Tips for going before the Board of Appeal

In Massachusetts, the Board of Appeal of the Division of Insurance has the power to provide hardship licenses, even in cases where the applicant has been denied such a license by the Registry of Motor Vehicles. However, getting a hardship license from the Board of Appeal is not easy. Being successful at the RMV Appeals Board requires good timing, case preparation, and documentation. Most people lose at the Board of Appeal because they appear at unprepared, at the wrong time, or without the required documents.

First, if winning your case is important to you, spend the money and hire a lawyer who routinely practices before the Board. There’s no substitute for good legal representation. Not all lawyers specialize in Registry matters and when they come before the Board, they sometimes have difficulty. On the other hand, lawyers who regularly appear before the Board generally have better results. Ask your lawyer about his win / loss record.

Timing is critical. You should not appear before the Board of Appeal if you are serving a repeat offender who is chemical test refusal (CTR) suspension. The Board has taken the legal position that it has no authority to hear and decide your hardship case until the breathalyzer refusal suspension expires. There are absolutely no exceptions to this rule.

You should also not go before the Board if you have not served enough of your suspension or revocation. A lawyer who specializes in Board of Appeal cases can advise you as to when to appeal, based on his experience in handling prior cases; I’ve consulted with thousands of clients and handled many hundreds of such appeals.

Next, if you have pending charges or open cases for motor vehicle violations, you should not go before the Board. The appeal application clearly this. The rationale for this restriction is that going before the Board and getting a hardship license is a waste of time, yours and the Board’s, if you are just going to lose your license if you are convicted of the pending violations.

Having the right documentation is essential. The Board loves paperwork and the most important documents include proof of your need to drive for work, school, or medical reasons, a discharge summary showing your risk of recidivism or relapse, and a substance abuse evaluation which also provides a recidivism classification. Proof of program completion is also an important document. Other important items include proof of AA attendance, if available, letters of recommendation, and a personal statement addressed to the Board. These are only a few examples of what can help you get a driver’s license.

Your lawyer cannot win the case without your help, no matter how good he or she is.

Operating After Suspension & Hardship Licensing

I recently received this inquiry from an individual who is attempting to obtain a hardship license.

Good afternoon, I have two oui of liquor. I went to trial last October for my second offense because I blew a .08 and lost. I’m in my first year of the two year suspension. I got arrested again in August for driving on a suspended license. I served 30 days in jail although the court only sentenced me to 10 days. I violated probation my first time. Did the two week program and have one more of after care classes. I drove a car 10 houses and my cousin told the cop I drove. I actually didn’t get arrested in the car I was already at a house. The cops came and arrested me. It’s along story. I was wondering if I could still get a hardship I live in the suburbs and it’s tough to get around. I just made very stupid decisons. I heard they take your license for an additional year and there is no way I could get a hardship I would have to wait the full two years. Is this true? If you could just give me a little feed back and if I am eligible after I complete my last class you could represent me. Thank you for your time.

Unfortunately, getting a hardship license with a recent Operating After Suspension charge on your record is extremely difficult. Expecting that the Board of Appeal would not authorize the issuance of a hardship license, I declined to represent the person. Lately, the Board has expressed a very negative opinion regarding those who make the very poor decision to drive while their license is suspended or revoked for DUI. Recent OAS charges will make getting hardship relief very difficult. Instead of driving while your license is under suspension you should apply for a hardship license, so that you can drive legally. In this case, the driver made no attempt to get a hardship license and now that he has been convicted of driving while suspended, it is likely too late.