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Representing Yourself at a RMV Hardship License Hearing

Massachusetts Registry News

Other than in straightforward DUI 1st offense hardship license cases, I do not recommend representing yourself at a RMV suspension or hardship license hearing. However, not everyone can afford a lawyer and not all Massachusetts DUI lawyers provide representation at the Registry of Motor Vehicles as part of the services which they provide. If you are trying to represent yourself at a hardship license or suspension hearing before the Driver Control Unit of the Registry of Motor Vehicles, this article will help you understand the process.However, to increase your chances of success, you should have a lawyer assist you with the hardship license or suspension appeal process.

First, you should request and thoroughly review your driving record to see if there is anything holding up your reinstatement. Unpaid speeding or traffic tickets, parking tickets, and excise tax will block reinstatement or a hardship license.  Next, if your license is suspended for 5 surchargable events or because you are a habitual traffic offender, you must take the National Safety Council Class. If your license was suspended for speeding while on a JOL, you must take the NSC Alive at 25 Class as well as the State Courts Against Road Rage program.  Outstanding warrants and recent evidence of driving on a suspended license will also prevent reinstatement or a success at hardship license hearing.

Next, you should review your driving record to make sure that you’ve served the minimum amount of suspension time. The RMV absolutely will not reinstate you or grant you a hardship license until you’ve served enough time. There are different time standards, depending on the suspension reason. Habitual Traffic Offenders must serve 1 year, drug offenders must serve ½ of the suspension time, DUI 2nd offenders must serve 1 year, 3rd offenders must serve 2 years, and DUI 4th offenders must serve 5 years. The Registry can only grant hardship licenses for drug, habitual traffic offender, and DUI suspensions. All other hardship license requests must go before the Board of Appeal of the Massachusetts Division of Insurance.

The next step in the Massachusetts hardship license process is to collect documents. The RMV will require a letter from your work, school, or physician, explaining your hardship and need for a license. The letter should state how public transportation will not suffice. School or work letter should clearly state your school or work hours. Medical hardship letters should explain your appointment schedule, as best as possible. A 12 hour hardship license, which is also known as a work or Cinderella license is valid for 12 hours each day and the hours must coincide with your work, school, or medical need to drive. The letter(s) must be on letterhead and no less than thirty (30) days old.  Other documentation such as a letter from probation, letters of recommendation, reports showing clean drug screens, drug or alcohol program completion certificates, alcohol evaluations, and discharge summaries showing risk of recidivism should also be presented, depending on the case.

Finally, you should prepare to make a compelling case to the hearings officer. You should be ready to explain why you are not a risk to public safety and why you have a substantial need to drive, beyond simple inconvenience. Be ready to address anything in your driving or criminal record, both of which the hearing officer will review. Again, hiring a lawyer is usually the best option and this brief article cannot cover everything related to effective hardship license hearing preparation. However, this information will give you a good starting point if you have decided to represent yourself at a Mass. RMV license suspension hearing. if you are granted a hardship license or full reinstatement, you must pay the applicable license reinstatement fee.

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