The loss of a driver’s license in Massachusetts can be devastating, due to the general lack of public transportation in the area. Fortunately, for those who have had their licenses suspended or revoked, it may be possible to obtain a hardship license. These licenses are issued to qualified applicants who have had their licenses suspended or revoked for operating under the influence, being a habitual traffic offender, drug convictions, 7 surchargeable events, license fraud, and various traffic violations.
Depending on the driver’s record and the type of license suspension or revocation, hardship licenses which allow the holder to drive for 12 hours each day, are issued by either the Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles or the Board of Appeal of the Massachusetts Division of Insurance. Hardship licenses are issued for work, education, or medical purposes and sufficient documentation must be provided at the hardship license hearing. Legal representation at the these hearings is strongly recommended, especially if you are appearing before the Board of Appeal.
No hardship licenses are granted for suspensions due to non-payment of citations, child support, state taxes, or property damage claims. All outstanding financial obligations and must be paid prior to reinstatement, this includes any reinstatement fees which are mandated my Massachusetts Law. Also, required classes and courses must be taken as a condition of license reinstatement or the issuance of a hardship license.
Anyone who is obtaining a hardship license due to a DUI suspension, who has 2 more DUI convictions on his or her records will have a “Z” ignition interlock restriction on his or her license while on a hardship license and for 2 additional years after having the hardship restriction removed.
Hardship licenses are generally not available when a driver’s license is suspended or revoked due to an out of state suspension or a block in the National Driver Register. The driver must reinstate in the other state prior to attempting to obtain a hardship or full license in Massachusetts.
Those who are denied hardship licenses by the Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles have the right to appeal the denial to the Board of Appeal, pursuant to G.L. c. 90 § 28. Those who are denied hardship licenses by the Board of Appeal have the right to appeal the denial to Superior Court in Suffolk County or in their county of residence, pursuant to G.L. c. 30A. Hardship licenses denials are very difficult to win in Superior Court, due to the wide latitude and discretion conferred upon the Board of Appeal and the substantial deference afforded to Board decisions.