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Attorney Brian Simoneau is a great lawyer. He is very versed on the current laws and he will help you convey a well organized winning case. I would highly recommend him.
James F.
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Massachusetts RMV Board of Appeal

When it comes to hardship licenses in Massachusetts, the Registry of Motor Vehicles is not the only game in town. There is a three-member appellate Board that has the legal authority to overrule any decision of the Registrar of Motor Vehicles. This Board is known as the Division of Insurance, Board of Appeal. It is comprised of appointees from the Office of the Attorney General, the Commissioner of Insurance, and MassDOT. These Board Members hear and decide Cinderella License cases and other appeals of adverse RMV actions.

These Board of Appeal hearings are more formal than Registry Hearings. Certain Rules of Evidence Apply, and legal procedures are followed. These hearings must be scheduled in advance, and unlike Registry hearings, they are not granted on a walk-in basis.

Anyone appearing before the Board of Appeal has the right to be represented by legal counsel, and it is strongly recommended that you have a lawyer who specializes in this area of law to handle your case. My office receives a large number of calls from dissatisfied Appellants who made the mistake of appearing before the Division of Insurance Board of Appeal without an attorney or with the wrong lawyer, only to be denied and have their license suspensions affirmed. If you would like to appeal a decision about your license, contact The Law Office of Brian Simoneau, P.C., at 508-665-2995 today for assistance.

What is the Board of Appeal?

As an independent administrative agency, the three-member appeals board is not bound by the Registry’s procedures or regulations. This means that the Board of Appeal has the legal authority to grant you a hardship license even if you have not served enough time under the Registry’s guidelines. For example, in 3rd offense OUI cases, the Registry will not consider you for a hardship license until you have served two years of the eight-year revocation. The Appeals Board, on the other hand, can consider you for a hardship license immediately as soon as any breathalyzer refusal suspension expires.

Also, unlike the Registry, the Board of Appeal can authorize the issuance of a hardship license even if you have multiple suspensions in effect. For example, the Registry will not consider you for a hardship license if you have multiple drug suspensions in effect at the same time. The Board is not bound by this restriction, and it has granted hardship licenses while multiple drug suspensions are running, where the suspensions are triggered by a single incident.

Basically, the Board has much more latitude and discretion than the Registry when it comes to the issuance of a hardship license. Contact a lawyer for more information.

How Do You Get a Hardship License?

The Registry only grants hardship licenses for certain suspensions, such as those associated with Operating Under the Influence and being a Habitual Traffic Offender. The Appeals Board can grant a hardship license on almost any suspension, including those for seven surchargeable events, window tint violations, reckless driving, operating to endanger, negligent operation, and ignition interlock violations. The Board also hears a large number of indefinite immediate threat revocation appeals.

Unless there is a challenge to the accuracy of the Appellant’s driving record, one type of suspension that the Board will not hear is Chemical Test Refusal (CTR) suspension. The Board has determined that these must be first appealed to the Registry within 15 days and then to the District Court. The Board will generally not hear CTR suspension appeals or grant hardship licenses to repeat OUI offenders while the three or five-year Breathalyzer refusal suspension is still running. The Board of Appeal will not grant hardship licenses to those repeat DUI offenders who have valid lifetime chemical test refusal suspensions.

If you need to appear before the Board of Appeal, I invite you to contact my office to discuss how we might be able to help you get your driver’s license reinstated, either on a limited or full-time basis.

If the Board grants any relief in the form of a hardship license or early return of a full license, the Board reserves the right to review this decision in light of new information being provided to the Board or if new offenses or evidence of substance abuse occurred after the date of this hearing is reported to the Board.

If you have not addressed outstanding fines/fees related to the return of your motor vehicle license (ex, moving violations, excise tax. parking tickets, etc.), a requirement to complete a National Safety Council course, or reinstatement requirements for any out of state motor vehicle license suspension/revocation, any modification or issuance of a motor vehicle license by this Board will not be effective unless and until these requirements are satisfied.

What If I Was Denied A Hardship License?

If MassDOT has denied you a hardship license, you have the legal right to challenge that denial by filing an appeal with the Board of Appeal. You also have the right to be represented by an attorney, and due to the complexities associated with Board of Appeal procedures and Massachusetts hardship licensing laws, this is strongly recommended.

Three members comprise the Board of Appeal. They are designated by the Commissioner of Insurance, Registrar of Motor Vehicles, and Massachusetts Attorney General. In order to win a Board of Appeal case, two of the three members must vote in your favor.

The Board of Appeal is located at 1000 Washington Street, Suite 810, in Boston, Massachusetts, and the Board conducts hearings at its Boston Office, at the Marlborough District Court, at the Plymouth District Court, and the Springfield City Hall. You can reach the Board of Appeal by phone at (877) 563-4467, and the fax number is (617) 521-7539.

Unlike the RMV, the Board issues written decisions within approximately ten days of the hearing. If the Board’s decision is favorable, you must take the Board’s Finding and Order to a Registry hearings officer to start the reinstatement process. The Board’s decision is only an order granting you a license; it is not a driver’s license itself. In order to get an actual license, you must meet all reinstatement requirements and pay any required fees.

Representing Yourself vs. Getting A Board of Appeal Lawyer

Getting a hardship license from the Board is by no means automatic, and legal representation is highly recommended. I get countless inquiries from desperate people who have made the mistake of representing themselves before the Board of Appeal only to have been denied hardship licenses. Unfortunately, when this happens, there is usually little I can do to help.

The time to engage the services of a hardship license lawyer is prior to the Board of Appeal hearing. There is a lot of preparation work that needs to be done before you are in front of the Board, and going in without the required documentation and preparation is a huge mistake. Contact The Law Office of Brian Simoneau, P.C., at 508-665-2995 today for assistance.