Hardship License After Not Guilty Verdict

Situation:

I was arrested for OUI / refusing Breathalyzer test and my license suspended automatically for 180 days. My court appointed attorney says I have a chance to beat the OUI case but he does not think any magistrate would reinstate my driver’s license even if I am found not guilty of the OUI charge. Please help

Answer:

During the term of a breathalyzer refusal suspension, the only way to get a hardship license from the Massachusetts Registry is to have your case resolved pursuant to G.L. c. 90 § 24D and enroll in an approved alcohol program.  Therefore, if you are found not guilty and the judge refuses to reinstate your license, the Registry will not grant you a hardship license. You may be able to appeal to the Mass. Division of Insurance Board of Appeal for a hardship license. However, the Board may deny you a hardship license for the same reason that the DUI trial judge refused to grant you a full reinstatement of your license after you were found not guilty.

Also, the Board of Appeal has expressed a reluctance regarding hearing chemical test refusal appeals, because there is already a statutory mechanism for them to be reviewed: within 15 days of the suspension by the Registry of Motor Vehicles and, in the event of a not guilty verdict or dismissal, by the judge who presided over the operating under the influence case.

In summary, you have a chance to be considered for a 12 hour hardship license by the Board of Appeal, but there is risk that the Board will refuse to hear your appeal. There is also a risk that the Board will hear your case and refuse to grant you a hardship license, perhaps for the same reason that your lawyer believes that the District Court Judge will deny you. The Board is likely to afford the Judge’s decision some deference, because he is the one who presided over your trial and heard the evidence in a judicial forum.