Hardship Licenses for DUI 3rd Offenders

If you are a Massachusetts resident with 3 DUI convictions, you will have an 8 year OUI 3rd offense license revocation. You can be considered for a hardship license. However, you will likely be denied at the Registry and forced to go before the Board of Appeal. The Registry requires completion of a specific 90 day residential (in-patient) alcohol program as a condition for the issuance of a 3rd offender hardship license and few applicants have this required program.

Fortunately, the Board of Appeal can grant you a hardship license even if the Registry initially refuses to so. Massachusetts law gives the Board the legal authority to order the Registry to issue a license. Getting one of these orders from the appeals board will require scheduling and attending an evidentiary hearing before the 3 member Board. The Board members will be looking for certain documentation and information showing that the Appellant has a legitimate need to drive and his or her alcohol or drug issues have been brought under control such that granting a license would not represent a threat to public safety.

It is strongly recommended to have a lawyer represent you at the Board of Appeal because this is often your one and only opportunity to be granted hardship relief. If the Board denies your appeal, you may be forced to serve the remainder of your revocation period with no driver’s license. This often occurs because the person seeking hardship relief is unable to demonstrate, to the Board’s satisfaction, that he or she qualifies for relief and that any alcohol or substance abuse problem is being effectively addressed so that there is a low probability of relapse or recidivism.

There are many other things that can derail a hardship license appeal such as recent evidence of operation, unpaid child support, being suspended in another state, unresolved criminal charges, open cases, active warrants or defaults, insufficient documentation regarding alcohol or drug treatment, inadequate “sober time,” and/or violations of terms and conditions of probation.

If you are facing an 8 year license revocation as a third offender, please contact my office to discuss your case and how a hardship license attorney may be able to help you get back on the road, so that you can go to work and continue to support yourself and your family.

No Hardship License for Child Support Suspension – No Exceptions

license_suspensionIf you owe child support to the Massachusetts Department of Revenue, you may be at risk of having your driver’s license indefinitely revoked by the Registry of Motor Vehicles. G.L. c. 90, § 22(g) requires MassDOT to indefinitely and automatically revoke a person’s driver’s license once the Massachusetts DOR has made a final determination regarding child support delinquency and the delinquent amount due remains unpaid. The law provides no right to a Registry hearing regarding this type of license revocation. Instead, an appeal hearing can be held at the Mass. Dept. of Revenue. This DOR Child Support Enforcement (CSE) hearing, which is held pursuant to G.L. c. 119A § 16 is the only avenue available to contest this type of mandatory license revocation. Absolutely no hardship license is available while a non-payment of child support revocation is in effect and there are no exceptions to this rule.  Neither the Registry nor the Division of Insurance Board of Appeal will grant hardship relief for this type of license loss and it makes no sense to hire a Registry lawyer to fight this type of suspension.

Child support arrearages are often the result of unfavorable divorce or other probate and family court judgments. The best away to avoid this type of situation is to hire the best divorce lawyer you can find, such as Attorney Mary Jo Hart, whose office is located at 290 West Main Street in Northborough, Massachusetts.

Once you have addressed the delinquency with the Child Support Enforcement Unit of the Massachusetts Dept. of Revenue (DOR), your license will not automatically be reinstated. Instead, you must pay a $100.00 reinstatement fee to resolve the indefinite revocation. The DOR is supposed to electronically notify the RMV that the delinquency has been addressed. If this does not happen automatically, you can bring a copy of the DOR release to a Registry Hearings Officer for entry into the MassDOT computer system.

Again, do not bother trying to get a hardship license if the Mass. DOR has revoked your license. No hardship licenses are available in this situation and, unfortunately, there are absolutely no exceptions. Instead, you must address the issue through the state Department of Revenue.

Senate to Debate Ignition Interlock License Bill

On Saturday, July 23, 2016 the Massachusetts State Senate is scheduled to debate a Bill which would remove the waiting periods for hardship licenses and allow those who refused to submit to a chemical test or those who fail a breathalyzer test to immediately obtain ignition-interlock-restricted licenses.

If passed, the law will also allow those convicted of DUI, DUI causing serious bodily injury, and Motor Vehicle Homicide involving alcohol, to appeal their licenses suspensions to the Registry of Motor Vehicles and be considered for full time license reinstatements, without having to serve any minimum-mandatory suspension periods. Any license issued under this law would have a mandatory ignition interlock device (IID) requirement.

Under the proposed legislation, the Registry retains the authority to establish requirements and restrictions in addition to mandatory use of the IID. The proposed legislation requires completion of any jail or prison sentence as well as enrollment in an approved alcohol education program.

For those DUI offenders who are on probation, any violation of the terms and conditions of probation would result in the immediate revocation of the ignition interlock license.

Currently, repeat DUI offenders in Massachusetts are required to install a certified ignition interlock device in any vehicle which the repeat offender owns, leases, or operates. This law appears to remove that requirement and it only requires IID installation in any vehicle which the drunk driving offender operates. Therefore, it appears possible for a driver with an ignition interlock license to be able to legally own and lease a vehicle not equipped with a certified IID, so long as the offender does not drive that vehicle.

If enacted, this legislation will allow repeat DUI offenders to be considered for ignition interlock licenses regardless of the number of prior drunk driving convictions the offender has. It also makes ignition interlock licenses available to those who have been convicted of vehicular homicide and those who have permanently lost their driving privileges due to breathalyzer refusals with multiple prior operating under the influence convictions.

Once the Bill is passed in the Senate, it still needs to be passed in the Massachusetts House of Representatives and signed by the Governor. Assuming that it passes and is enacted, it is scheduled to take effect on January 1st of next year.

Common Hardship License Denial Reasons

There are many reasons why you may be denied a hardship license either at the Registry of Motor Vehicles or the Board of Appeal. Some denial reasons include: recent evidence of operating after suspension, the lack of adequate paperwork or documentary evidence, recent criminal activity, probation violations, a high breathalyzer reading, prior hardship relief, a high risk of recidivism / relapse, failure to satisfy treatment goals, a court-ordered license suspension, being blocked in the National Driver Register (NDR) and an inadequate showing of hardship.

Effective case preparation is essential to avoid being denied a hardship license for one of the above-listed reasons. One of the services that my office provides to our clients is a complete review of your situation prior to your Board of Appeal hearing. We work to anticipate and address potential problems and pitfalls as part of a case screening process. This will reduce your chances of being refused relief and increase your chances of success before the Board.

You should satisfy all unpaid obligations prior to your hearing before the Board of Appeal. This includes parking tickets, excise tax, and registry defaults. Any relief afforded will be contingent upon satisfying these obligations and paying them in advance of your hearing shows responsibility and that you are serious about obtaining a hardship license.

You should be prepared to explain anything that appears on your criminal record and any open or closed restraining orders. The Registry’s advocate and the Board members will be on the lookout for anything that suggests an alcohol problem or substance abuse issue, even if it does not relate to the operation of a motor vehicle.

Between the time your appeal is filed and your hearing is scheduled, you will have time to review your driving record, criminal record, Registry documents and your court records. My office can assist with this review as part of the case preparation process. Do not take a chance before the Board of Appeal without adequate preparation. Appearing unprepared could result in denial which would require you to serve the full suspension with no relief.

No Hardship Available for Immediate Threat Revocation

Lately, my office has received numerous hardship license inquiries from people who have had their licenses indefinitely taken away due to Immediate Threat Medical and Complaint Medical revocations. Unfortunately, under these circumstances, no hardship or Cinderella license is available. The rationale for denying hardship relief on immediate threat and medical suspensions is that if a particular driver represents a danger or threat to public safety, he or she should not be driving at all. Therefore, the only way to regain your right to drive is to obtain a full license reinstatement.

In many cases, as soon as a driver is notified that the Registry of Motor Vehicles has indefinitely revoked his or her right to operate due to an immediate threat medical complaint, the driver asks his or her physician to write a letter to the Registry stating that the person is medically fit to safely operate a motor vehicle. This is the wrong approach. The Registry has specific forms that address medical problems, psychological and mental health issues, vision, and loss of consciousness. Instead of writing a generic letter, the driver’s treating physician, psychiatrist, optometrist, or psychiatric nurse practitioner should complete the appropriate forms. Additionally, the medical professional should only complete the forms after he or she has carefully read the immediate threat complaint. A letter written or form completed by a treatment provider who is unfamiliar with the facts and circumstances alleged in the complaint will carry little to no weight at a reinstatement hearing.

Dealing with immediate threat and complaint medical suspensions can be frustrating and confusing. Hiring a lawyer can simplify the process and increase your chances of getting your Massachusetts Driver’s License fully reinstated. The first step in these situations is to obtain a copy of the report which was filed with the Registry. In most cases, these reports are filed by police officers who witness dangerous driving, accidents, or other incidents which give rise to a safety concern. Although these indefinite license suspensions are not supposed to be punitive, getting them resolved can often be difficult and time consuming. The Registry errs on the side of caution and hearings officers are largely unsympathetic regarding the difficulties associated with the unexpected loss of a driver’s license.

Surchargeable Events License Suspensions

If you receive a letter indicating that the Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles intends to suspend your Driver’s License and/or right to operate a motor vehicle, I invite you to contact my office for a free review of your situation. Depending on your driving record, you may be able to avoid the loss of your license or right to drive.

If you receive a notice of intent to suspend for thee surchargeable incidents, you can prevent the indefinite license suspension from going into effect if you take and pass an approved Driver Retraining Program within 90 days of issuance of the notice of intent to suspend. If the suspension is valid, and you fail to complete the required course in time, G.L. c. 175 § 113B authorizes the RMV to indefinitely suspend your license and right to drive in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. The suspension will remain in place until you successfully complete the National Safety Council (NSC) driver re-training program. If you are required to complete the class to avoid the loss of your license, within 10 days of receipt of the Registry’s suspension notice, the NSC will send a registration packet to the mailing address which is on file with the Registry. If you have multiple surchargeable event suspensions, the Registry may require you to take the class several times. You may be able to take the course on-line, after completing it in person.

Taking the course will not prevent a 60 suspension for 7 surchargeable events or a 4 year Habitual Traffic Offender Revocation. If you are facing one of these, you should contact a lawyer for a free consultation and review of your situation. It is sometimes possible to completely avoid these license losses, shorten their duration, or get a limited hardship license which allows you to legally operate for 12 hours a day.

Once your license is suspended for revoked for surchargeable events, you will be required to pay a $100.00 reinstatement fee. If your license is revoked under the Massachusetts Habitual Traffic Offender Statute, G.L. c. 90 § 22F, you will be required to pay a $500.00 reinstatement fee.

Most importantly, if you have received a suspension notice, you do have the right to a hearing and you have the right to be represented by an attorney at that hearing. The Registry holds hearings on a walk-in basis at Customer Service Centers located in Braintree, Lawrence, Springfield, Worcester and 136 Blackstone Street, Boston, 3rd floor. If you have questions regarding a license loss, you can contact the Suspension Department of the Mass. RMV at 857-368-8200. The Registry’s general customer service number is 857-368-8000.

The DUIL Discharge Summary

In Massachusetts, most repeat DUI offenders are ordered to attend and successfully complete the Middlesex DUIL Program, which is a 14 day residential alcohol treatment program located in Tewksbury, Massachusetts on the grounds of the old Tewksbury State Hospital. The DUIL Program is divided into 2 phases. The first phase is the in-patient phase and the second phase consists of out-patient aftercare. The DUlL Program is a 14-day residential program for individuals who are referred by their probation officer for intensive alcohol and drug education and treatment. Individuals attending the program receive a comprehensive substance abuse evaluation, individual and group counseling, alcohol and drug education, and self-help meetings.

Upon completion of Phase I of the program, you will receive a Discharge Summary and Aftercare Plan, as well as completion letter.  The discharge summary will rate your level of participation, attitude, motivation level, and risk of recidivism. Everyone gets a “high” risk of recidivism after completion of Phase I and both the Registry and Board of Appeal understand this. The goal is to get a low risk of recidivism when you are evaluated after completing Phase II, which is the aftercare component of the DUIL program.

The Phase I Discharge Summary and Aftercare Plan will discuss your “stage of change” and make recommendations regarding AA and other self-help meeting attendance. The initial DUIL Discharge Reports usually state as follows “Patient would benefit from continued addiction education and treatment, individual and or group counseling, and obtainment of a self-help support system. His prognosis should improve provided he remains sober and attends self-help meetings regularly. The recommendations above could help reduce his risk of recidivism if implemented and maintained. His license to operate a motor vehicle should be contingent on his sobriety and not based solely on this report.”

Because everyone initially gets a “high risk of recidivism,” you should not be discouraged by this and you should work hard to earn a low risk of recidivism on the final discharge summary. You can do this by fully participating in group and individual therapy sessions and by showing genuine insight into your alcohol issue and what caused your situation.

Denied a Hardship License by the Registry?

Just because the Registry of Motor Vehicles has denied you a hardship license, that doesn’t mean that you cannot get one. You have the legal right to appeal any license denial, suspension, or revocation to a 3 member appellate board known as the Board of Appeal. This Board has the power to overrule hardship license denials and it can order the Mass. RMV to issue you a hardship license even if you do not satisfy all of the Registry’s requirements for licensure.

The Board of Appeal hearing process is much more formal and involved, as compared to appearing before a Registry Hearings Officer at a walk in hearing. These hearings must be scheduled in advance and preparation is essential. You have the right to be represented by legal counsel and hiring the right lawyer often makes the difference between winning and losing.

The hearing process is somewhat “adversarial,” meaning that a representative from the Suspension Department of the Mass. Registry will attempt to convince the Board of Appeal that you should not be granted a hardship license or a reinstatement of your full license. The Registry’s representative will present your driving and criminal records to the Board. He or she may make legal arguments to support the Registry’s decision.

After the Registry completes its presentation of the case, you and your lawyer will have an opportunity to submit any documents which you want the Board to consider and you can make legal and factual arguments to support your appeal. In every hardship license appeal which I handle, I submit a detailed legal memorandum which explains why the Board should reinstate your right to operate and/or grant you a hardship driver’s license.

If the Registry has denied you a hardship license or refused to reinstate your license, I invite you to contact my office for a free consultation and review of your case. After speaking with a lawyer, you will know exactly where you stand and what can be done to get you back on the road.

Work Licenses for 3rd Offense DUI

Massachusetts Work License for OUI 3rdMost DUI 3rd offenders in Massachusetts end up at the Board of Appeal for work license consideration instead of the Mass. Registry of Motor Vehicles. This is because the RMV’s suspension department requires proof of completion of a ninety (90) day in-patient (residential) DUI treatment program, which is approved by the Department of Public Health. If you have not completed this specific alcohol program, the Registry will not grant you any type of work or hardship license. However, the Registry is not the only game in town.

The Division of Insurance Board of Appeal has the legal authority to grant you a hardship license even if you do not meet the Registry’s strict requirements. I have personally obtained hardship licenses from the Board of Appeal for third offenders who have only completed a first offender program such as the 24D Driver Alcohol Education Program. In these cases, where the applicant does not have the proper program, it is imperative to provide sufficient documentation to satisfy the Appeals Board that the driver does not represent a danger to public safety and that his or her alcoholism has been brought under control.

There are likely countless drivers suffering needlessly, with 8 year license revocations, when they could be driving lawfully. It’s not easy to get a hardship license with 3 drunk driving convictions. However, it is certainly not impossible. You must go for an alcohol evaluation, which my office can arrange, and you will be required to use the ignition interlock during your revocation period and for at least 24 months after the removal of the “H” (hours) restriction from your driver’s license. Use of the IID is mandatory if you are a Massachusetts resident and there are no exceptions.

Having proper documentation and effective legal representation can be essential when seeking a Cinderella license. If you have an 8 year OUI 3rd offense license loss, I invite you to contact me for a free review of your situation and assessment of your chances of success at the Board of Appeal.

Some Client Reviews

If you have recently been denied a “hardship license ” thru the Registry and are thinking about hiring a attorney to help you get back on the road,  I strongly recommend Attorney Brian E. Simoneau,  a friend who was in the similar circumstances with a 3yr loss of license mentioned him. Attorney Simoneau, knows the entire process, I used his website and he returned my call and email promptly, he has an extensive exhausting list of things that need to be done, but I assure you that you are in good hands with him. I was facing a 3yr loss of license because of chemical test refusal and loss of a job, without Attorney Simoneau that would of happened. I am happy to say that we received a favorable decision in my favor and I am back behind the wheel thanks to his experience and professionalism.  Attorney (Brian ) Simoneau is a person who will fight for you.  I am not writing this because I was asked by him, people need to know about the man.
Thanks again,
Jim M.
Millbury, Mass.
  • “Hi Brian,  happy to say I went to registry and was able to get reinstated.  Just saying Thanks again for your help.”
  • Thank you so much.  This is the best news.  This is going to be such a big help in so many ways.  I am so filled with gratitude right now. I can’t thank you enough for your part in making this a reality.
    Sincerely Michele

 

  • “I’d like to thank you for representing Vinnie in his efforts to get his license back. I’m still in shock that they gave him a hardship license,  very happy that he can now move forward with his life.”
  • “Thank you so much for your help Mr. Simoneau, can’t express how important this is, I will be sure to recommend your name. Thanks again for all your help.”