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Top 10 ways to increase your chances of getting a Massachusetts Hardship License from the Mass. RMV or the Board of Appeal.

The Board of Appeal of the Division of Insurance issues hardship licenses to individuals who had their licenses suspended for DUI, speeding, false license complaints, immediate threat complaints, habitual traffic offender status, 7 surchargable events, refusing the breathalyzer, ignition interlock violations, vehicular homicide, and various other Massachusetts Motor Vehicle Law Violations. In certain cases, hardship licenses are also available directly from the Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles.  Hardship licenses are not automatically granted. The issuance of a hardship license is considered extraordinary relief and you must present a convincing case in order to get one. Listed below are some ways that you can get a hardship license from the Mass. RMV or the Board of Appeal.

Aside from hiring a license suspension specialist, which is often the best way to help ensure that you will get a Mass. hardship license, here are 10 other ways to improve your chances.

Do not get caught operating after suspension. Both the Mass. RMV and the Board of Appeal take evidence of driving on a suspended license seriously and they will hold it against you at a hardship license hearing. The Board and the Registry believe that the appearance of a suspended license charge on your record, even if you were not convicted, shows a disregard for the law and it suggests that you may be a public safety risk.

If your license is suspended because of DUI, drunk driving, or drug offenses, enroll in and successfully complete any required, recommended, or appropriate drug or alcohol programs.  For someone who has a substance abuse or alcohol problem, the Board looks for continued treatment and an effective support system to ensure continued sobriety.

Have a legitimate hardship that was not contemplated by the legislature. The Board of Appeal knows that not having a license is inconvenient; the legislature envisioned this when they drafted the Mass. hardship license laws. You must have a compelling need for a license, such that public transportation or another means of getting to work or medical appointments will not suffice. Someone who is unemployed with no definite job offer will not get a hardship license for work purposes. The Board of Appeal balances the risk to public safety with your need for a license. You must have a real and substantial need to drive.

Bring the appropriate documentation to your hearing. We advise our clients to fax documentation to us prior to the hearing. We attach these documents to the detailed hearing memorandum which we submit in every Board of Appeal case.  Written documentation of the need for a license, participation in counseling, work letters, reference letters, recommendations from probation or parole, program completion certificates, discharge summaries, court dockets, drug screening reports, and all associated documentation is critical.  If you are trying to get a hardship license from the RMV, you must present original documents, signed in ink. The RMV generally does not accept faxes and/or photocopies. The RMV requires that work letters are on letterhead and they cannot be more than 30 days old. The RMV also requires that the work letter state your work hours.

You must have proof of completion of the appropriate alcohol education program in order to get a hardship license from the Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles.

If you are going before the Board of Appeal and you are on parole or probation, you must notify your parole or probation officer that you are attempting to get a license. You should ask them to write a letter on your behalf. The RMV will require this in some cases. It is a good idea in all cases.

Do not try to go to the Registry or Board of Appeal too early. Applying for a hardship license too early can be a fatal mistake. If you have not served enough time, both the Board and the RMV will deny you. If you appear too early, you run the risk of the Board affirming the suspension and not giving you a re-apply date. This means that you may have blown your chance for a hardship license and you may have to serve out the full suspension. Do not let this happen to you. Please consult with a License Suspension Lawyer prior to filing your appeal. We will tell you if the timing is right or if you should serve more time. It costs nothing to do this. You are not obligated to hire us. Please take advantage of this free service.

Answer the Board member’s questions fully and truthfully. At your Board of Appeal hearing, the Board members will ask you certain questions. The Board will assess your credibility and if you are found to be untruthful you will likely be denied relief.  The Board may test your honesty by asking several questions to which they already know the answers. It is critical to be truthful. If you hire a suspended license lawyer to represent you, which is strongly recommended, we will prepare you for the hearing and answer most of the Board’s questions in the detailed memorandum which will be presented at your Board of Appeal hearing.

Comply with parole, probation, aftercare, and the terms and conditions of any continuance without a finding (CWOF). If you violate the terms of your sentence, you may suffer consequences in the form of a new license suspension, the conversion of a CWOF to a conviction, and an extension of your supervision.

If you have multiple substance abuse offenses on your record, in order for the Board to grant you relief, you must generally have some on-going way to maintain your sobriety. Simply saying, “oh, I just don’t drink anymore” is usually unacceptable. The Board views someone with multiple offenses on his or her record as an individual with an alcohol problem who needs on-going treatment and support. This support can come in many forms: regular attendance at AA/NA/Alanon meetings, counseling, group therapy, etc… If you are a repeat offender, having a system in place to maintain your sobriety is extremely important. A suspended license lawyer can help you with this.

Have a license suspension lawyer review your driving record and criminal record to see if there are any outstanding issues such as default warrants, probation violations, unpaid citations, unpaid parking tickets, outstanding excise tax bills, etc… Also, if your license was suspended under the Mass. Habitual Traffic Offender Law or for 7 surchargable events, you must have taken the NSC driver retraining class within the past three (3) years.  If your license was suspended for speeding on a Junior Operator’s License (JOL), you must also take the SCARR Program. It is very important to address these issues and clean up your record prior to your hardship license hearing. A license suspension lawyer will also review your registry record to make sure that it is accurate. Sometimes it does not accurately reflect what happened in court. Correcting inaccuracies in your registry record can improve your chances of success.

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