Those who are arrested for first offense OUI in Massachusetts are understandably anxious to get back on the road as soon as possible. Not having a driver’s license in Massachusetts can cause a substantial hardship when it comes to getting to work and performing routine activities such as shopping, banking, transporting your children, and running errands.
When you are arrested for operating under the influence in Massachusetts, your license will likely be suspended at the time of your arrest, either for an administrative per se violation, which means that you failed a chemical test with a BAC at or above .08 or you license will be suspended for refusing to submit to the breath test. In Massachusetts, breathalyzer refusal suspensions run from 180 days, for first offenders, up to lifetime for 4th offenders who refuse.
You cannot be considered for a hardship license unless your operating under the influence case is resolved in court. This means that while your OUI case is pending, the Registry of Motor Vehicles will not grant you any type of hardship relief. However, once your chemical test refusal or admin. per se suspension is complete, you may get a full license reinstatement. The Registry imposes a $500.00 reinstatement fee which you will have to pay to get your license back.
If your Massachusetts OUI case is resolved pursuant to the first offender alternative disposition program, in accordance with G.L. c. 90 § 24D, you will have a 45 to 90 day loss of license and you can be considered for a 12 hour hardship license, issued by the Registry of Motor Vehicles, 3 to 4 business days after your court case is resolved and after you have enrolled in the 24D Driver Alcohol Education Program (DEAP). At your intake interview, you will be given proof of enrollment for hardship licensing. You must present this to the Registry along with a letter from your employer which meets the Registry’s requirements and proof that public transportation will not meet your needs.
If you appear at the RMV for a hardship license prior to the resolution of your drunk driving case or prior to enrollment in the alcohol program, you will be denied a hardship license. Appearing at the Registry too early is a waste of your time and the Registry hearings officer’s time. The RMV cannot take any action on hardship license application until the court system has updated your record and it takes 3-4 business days after the resolution of the DUI case for that to occur.
In addition to the items listed above, those convicted of a 2nd offense DUI will have to provide other documents such as proof of completion of the 14-day residential DUIL program, a 2nd offender letter for hardship licensing, proof of completion of aftercare with a discharge summary indicating a risk of recidivism, a letter from the defendant’s probation officer indicating that there have been no probation violations, and the paperwork required under the Registry’s Ignition Interlock Program. The Registry imposes a 1 year hardship license waiting period for 2nd offenders.
The Registry of Motor Vehicles requires 3rd offenders to have completed a 90 day in-patient alcohol program prior to being considered for a hardship license and the RMV also requires that 3rd offender serve 2 years of the 8 year revocation prior applying for hardship relief. However, in some cases, it is possible to get a hardship license without serving the 2 year waiting period. Contact Attorney Simoneau for more information.
The Registry requires that 4th Offenders serve 5 years of the 10 year OUI revocation before they can be considered for a hardship license. Again, however, there may be a way to get a hardship license sooner by appealing to the Division of Insurance Board of Appeal. If you have a 10 year revocation, you will likely end up at the Board of Appeal anyway, because the Registry denies most 4th offenders hardship relief.
The Registry requires habitual traffic offenders to serve 1 year of the 4 year habitual traffic offender revocation and the RMV requires those convicted of drug offenses to serve ½ of the suspension prior to hardship license consideration. However, in some cases, the Division of Insurance Board of Appeal may grant you a hardship license prior to you having served half of the suspension time.