Getting a hardship license or being denied often depends on your prior record. However, Mass DOT records are not always accurate. Sometimes there is a conflict between your probation record, court record, and driver history. Where conflicts exist, records must be investigated to determine exactly what happened. Due to the lifetime lookback period in Massachusetts DUI cases, which was enacted on November 28, 2002, drunk driving conviction records going all the way back to the 1970s and 1980s can be critical.
Under Massachusetts suspension laws, the official records of the Registrar of Motor Vehicles are deemed prima facie evidence. This means that unless refuted by other records, the RMV records will determine the length of the suspension and, therefore, hardship license eligibility. However, where a discrepancy exists between a Registry and court record, the court record controls and it will supersede the RMV record.
In order to get your Registry of Motor Vehicles record corrected, you need to have the Clerk-Magistrate’s Office transmit a “corrected abstract” to the Massachusetts Merit Rating Board. An “abstract” is a written interpretation of the charges and the disposition, which is based on the official court docket. Abstracts can be transmitted by fax, mail, or electronic transmission through a computer system which links Massachusetts courthouses with the Mass. Merit Rating Board. The Merit Rating Board must receive the corrected information, because it maintains driving records for the RMV.
Once the Merit Rating Board receives and enters the “corrected abstract,” your driving record will be updated overnight and it should then reflect the correct information. This may result in the re-calculation of license suspensions and hardship license waiting periods. You can instantly download a copy of your Mass. driving record and you can also request a copy of your Massachusetts Criminal Record (CORI).
If you are dealing with a discrepancy between court, probation and/or your Mass DOT driver history, please contact my office. I have years of experience in resolving these discrepancies, which can often dramatically alter the length of license suspensions. For example, getting a 3rd offense DUI reduced to a 2nd offense, based on court records, will reduce an eight (8) year revocation to a two (2) year suspension. With credit for suspension time served, such a reduction often results in a full license reinstatement, without the need for a limited hardship license.