The time to hire a lawyer is before you go to the Board of Appeal. I get many calls from disappointed Appellants who have made the mistake of trying to represent themselves before the Board of Appeal only to have their hardship license request denied. Unfortunately, once your appeal is denied, it is usually too late to hire a lawyer and there’s very little that I can do. The time to call is before you file your appeal or have your Board of Appeal hearing.
You have the right to appeal an adverse Board of Appeal ruling to Superior Court. However, Superior Court review is extremely limited and I have never seen any Superior Court judge overrule the Board of Appeal when it comes to an exercise of discretion regarding the issuance of a hardship license, which is completely discretionary. There is no legal right or entitlement to be granted a hardship license. The law requires Superior Court judges to grant deference to the Board, because it is an administrative agency with the technical competence to hear and decide Registry appeals.
In order to reverse a Board of Appeal decision, you must prove one of the criteria listed in G.L. c. 30A § 14(7). This is very difficult to in Massachusetts hardship license cases. Also, no new evidence is allowed to be introduced and the review is limited to the administrative record. There is no witness testimony in these Superior Court appeals and the case must be made on the transcript of the Board of Appeal hearing and the appellate record. At best, the case may be remanded back to the Board for a further hearing. Although theoretically possible, it is highly unlikely that the Superior Court will order the Board of Appeal to order the issuance of a hardship driver’s license.
Since chances of winning a Superior Court appeal of a hardship license denial are so slim, the best thing that you can do is to win at the Board of Appeal. One of the best ways of increasing your chances of winning is to hire a lawyer early on in the process.