Whoever said “honesty is the best policy” was right…especially when seeking a hardship license from the Board of Appeal of the Division of Insurance. This 3-member appellate board hears approximately 5,000 cases each year. Two Board Members are former prosecutors and defense attorneys with years of experience in the criminal justice system. The other member is the former Director of the Registry’s Driver Control Unit, where she oversaw all of the Registry’s Hearing Officers and established policies regarding license suspensions and reinstatements. These Board members are extremely adept at making credibility determinations and spotting an Appellant who may be less than honest with them.
The Board members will have a complete and updated copy of your Massachusetts Driver History and criminal record. The Registry might also provide the Board with any relevant police reports and complaints.
These Board members have become experts in quickly determining whether a hardship license candidate is authentic in his or her recovery and sobriety efforts. It is, therefore, critical to testify truthfully and honestly when appearing before the Board of Appeal. All witnesses are sworn to tell the truth and intentionally lying to the Board of Appeal constitutes the crime of perjury, which is a felony in Massachusetts.
I have seen Appellants, many of whom appeared before the Board without lawyers, destroy their chances of being granted hardship licenses because they were dishonest with the Board. For example, they falsely claimed that they were sober when they were still drinking, falsely denied drug use, and did not take ownership of the violations on their records. I have also observed unrepresented hardship license candidates misrepresent their commitment to self-help programs such as Alcoholics Anonymous (AA).
Sometimes Board of Appeal members might ask questions to test the Appellant’s honesty. They already know the answer to the question and they want to see if the individual will testify truthfully and honestly.
Anyone who testifies before the Board of Appeal should be careful to tell the truth and be candid and honest when answering questions.