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Hardship Licenses & the 24D Program

There is a disposition for Operating under the influence, which is also known as "drunk driving," (OUI, DWI, DUI) which is commonly referred to as " 24D" or "90-24D." This term originates from the statute which creates the program, G.L. c. 90 § 24D. If you are a first offender, you are presumed to be eligible for the 24D program. You may have the option of attending the 24D alcohol education program as an alternative to a lengthier license loss, heavier fines, and possible incarceration.

Defendants enrolled in the First Offender Driver Alcohol Education Program (also referred to as the 24D Program) must complete a course approved by the Massachusetts Department of Public Health. The cost for this program is approximately $600.00. The 24D alcohol education program consists of an intake assessment, thirty-two hours of group meetings over sixteen weeks, exposure to self-help groups through attending two meetings in your community, and a victim impact presentation with speakers from MADD. Click here for a list of 24D Programs.

Hardship Licenses issued to defendants under the G.L. c. 90 § 24D program will "supersede" license suspensions for Breath Test Refusals / Chemical Test Refusals (BTR/CTR). For example, under Melanie's Law, the penalty for refusing a breathalyzer on a 1st offense OUI is a 180 day suspension. However, this breath test refusal suspension will not prevent you from getting a hardship license under the 24D program.

According to G.L. c. 90 § 24D, a defendant may immediately upon entering a driver alcohol education program apply to the RMV for consideration of a limited license for hardship purposes. The registrar, at his discretion, may issue such license under such terms and conditions as he may prescribe. Any such license shall be valid for an identical 12 hour period, 7 days a week.

The preceding provision means that if a defendant gets a 24D disposition, he or she can likely get an an immediate hardship license. To qualify for a hardship license under this program, the defendant must actually enroll in the 24D program and bring to the RMV a letter (on letterhead) from the certified alcohol education program as proof of enrollment, with certain other documents. The license will be valid for an identical 12-hour period each day.  If the defendant drops out of the 24D program, the hardship license will be revoked. If you fall into this (24D) category, contact an RMV Appeal attorney today to begin preparing your case.

Hardship license applicants must generally wait at least three (3) business days from the applicant's court date before applying for the license. This 3 day period is necessary to give the Registry of Motor Vehicles time to receive the information from the court.

Athough the 24D program is generally considered a 1st offender disposition, other defendants such as those charged with OUI 2nd offense may still qualify for the program.

It is important to note that even with the harsh consequences of Melanie's Law, hardship licenses can still be issued.

Contact an RMV Appeal attorney today for a free consultation.



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The information contained on this site is offered for informational purposes only and is not legal advice. This information is not intended to create, and receipt of it does not constitute, an attorney-client relationship. Readers should not act upon this information without seeking professional counsel.