No Hardship License for NDR Suspension

NDR_CLEARANCEIn out of state suspension cases, the first step to restoring your Massachusetts Driver’s License is to reinstate your driving privileges in the state where the violation occurred. Your right to operate must be restored in the other state prior to attempting to get your license back here in Massachusetts because it is impossible to get a hardship, work, or limited license in Massachusetts while your right to drive is suspended elsewhere. You must be in good standing in the National Driver Register prior to having your Mass. license restored, either on a part-time or full time basis.

Many drivers who have lost their right to drive in Massachusetts due to an out of state DUI or other violation call my office looking for a way to have MassDOT override an indefinite NDR revocation. This is generally not possible. Massachusetts is required to give full faith and credit to out of state suspensions and revocations, just as other states are required to respect license actions taken by the Mass. RMV. Therefore, you must have the state where the problem originated remove the NDR block prior to trying to get your license back in your home state. The Registry will not grant hardship driving permits under any circumstances unless the applicant is eligible in the NDR and there is no way around this.

Once your rights are restored in the state where the conviction entered or the disqualification occurred, that does not mean that your troubles are over. Once the Mass. Registry discovers an out of state, or even an out of country, conviction for a motor vehicle law violation, the RMV will apply that to your driving record and once that happens, a new license suspension will automatically be generated. When this happens, I may be able to help you reduce or eliminate the loss of license, depending on the particular situation. Please contact me to see how my office can help you get your license restored.

Work Licenses for 3rd Offense DUI

Massachusetts Work License for OUI 3rdMost DUI 3rd offenders in Massachusetts end up at the Board of Appeal for work license consideration instead of the Mass. Registry of Motor Vehicles. This is because the RMV’s suspension department requires proof of completion of a ninety (90) day in-patient (residential) DUI treatment program, which is approved by the Department of Public Health. If you have not completed this specific alcohol program, the Registry will not grant you any type of work or hardship license. However, the Registry is not the only game in town.

The Division of Insurance Board of Appeal has the legal authority to grant you a hardship license even if you do not meet the Registry’s strict requirements. I have personally obtained hardship licenses from the Board of Appeal for third offenders who have only completed a first offender program such as the 24D Driver Alcohol Education Program. In these cases, where the applicant does not have the proper program, it is imperative to provide sufficient documentation to satisfy the Appeals Board that the driver does not represent a danger to public safety and that his or her alcoholism has been brought under control.

There are likely countless drivers suffering needlessly, with 8 year license revocations, when they could be driving lawfully. It’s not easy to get a hardship license with 3 drunk driving convictions. However, it is certainly not impossible. You must go for an alcohol evaluation, which my office can arrange, and you will be required to use the ignition interlock during your revocation period and for at least 24 months after the removal of the “H” (hours) restriction from your driver’s license. Use of the IID is mandatory if you are a Massachusetts resident and there are no exceptions.

Having proper documentation and effective legal representation can be essential when seeking a Cinderella license. If you have an 8 year OUI 3rd offense license loss, I invite you to contact me for a free review of your situation and assessment of your chances of success at the Board of Appeal.

Some Client Reviews

If you have recently been denied a “hardship license ” thru the Registry and are thinking about hiring a attorney to help you get back on the road,  I strongly recommend Attorney Brian E. Simoneau,  a friend who was in the similar circumstances with a 3yr loss of license mentioned him. Attorney Simoneau, knows the entire process, I used his website and he returned my call and email promptly, he has an extensive exhausting list of things that need to be done, but I assure you that you are in good hands with him. I was facing a 3yr loss of license because of chemical test refusal and loss of a job, without Attorney Simoneau that would of happened. I am happy to say that we received a favorable decision in my favor and I am back behind the wheel thanks to his experience and professionalism.  Attorney (Brian ) Simoneau is a person who will fight for you.  I am not writing this because I was asked by him, people need to know about the man.
Thanks again,
Jim M.
Millbury, Mass.
  • “Hi Brian,  happy to say I went to registry and was able to get reinstated.  Just saying Thanks again for your help.”
  • Thank you so much.  This is the best news.  This is going to be such a big help in so many ways.  I am so filled with gratitude right now. I can’t thank you enough for your part in making this a reality.
    Sincerely Michele


  • “I’d like to thank you for representing Vinnie in his efforts to get his license back. I’m still in shock that they gave him a hardship license,  very happy that he can now move forward with his life.”
  • “Thank you so much for your help Mr. Simoneau, can’t express how important this is, I will be sure to recommend your name. Thanks again for all your help.”


Legislation would Eliminate Drug Suspensions

At present, the Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles is legally required to suspend the driver’s license of anyone convicted of certain drug offenses. This suspension requirement takes effect regardless of whether or not a motor vehicle was involved in the drug crime. For example, the simple possession of illegal drugs in a person’s home will trigger a mandatory license suspension, even if a vehicle was not involved. Governor Michael Dukakis implemented the automatic license suspension requirement for 94C offenses in 1989. It requires the RMV to impose license losses ranging from 1 to 5 years in length, depending on the crime. The Registry charges a $500.00 reinstatement fee for these suspensions. MassDOT suspends approximately 7,000 licenses per year for drug-related offenses.

There is currently legislation pending at the Statehouse which would do away with automatic license suspensions for drug convictions in Massachusetts. These bills, Senate No. 64 and House No. 1429, propose to eliminate the license suspension penalty for drug convictions. If enacted, Massachusetts would join 33 other states which no longer suspend for drug crimes.

Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey supports the proposed legislation, as it was designed to “increase safety and opportunity.” The bill also eliminates the mandatory minimum sentences for those convicted of certain drug crimes. Chief Justice Ralph D. Gants of the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court, which is the highest court in Massachusetts, has spoken in favor of the bills.

Those currently serving drug related license losses are able to apply for hardship licenses from the Board of Appeal or the Driver Control Unit of the Mass. RMV. These agencies have the authority to grant a 12 hour work license or early reinstatement of your full license.

Likewise, if the law does not pass, those faced with license suspensions for drug convictions will still have the opportunity to apply for hardship licenses which are issued either directly from the RMV or pursuant to an order issued after a hearing at the Division of Insurance Board of Appeal.

Hardship License Work Letters

In order to get a work license from the Division of Insurance Board of Appeal, you must supply adequate documentation to show that you need a driver’s license in order to work. The Board of Appeal will not grant you a hardship license for work purposes if you are unemployed and you cannot demonstrate that you have a viable job offer or that you are actively engaged in a job search and the only thing that his holding you back from gainful employment is the lack of a driver’s license

Massachusetts courts have ruled that the granting of a hardship license is considered “extraordinary relief” and that they should only be granted in cases where the Appellant has demonstrated that he or she has a legitimate and substantial hardship.

The Board of Appeal has denied Appellants who are unable to demonstrate a substantial enough of a work-related hardship. There must be sufficient evidence to show that a person seeking relief has a need for the license beyond the mere inconvenience associated with a suspension or revocation. For example, if someone is able to get to and from work, but not able to work overtime due to the lack of a license, that generally will not constitute a substantial enough of a hardship to qualify.

The best work letters contain information regarding the employee’s value to the organization, his or her work hours, and a statement regarding the importance of punctuality and good attendance. If the employee needs to drive as part of his or her work duties, that requirement should be thoroughly explained in the work letter.

Work letters for repeat OUI offenders, who need to drive as part of their job duties and drive company vehicles, should contain some acknowledgement indicating that the person’s employer understands that he or she will be ignition interlock required while on any hardship license and for 2 years after getting a full reinstatement.

My office can provide you with sample letters which the Board of Appeal has accepted in prior cases. My office can also provide you with sample documentation for medical or educational related hardship appeals.

Breathalyzer Controversy

drager_breathalyzer_massachusettsThere has been considerable controversy, misinformation, and media attention regarding a problem with the administration of chemical breath tests in Massachusetts DUI cases.

Chemical breath tests which police administer in Operating Under the Influence cases in Massachusetts are governed by 501 CMR 2.11. This regulation requires the use of a “simulator” which has been tested to contain a pre-determined alcohol concentration. In order to ensure the validity of breath tests, this simulator is tested in between an arrestee’s two breath samples to ensure that the breathalyzer is functioning properly and reporting an accurately reporting the test subject’s blood alcohol content. The DUI suspect’s breath sample and the simulator test is separated by two “air blanks” to ensure that there is no air from the subject’s breath sample in the device when the simulator is being tested.

The Drager Alcotest 9510 breath testing devices, which were placed into service in police departments throughout Massachusetts several years ago, should have been programmed to invalidate a breath test if the reported blood alcohol content (BAC) of the simulator falls outside of the range of 0.074 – 0.086%. It has become apparent that some devices may not have been programmed in accordance with this legal standard.

Therefore, a relatively small number of breathalyzer tests in Massachusetts may have been invalid, because the breathalyzer failed to reject and invalidate a test If the simulator calibration check result was not between 0.074 – 0.086%. If this occurred, the breath test is invalid, as a matter of law, and should have been admitted in a drunk driving prosecution.

Assumedly, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts has records of breath tests administered and the Commonwealth should contact defense counsel in cases where convictions were obtained based on invalid breath tests. It would seem that such information is considered exculpatory under Brady and other cases which place an affirmative duty on the prosecution to produce exculpatory evidence to defense counsel in criminal cases.

If you believe that the breathalyzer results may have been invalid in your Massachusetts DUI case, you should contact your defense lawyer and have him or her review the breath test ticket that was generated. If the calibration check result falls outside of the acceptable range, you may be able to seek judicial review of your conviction by filing a Motion for a New Trial, pursuant to Rule 30 of the Massachusetts Rules of Criminal Procedure. These motions can be granted at any time if it appears that justice may not have been done in the original trial.

Of the thousands of breath tests administered in Massachusetts, only a few hundred cases are impacted by this issue. The vast majority of tests are valid and admissible.


Get a Hardship License & Drive Legally

driver_license_massachusettsIf the Massachusetts Department of Transportation has denied you a hardship license, you have the ability to appeal the denial by going before the Board of Appeal of the Massachusetts Division of Insurance of the Office of Consumer Affairs and Business Regulation. The Board of Appeal has the lawful authority to order the Registry to grant you a hardship license, or in some cases, a full license reinstatement, even after the Registry of Motor Vehicles has initially declined your request.

If you need to go before the Board of Appeal, this means that there is something about your driving record, criminal history, or the facts of your case which disqualify you from being given hardship driving privileges at the RMV level. The same facts which have prevented you from being given hardship relief at the RMV may make it difficult for you to convince the Appeals Board to grant you a hardship license. Therefore, it makes sense to hire a lawyer who regularly and routinely appears before the Board. To ensure that you’re getting the best legal representation possible, you should ask your lawyer how many Board of Appeal cases he or she has handled and what is his or her win / loss record before the Board. There are some lawyers who do not regularly practice before the Board and they should be avoided.

If you are serious about obtaining a Massachusetts Hardship License, I invite you to contact me for a free consultation and review of your case. After speaking with you, I will candidly advise you regarding your chances of success and I will make recommendations regarding what you need to do to strengthen your case.

There is a lot of misinformation floating around the internet and even among some attorneys regarding hardship licensing eligibility and requirements. After speaking with me, you will know exactly where you stand and whether you qualify for hardship licensing consideration. There may be no need to suffer with a suspended or revoked license when you can lawfully drive. Contact Attorney Simoneau for more information on how you may be able to drive legally.


Tips for going before the Board of Appeal

In Massachusetts, the Board of Appeal of the Division of Insurance has the power to provide hardship licenses, even in cases where the applicant has been denied such a license by the Registry of Motor Vehicles. However, getting a hardship license from the Board of Appeal is not easy. Being successful at the RMV Appeals Board requires good timing, case preparation, and documentation. Most people lose at the Board of Appeal because they appear at unprepared, at the wrong time, or without the required documents.

First, if winning your case is important to you, spend the money and hire a lawyer who routinely practices before the Board. There’s no substitute for good legal representation. Not all lawyers specialize in Registry matters and when they come before the Board, they sometimes have difficulty. On the other hand, lawyers who regularly appear before the Board generally have better results. Ask your lawyer about his win / loss record.

Timing is critical. You should not appear before the Board of Appeal if you are serving a repeat offender who is chemical test refusal (CTR) suspension. The Board has taken the legal position that it has no authority to hear and decide your hardship case until the breathalyzer refusal suspension expires. There are absolutely no exceptions to this rule.

You should also not go before the Board if you have not served enough of your suspension or revocation. A lawyer who specializes in Board of Appeal cases can advise you as to when to appeal, based on his experience in handling prior cases; I’ve consulted with thousands of clients and handled many hundreds of such appeals.

Next, if you have pending charges or open cases for motor vehicle violations, you should not go before the Board. The appeal application clearly this. The rationale for this restriction is that going before the Board and getting a hardship license is a waste of time, yours and the Board’s, if you are just going to lose your license if you are convicted of the pending violations.

Having the right documentation is essential. The Board loves paperwork and the most important documents include proof of your need to drive for work, school, or medical reasons, a discharge summary showing your risk of recidivism or relapse, and a substance abuse evaluation which also provides a recidivism classification. Proof of program completion is also an important document. Other important items include proof of AA attendance, if available, letters of recommendation, and a personal statement addressed to the Board. These are only a few examples of what can help you get a driver’s license.

Your lawyer cannot win the case without your help, no matter how good he or she is.

Operating After Suspension & Hardship Licensing

I recently received this inquiry from an individual who is attempting to obtain a hardship license.

Good afternoon, I have two oui of liquor. I went to trial last October for my second offense because I blew a .08 and lost. I’m in my first year of the two year suspension. I got arrested again in August for driving on a suspended license. I served 30 days in jail although the court only sentenced me to 10 days. I violated probation my first time. Did the two week program and have one more of after care classes. I drove a car 10 houses and my cousin told the cop I drove. I actually didn’t get arrested in the car I was already at a house. The cops came and arrested me. It’s along story. I was wondering if I could still get a hardship I live in the suburbs and it’s tough to get around. I just made very stupid decisons. I heard they take your license for an additional year and there is no way I could get a hardship I would have to wait the full two years. Is this true? If you could just give me a little feed back and if I am eligible after I complete my last class you could represent me. Thank you for your time.

Unfortunately, getting a hardship license with a recent Operating After Suspension charge on your record is extremely difficult. Expecting that the Board of Appeal would not authorize the issuance of a hardship license, I declined to represent the person. Lately, the Board has expressed a very negative opinion regarding those who make the very poor decision to drive while their license is suspended or revoked for DUI. Recent OAS charges will make getting hardship relief very difficult. Instead of driving while your license is under suspension you should apply for a hardship license, so that you can drive legally. In this case, the driver made no attempt to get a hardship license and now that he has been convicted of driving while suspended, it is likely too late.

Not All Drug or Alcohol Programs are Equal

alcohol_programIn Massachusetts DUI cases, one of the key parts of your hardship license hearing before the Board of Appeal or Registry is a review of the drug or alcohol treatment program which you have most recently completed. Not all programs are equal and the Board of Appeal has become very adept at discerning what is a legitimate and substantive alcohol program and what is not.

Some hardship license candidates attempt to satisfy the program requirement with on-line or “distance learning”  programs.  The Board of Appeal hears thousands of cases each year and the Board members are aware of the differences between these programs which you basically take over the internet and then print your certificate versus the more substantive programs which require your physical attendance and participation.

Going before the Board of Appeal with a “correspondence school” or “on-line alcohol program” when completion of an actual “in-person” program is required can result in a hardship license denial, which would force you to serve the balance of your revocation or license suspension.

Not all substance abuse programs are equal and not having a substantive alcohol or drug program may hurt your chances of success, especially if you are a repeat offender. You should consult with a lawyer prior to appearing before the Board of Appeal to ensure that you have what it takes to convince the Board to grant you a hardship license or reinstatement of your driving privileges.

The Probation Department of your District Court can be a valuable resource when it comes to finding an alcohol or drug treatment program.  You can also find programs on-line and through Alcoholics Anonymous Groups. The Massachusetts Department of Public Health also maintains a list of approved programs and treatment providers.

Finally, if you are legally domiciled out of state, or if you are a full-time student who resides in another state, the Registry of Motor Vehicles will accept proof of program completion from your home state, even if the DUI offenses occurred here in Massachusetts. However, if you are not a Massachusetts resident, you cannot get a Massachusetts Driver’s License and you must go before the Appeals Board instead of the Registry to be considered for hardship relief. If you have to appear before the Board, you should retain a lawyer.