The Massachusetts Board of Appeal has the power to override the Registry’s denial of a hardship license and order the RMV to grant you a license, even if the RMV had initially refused to do so. However, the Appeals Board will only grant you a hardship license if the majority of Board Members believe that you have a legitimate hardship and that giving you such a license will not endanger public safety. Under Massachusetts law, there is no right to a hardship license and getting one is, by no means, automatic. Here are some common reasons for being denied a hardship license by the Board of Appeal.
Insufficient Documentation Supporting Hardship Request. The Board of Appeal requires that all requests for hardship licenses be supported by documentation addressing the applicant’s hardship and need to drive as well as any danger or risk associated with returning the driver to the roadways of the Commonwealth. To satisfy this requirement, I prepare a comprehensive hearing memorandum for each hardhsip license case which I present to the Board.
Other Transportation Available. The Board only grants hardship licenses when the applicant has no other means to get to work, school, or medical appointments. If you can take public transportation or you can have family member, friend, or co-worker drive you around, you do not have a hardship which would warrant relief. To succeed, you must make a compelling case regarding your need to drive for reasons related to education, medical treatment, or employment.
Open criminal and/or civil cases which may result in a future license suspension(s). The Board will not grant you hardship relief only to have your license suspended or revoked because of a new conviction or responsible finding. This is one of the reasons why you should have a lawyer review your records prior to applying for a hardship license. Applying at the wrong time can be a huge mistake and it may disqualify you from getting a hardship license.
Evidence of Operation During Current Suspension(s). There are few things which rub the Board the wrong way more than recent operating after suspension or revocation convictions. Board members generally believe that the intentional act of getting behind the wheel without a valid license shows a conscious disregard for the law. In some cases, I have been able to provide satisfactory explanations for these incidents.
Multiple Active Suspensions. If you go before the Board of Appeal with 3 or 4 active habitual traffic offender or other simultaneous revocations, the Board will be understandably hesitant to grant you a hardship license. I, therefore, have to advise many potential clients to wait until some of their older suspensions expire. Appearing before the Board too early can result in a permanent denial which may disqualify you for any future hardhsip consideration and force you to serve the entire suspension. Contact me for a free assessment regarding when you should apply.
Prior Board of Appeal and/or RMV Relief Granted. This means that you cannot go to the well to many times. Giving someone a hardship license is considered “extraordinary relief” and someone who re-offends after being granted a hardship license is less likely to get a hardship license the second time around. This is especially true when a hardship license applicant was arrested for DUI while on a hardship license.
Prior Suspensions & Poor Driving History. At your hardship license hearing, the Board of Appeal will have your complete driving and criminal records. Generally, the longer your records, the more difficult it will be to get a hardship license. Also, repeated and/or recent operating after suspension charges will make it more difficult. I prepare my clients for their hearings by reviewing their records with them in advance.
Board Of Appeal Elected Not To Exercise Its Discretion. The Board is not required to give anyone a hardship license and it has wide latitude and discretion. This means that the Board has the power to deny a hardship license even if a candidate has all the proper documentation and meets all of the requirements. The court system defers to the Board’s specialized expertise and no court has ever ordered the Board of Appeals to issue a hardhsip license.
One of the best ways to increase your chances of getting a hardship license from the Board of Appeal is to hire a lawyer who specializes in Board of Appeal cases. I have an excellent track record of getting licenses for my clients and I may be able to help you get back on the road.