The Board of Appeal does not automatically grant hardship licenses and there are some common hardship license denial reasons which I will briefly explain. In any hardship license case which comes before the Board of Appeal of the Division of Insurance, the presumption is that you should serve the license suspension as imposed by the Registry under Massachusetts General Law. This means that the issuance of a hardship license is considered extraordinary relief. As such, a hardship license applicant must make a strong showing regarding the need to drive and that returning the driver to the road will not compromise public safety.
The first reason why the appeals board denies hardship license requests is that there is other transportation available, such as public transportation or the ability to get rides to and from work from friends, family members, co-workers. A hardship license should be a “last resort,” meaning that there are no other practical means of transportation for school, work, or medical reasons. Your hardship must be adequately documented and a lawyer can help ensure that you have the right documentation and there are ways to document a work related hardship without informing your employer about the loss of your license.
Next, the Board sometimes denies hardship licenses because it simply decides not to exercise its discretion. The Board’s decision regarding authorizing a hardship license is “purely discretionary” and the Board is allow to simply decline to exercise its discretion. The Board can consider hardship, but it is not bound to issue a license even if hardship is present. Consequently, hiring a lawyer can increase your chances of persuading the Board to find in your favor.
The third hardship license denial reason is that the Appellant has open or pending criminal cases or cases involving pending civil motor vehicle infractions. If you have pending suspensions which might trigger new license suspensions if you are convicted or found responsible, the Board will likely refuse to even hear your case until the other violations resolved. This is because any relief granted by the Board would be negated by any new court findings against you, which would trigger new suspensions. The Board hears over 5,000 cases each year and it has to be judicious with its hearing time.
Fourth, if there is recent evidence of operating after suspension, the Board is very likely to deny your appeal. The Board views hardship licensing as extraordinary relief and the general position is that if someone was recently found driving on a suspended license, they do not deserve a hardship license because they’ve shown a conscious disregard for the law.
Fifth, you have multiple license suspensions which are in effect at the time, it is difficult to get a hardship license from the Board of Appeal. You should speak with a Board of Appeal Lawyer regarding this situation.
Sixth, if you have previously received hardship relief from the Board of Appeal the Board is less likely to grant you hardship relief in the future.
Seventh, If you have a lengthy or poor driving record which contains multiple suspensions and revocations, the Board is less inclined to rule in your favor. Because of this, my office carefully screens clients before bringing them before the Board of Appeal. Generally, the longer your driving and criminal records, the less likely the Board of Appeals is to grant you a hardship license.
With all of these hardship license denial reasons, it makes sense to consult with a lawyer prior to applying for a hearing. There is a real and appreciable risk that if you appear before the Board unprepared, the Board may rule against you and require you to serve the entirety of your license suspension with no relief. The best way to guard against this is to hire a lawyer to prepare your case and represent you before the Board. Legal representation includes case preparation, submitting a hearing memorandum, and presenting the case at your hearing.