Not All Drug or Alcohol Programs are Equal

alcohol_programIn Massachusetts DUI cases, one of the key parts of your hardship license hearing before the Board of Appeal or Registry is a review of the drug or alcohol treatment program which you have most recently completed. Not all programs are equal and the Board of Appeal has become very adept at discerning what is a legitimate and substantive alcohol program and what is not.

Some hardship license candidates attempt to satisfy the program requirement with on-line or “distance learning”  programs.  The Board of Appeal hears thousands of cases each year and the Board members are aware of the differences between these programs which you basically take over the internet and then print your certificate versus the more substantive programs which require your physical attendance and participation.

Going before the Board of Appeal with a “correspondence school” or “on-line alcohol program” when completion of an actual “in-person” program is required can result in a hardship license denial, which would force you to serve the balance of your revocation or license suspension.

Not all substance abuse programs are equal and not having a substantive alcohol or drug program may hurt your chances of success, especially if you are a repeat offender. You should consult with a lawyer prior to appearing before the Board of Appeal to ensure that you have what it takes to convince the Board to grant you a hardship license or reinstatement of your driving privileges.

The Probation Department of your District Court can be a valuable resource when it comes to finding an alcohol or drug treatment program.  You can also find programs on-line and through Alcoholics Anonymous Groups. The Massachusetts Department of Public Health also maintains a list of approved programs and treatment providers.

Finally, if you are legally domiciled out of state, or if you are a full-time student who resides in another state, the Registry of Motor Vehicles will accept proof of program completion from your home state, even if the DUI offenses occurred here in Massachusetts. However, if you are not a Massachusetts resident, you cannot get a Massachusetts Driver’s License and you must go before the Appeals Board instead of the Registry to be considered for hardship relief. If you have to appear before the Board, you should retain a lawyer.