Courthouses across Massachusetts remain essentially closed and urgent court business is being done via teleconference. The Board of Appeal is not holding any hardship license or driver’s license suspension hearings. The Board’s office, which is located at 1000 Washington Street in Boston is closed currently to the public and it will remain closed for the foreseeable future.
In some cases, the Board might resolve license suspension and hardship license appeals via an administrative review process which does not involve a hearing. However, in most cases, the Board will require an actual hearing to be conducted and, unfortunately, those hearings are not likely to occur anytime soon.
It is highly unlikely that the Board will decide indefinite immediate threat appeals and requests for DUI hardship licenses without full evidentiary hearings, and an opportunity for the Registry’s lawyers to oppose reinstatement.
Some Division of Insurance Board of Appeal employees are working remotely. However, the Board is not functioning as usual during this Covid-19 Pandemic. There are likely to be considerable delays with respect to the filing and docketing of appeals as well as the issuance of findings and orders.
Because of this international pandemic, the backlog of appeals and hearing requests has gone from bad to worse. This is a simple function of supply and demand. The Registry continues to suspend licenses on a daily basis and the Board does not currently have adequate capacity to process these suspension appeals.
The Registry of Motor Vehicles is also operating on a very limited basis. The Registry is not holding in-person hearings at any locations and license reinstatements must be done via a document review process.
It is currently unknown when these agencies will return to normal operations. Their employees are working diligently to serve the public during this international pandemic where social distancing is required and in-person hearings are prohibited. Under this current system, anyone who is trying to appeal a suspension or get reinstated is likely facing an uphill battle.