The Authority of the Board of Appeal

G.L. c. 90 § 28 confers upon the Board, “overarching authority to affirm, modify, or annul any decision of the Registry.” This means that you can obtain a hardship license from the Board of Appeal even if the Registry has denied your appeal or refused to even consider issuing you hardship license. For example, in letters regarding 7 surchargeable events cases, the Registry states that the law does not provide for the issuance of hardship licenses. However, despite this statement, the Board of Appeal of the Massachusetts Division of Insurance will hear your hardship license appeal and I have obtained hardship licenses from the Board of Appeal in cases involving  7 surchargeable events suspensions.

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 had 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 2 years of the 8 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.