One of the key documents in hardship license appeals is the “work letter.” For occupational related hardship licenses, the Board requires proof that the Appellant has an inability to get to and from work and that there are no other readily available means of transportation such as public transportation. The work letter requirement likely arose because individuals who were unemployed were making falsely claiming that they needed hardship licenses for work. Now, both the Registry and the Board of Appeal require documentary substantiation of the need for a hardship license for work purposes.
The Registry has stringent work letter requirements. To satisfy a Registry Hearings Officer, your letter must be signed, on letterhead, no more than 30 days old, and it must adequately explain your need to drive and your specific work hours. The Registry does not accept faxes, photocopies, or unsigned employment letters.
Some people who are unemployed try to claim that they are self-employed, so that they can submit their own work letter. You can write your own letter regarding self-employment and your need to drive. However, if you are self-employed, you must supplement your letter with acceptable proof of self-employment such as a business certificate, tax forms showing that you are self-employed, and/or a valid professional license issued by a governmental agency. You must adequately describe your hardship and the 12 hours requested for your license.
One of the difficulties with the proof of employment required for hardship license hearings is that the person seeking a hardship license often does not want to inform his or her employer, so getting a work letter is problematic. Fortunately, I have been able to find workarounds for these situations.
The work letter should explain why public transportation will not help with your particular work situation and it should describe the distances you are required to travel between your home, workplace, and other work-related destinations. Ideally, the letter should state how alternative means of transportation such as relying on friends, co-workers, and family members is not a workable solution, if this is the case.
There is no right to be considered for a hardship license unless you have a educational or medical need to drive. I do not recommend trying to apply for a hardship license if you are unemployed. Neither the Board of Appeal nor the Registry of Motor Vehicles will grant you a hardship license so that you can find a job or look for work. Instead, you must at least have a job offer properly documented in the form of a signed letter indicating that it is likely that you would be hired if you had a valid driver’s license.
One of the many benefits of hiring a lawyer to represent you in a hardship license appeal is that the lawyer can advise you regarding the contents of the work letter, based on his experience and what has been persuasive in prior cases. I encourage you to contact me if you are seeking a hardship license from the Board of Appeal in Massachusetts. I can help you with your work letter and various other aspects of your situation to improve your chances of reinstating your driving privileges.