generally follows the above-listed guidelines and the RMV always adheres to them. The Registry absolutely will not consider issuing a hardship license if you have not served these minimum suspension periods.

Also, the Board of Appeal routinely does not give “credit for time served” on a license suspension if the person seeking a hardship license was incarcerated for a substantial period of time. The Board’s logic is that the person could not have driven if he or she wanted to.

If you apply for a hardship license too early, you run the risk of the Board of Appeal voting to affirm the suspension without giving you a re-apply date. If this happens, you may have to serve the full length of the suspension, with no hardship relief. Contact Attorney Brian Simoneau for more information.  

If you have any questions regarding how to get a Hardship License, please contact me.

Attorney Brian E. Simoneau

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