The Massachusetts Registry and its Appeals Board grant hardship licenses to qualified individuals who have had their licenses revoked or suspended. These limited licenses are only valid for the twelve (12) hours specified thereon. The hours of a hardship license are established based on the applicant’s need to drive for verified school, medical, or work reasons. Hardship licenses are valid 7 days per week, for 12 hours per day. Once issued a hardship license, you can drive for any purpose, regardless of the reason for issuance. However, you cannot drive outside of your 12 hour period.
Driving in violation of an “H” restriction constitutes the criminal offense of driving without a valid license, in violation of G.L. c. 90 § 10, for which you can be arrested. Furthermore, evidence of operation outside of the 12 hour hardship license period may cause MassDOT or the Division of Insurance Board of Appeal to revoke your hardship license and impose the balance of your license suspension. If you have an ignition interlock device installed in your vehicle, the Registry will easily be able to see operation outside of the 12 hour period. Also, police cruisers equipped with automatic license plate recognition (ALPR) may also be able to detect driving outside of the hardship license hours.
If you have a legitimate need to change the hours of your hardship license, you can do so by contacting the Suspension Department of the Registry of Motor Vehicles or the Board of Appeal, depending on how your hardship license was issued. You will need to provide third party documentation of your change in hours. It is strongly recommended that you change your hardship hours, if your circumstances change, rather than risk being arrested for driving outside of the terms of your limited license.