Massachusetts House Bill 3069, entitled “an Act Relative to Clarifying Violations that Occur while Driving with a Hardship License,” has met with initial approval in the House of Representatives and appears likely to pass. This legislation would increase the penalties for those who are caught operating outside of their hardship license hours. It was filed by Representative David P. Linsky (D) of the 5th Middlesex District.
The Registry currently grants hardship licenses for 12-hour periods and a driver who is caught driving outside of his or her 12-hour hardship license period can be arrested and charged with unlicensed operation.
House Bill 3069 would allow police to arrest and charge a hardship license holder with the more serious offense of operating after suspension or revocation if he or she was found to be operating outside of the 12 hours authorized by the hardship license.
Anyone caught violating the terms of a hardship licenses risks the loss of that license by either the Registry or the Board of Appeal. Also, a conviction for operating after suspension or revocation, which this proposed legislation would allow, would trigger a new and separate license suspension as well as a potential habitual traffic offender status and resulting new 4 year habitual traffic offender revocation.
Hardship license holders must scrupulously abide by the terms and conditions of their licenses to avoid getting arrested and incurring new license suspensions and other penalties. Massachusetts Police Officers can see restricted hardship hours via their cruiser laptops and it is easy to get caught driving outside of authorized hours.
The proponents of this legislation have received strong support to increase the penalties of driving outside of hardship hours and this proposed legislation appears likely to become law at some point. The Bill received a second reading at the Massachusetts Statehouse and a third reading is pending.