In Massachusetts, as in many other states, access to public transportation can disqualify you from being issued a hardship or work license. This is because the laws governing hardship license in Massachusetts require that the person seeking a license have a hardship beyond in the inconvenience associated with the loss of a license. Also, the laws governing hardship licensing in Massachusetts allow the Registry of Motor Vehicles to establish the terms and conditions for hardship licenses.
In all hardship license cases, Mass. DOT hearings officers require that applicants submit suitable proof that public transportation will not meet their needs. This proof can be contained in the hardship license work letter and demonstrated through map quest printouts, bus routes, MBTA schedules, and similar documentary evidence. The Registry will not take your word that public transportation will not meet your needs and you must provide written evidence showing this.
Regarding hardship license hearings at the Board of Appeal, Massachusetts Superior Courts have repeatedly ruled that whether to grant a hardship license is “purely discretionary” and they have not overturned hardship license denials. In one case, for example, where the hardship license applicant was seeking a limited license so that he could get to doctor’s appointments, a Superior Court Judge upheld the Board’s determination that “the plaintiff did not qualify for hardship consideration since the plaintiff acknowledged he could use public transportation to get to medical appointments…” Similarly, in another case, which was appealed to Suffolk Superior Court, “the Board reasoned that [the hardship applicant] obtained his jobs with the knowledge that he did not have a driver’s license, and he could travel to those jobs with help from his friends or via public transportation.” In another case, “the Board asserted that [the hardship license applicant] failed to provide the Board with proof that he had a job opportunity and that his case manager’s letter was insufficient. The Board reasoned that he lives in Boston with access to adequate public transportation…”
The hardship license denials cited above make it clear that showing that public transportation will not meet your transportation needs for work, education, or medical appointments is a key part of any hardship license appeal. These cases also show the importance of being adequately prepared for your hardship license hearing, so you can avoid a denial. One of the best ways to be prepared is to hire a lawyer to represent you. I have handled a large number of these hearings and I will review your case for free and let you know where you stand and give you an accurate appraisal regarding your chances of getting a hardship license from either the Mass. RMV or Board of Appeals. Contact me today for a free consultation.