Denied by the Registry? Get a Hardship License from the Board of Appeal

With the general lack of public transportation in Massachusetts, the loss of a driver’s license can cause a tremendous strain on your work, family, and financial life. Unless you live and work in a city where there is public transportation such an Boston, Worcester, or Springfield, a valid license is probably a necessity. In this region, driving is critical and not being able to drive can be absolutely devastating.

Fortunately for those who have had their licenses suspended or revoked, when it comes to getting a hardship license, the Mass. RMV is not the only option. There is an agency known as the Board of Appeal of the Division of Insurance of the Office of Consumer Affairs & Business Regulation (OCABR), which has the legal authority to order the Registry of Motor Vehicles to grant a hardship license, even in cases where the Registry of Motor Vehicles has previously denied the hardship license request or in cases where the Registry does not have the authority to grant a hardship license itself.

The Massachusetts Board of Appeal has broad powers and authority to overrule any decision of the Registrar of Motor Vehicles, whether it pertains to hardship licensing, suspensions, revocations, or full license reinstatements. The Board of Appeal only has authority over Registry actions and it cannot overrule court decisions or court-ordered license actions.

Board of Appeal hearings are adversarial  legal proceedings where witnesses are sworn in and evidence is received and reviewed. These hearings are conducted in courtrooms or the hearing room at the Board’s office in Boston. There will be a representative from the RMV who will present the Registry’s case and likely ask that the Board reinstate your license or grant you a hardship license. Board decisions are reviewable in Superior Court. However, in most cases, it is very difficult to overturn a Board decision. Therefore, it is strongly recommended that you hire a lawyer to represent you before the Board.