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Out of State NDR Suspensions: A “Show Stopper” in Mass. Hardship License Appeals


There are several issues which may prevent the Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles or the Board of Appeal from hearing your hardship license case. One of the most common “show stoppers” is an active National Driver Registry (NDR) revocation. A NDR suspension or revocation will appear on your Massachusetts Driving Record when another state has placed a “hold” on your license through a nationwide database of driver’s license information called the National Driver Registry or NDR. The purpose of the NDR is to prevent drivers from getting licensed in one state to avoid a suspension or revocation from another state. Without the NDR, drivers could avoid consequences and financial responsibility by getting licensed in other states. Before the NDR and interstate compacts, if a driver was suspended or revoked in New Hampshire, for example, he or she could simply apply for a license in Massachusetts. Now, with the NDR, the general rule is that if you are suspended or revoked in any state, you cannot be licensed anywhere.

The Board of Appeal does not override or vacate NDR license suspensions because, to do so, would undermine the NDR system. Instead, the Board requires that hardship license applicants clear the NDR suspension by going through the Mass. Registry’s NDR suspension clearance process. Alternatively, it is possible to present the clearance documents directly to the Board of Appeal at the time of the hearing, so that the Board will hear the hardship license case. However, the Board will only rule on the Massachusetts license suspension or revocation and the Registry will not reinstate the license, even if the applicant is successful at the Board of Appeal, unless and until the NDR clearance process is completed.

Because of this NDR and other “show stoppers” it is important to have an attorney thoroughly review your driving record prior to your Board of Appeal hearing. Otherwise, the Board may refuse to hear your case until any other outstanding issues are resolved. To avoid embarrassment before the Board, and increase your chances of success, your driving record should also be carefully reviewed for unpaid parking tickets, traffic citations, excise tax, child support, and several other important issues.

If you are interested in representation in a Massachusetts Hardship License Appeal, please contact Attorney Brian E. Simoneau.

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