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When you’re charged with an OUI, your life can drastically change. In addition to facing harsh penalties for driving under the influence, you can also lose your license. Without your license, you may be unable to get to court, work, or anywhere else. Your life gets put on hold.
Fortunately, there is a way to remedy the situation. You could be eligible for a hardship license. With it, you can regain your right to drive and continue to live your life. But only certain individuals qualify for the license. Furthermore, the application process can be challenging. To learn more about the requirements and the process, you should speak with a Massachusetts hardship license lawyer.
Here at the law office of Attorney Brian E. Simoneau, we want to help you. Our office understands the challenges that come with a suspended or revoked license. Therefore, we will do what it takes to fight for you.
Not everyone knows how to get a hardship license in Massachusetts. If you’re not familiar with the process, there are a few things you should know. But the first thing you should determine is whether or not you qualify for the license.
The Registry of Motor Vehicles is the organization that has the power to grant hardship licenses. If you want one, you must go to a hearing at one of the RMV’s service centers.
If you do not qualify for the issuance of a hardship license directly from the Registry, you can appear before the Board of Appeal, where legal representation is highly recommended. You can also appear before the Board of Appeal if the Registry denies your hardship license request.
In Massachusetts OUI cases, the RMV will only grant the license to people who plead guilty to an OUI, are convicted of an OUI, or took a plea of Continued Without a Finding. The Registry will not grant a hardship license while the OUI case is pending in court. Furthermore, they will only grant the license if you need it for one of the following reasons:
- Medical appointments
- Another valid reason (determined by the RMV or Board of Appeal)
The eligibility requirements vary depending on the specifics of your case. For instance, a first-time OUI offender can apply for a hardship license as early as three days after the conviction or plea. Those with multiple convictions need to wait longer. You must serve some of the time of your license suspension or revocation before submitting your application. You may also need an ignition interlock device in their vehicle. Additionally, individuals with serious charges, like manslaughter or motor vehicle homicide, may need to meet other requirements.
Being caught operating on a suspended license may disqualify you from being issued a hardship license at the Registry and make the case more difficult at the Board of Appeal.
Proof of Your Hardship
One of the requirements of hardship license is evidence. If you don’t have documentation of your need for a license, the RMV won’t grant it. Typically, evidence comes in the form of a letter from your employer. The employer must explain that you need your license to get to your job, or to perform your work responsibilities. If there is public transportation available, you might be ineligible for the license.
The letter from your employer must be no older than 30 days. Additionally, it needs to include the hours of your employment. If you are self-employed, you need proof of your work. This could come in the form of a business certificate, tax forms, or a professional license. You also need to write a letter detailing your need for a hardship license.
If your license is for medical or education reasons, you need other documentation. For instance, you could use your medical records as proof. You also must provide evidence that shows public transportation is not an option.
If you have a previous OUI conviction, the RMV will require you to have an ignition interlock device as a condition of any hardship license. You cannot have the ignition interlock device installed until you are approved by the Registry.
Additionally, you need proof of your alcohol treatment program. For second-time offenders, the program must be for two weeks. According to the Registry, third and fourth-time offenders need to complete 90-day programs. For all previous offenders, the programs need to be in-house. The RMV will require a discharge summary for the program. The Board of Appeal can grant hardship licenses without the completion of these stringent requirements. However, you will need to make a compelling case and a lawyer can help you do that.
If you were on probation, and you are a repeat OUI offender, you also need a letter from your probation officer. They need to state that you have been complying with the terms of your probation. Contact a lawyer if you would like sample probation letters to show your probation officer what is required.
In Massachusetts, drivers can refuse to take a chemical test. But there are consequences to refusal. If you don’t submit to a chemical test, and you are a second or subsequent offender, you usually cannot receive a hardship license during the refusal period. You must wait until the breathalyzer refusal period expires and the DUI suspension commences. You have 15 days to challenge the refusal itself and this can only be done at the Boston Branch of the RMV, 136 Blackstone Street, 3rd Floor, Boston, Massachusetts, during regular business hours and normal business days. If you are challenging a chemical test refusal (CTR) suspension or revocation, which can range from 180 days in length up to lifetime, you should be represented by an attorney who is well versed in the applicable laws and procedures.
By failing to take the test, you face an automatic license suspension of 180 days. That number increases to three years for second-time offenders. If you have two prior OUI convictions, you receive a suspension of five years. Breathalyzer refusal suspensions range in length from 180 days to lifetime, based on the number of prior convictions and the defendant’s age.
You can speak with an attorney to learn more about appealing your refusal suspension and whether or not you are eligible for a hardship license.
How Much Does the License Cost?
One of the most common questions regarding hardship licenses is the cost. If you are a first-time offender, your DUI reinstatement fee will be $500. However, the fee increases with your amount of prior offenses. With the passing of Melanie’s Law in Massachusetts, penalties for previous OUI offenders are strict. Second-time offenders must pay $700, and third-time offenders must pay $1,000.
The reinstatement fee may not be your only cost. Because the reinstatement process is difficult, you should consult with a Massachusetts hardship license lawyer. You need to consider the cost of their fees as you calculate the cost of your license.
Although lawyers come at a cost, they could be the difference between no license and a hardship license. Working with an attorney increases your chance of success. Additionally, it could save you time on doing the work yourself.
If you were operating a commercial vehicle at the time of your DUI, you cannot regain your CDL with a hardship license. Because the court holds commercial drivers to higher standards than regular drivers, they don’t issue hardship licenses.
That said, you may be able to request a hearing to argue the accuracy of the RMV’s record. If they made an error, you can show proof that you were not guilty, or not the one responsible for the infraction. Depending on the outcome of your case, the RMV could choose to reinstate your CDL license.
Also, it is possible to appeal CDL disqualifications and revocations on legal and other grounds. Attorney Simoneau has successfully appealed and reversed lifetime CDL disqualifications by going before the Division of Insurance Board of Appeal.
What Are the Limitations of the License?
A hardship license does not give you free reign. In fact, some people call this license a Cinderella license. This is due to its restrictions. For example, you can only drive for 12 hour periods. Those periods are seven days a week, but they must be the same time every day. The hours must coincide for your reasons for the license. If you need to be at work by 7 am, then your time might start at 6 am. In this example, you could drive between 6 am and 6 pm.
In Massachusetts, a hardship license does not restrict you by location. Therefore, you can drive other places besides your work, medical facility, or school. As long as you are within your allotted time frame, you can drive anywhere.
It’s important to fully understand the limitations of your license. If you fail to comply with the requirements, you could lose your license. You could also face other consequences, like a longer suspension.
In Massachusetts, 2.2% of people in one survey admitted to driving drunk. Although that might not seem like a high number, it means that thousands of people admit to driving while intoxicated. The state takes a strong stand against drunk drivers.
By taking away the licenses of individuals convicted of drunk driving, the state aims to limit the problem. But this could be a problem for you. Without your license, your life could be in shambles. You might be unable to work or take care of your own health.
Fortunately, a Massachusetts hardship license lawyer can help you. They have the experience necessary to fight for a positive outcome. Attorney Brian E. Simoneau has spent years fighting for people who need their license back. He knows what it takes to get results, and will fight for you. He has an outstanding track record of success at the Registry of Motor Vehicles and the Board of Appeal.
The Challenges of Obtaining the License
You could try to obtain a hardship license for yourself. But that might not be the best option. The RMV could deny your request. Typically, they deny licenses due to all of the following reasons:
- History of drug or alcohol abuse
- Insufficient evidence of work, medical, or education hardship
- Multiple OUI offenses
- A serious criminal record
- Seeking a license too soon (before serving the required suspension time)
- Proof of driving with a revoked or suspended license
- Untreated drug abuse
If you don’t want the RMV to deny your application, you need to ensure that you have checked all of your boxes. By working with an attorney, you can give yourself a better chance at success. Our firm knows what they RMV is looking for. Furthermore, we can help you collect all of the evidence you need to strengthen your case.
After you receive an OUI, life can be stressful. A hardship license can alleviate some of that stress. Contact Attorney Brian E. Simoneau to learn more about how you can get your license back.
DUI License Suspensions
Depending on your DUI history, you may be able to get a hardship license from the Registry or Board of Appeal.
Habitual Traffic Offender Revocations
Hardship Licenses are available for Habitual Traffic Offender Revocations after 1 year of the 4 year revocation period has been served.
Driver's License Fraud Suspensions
In Massachusetts, License Fraud is a crime and it carries an automatic license revocation. Contact a Lawyer for help with your Comp. Fraud Lic/ID case.
Immediate Threat License Revocations
The Registry imposes Indefinite Immediate Threat Revocations for a variety of reasons. Contact an attorney to get your driver's license reinstated.
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