Massachusetts Registry Lawyer

550 Cochituate Rd., Suite 25
Framingham, MA 01701
508-302-0212 (fax)



Hardship License, RMV Appeal, suspension, DWI, DUI, OUI, work license, ignition interlock device

Massachusetts Registry Lawyer

The Meadows Building

161 Worcester Rd., Suite 200

Framingham, MA 01701


508-302-0212 (fax)



Our dedicated staff of RMV Appeal Attorneys will work hard to get you back on the road LEGALLY.

With the harsh consequences associated with Operating After Suspension / Revocation, why drive on a suspended or revoked license when you may be able to get a Hardship License or a full license reinstatement?

If your license was suspended or revoked for OUI, DWI, DUI and you are found operating a motor vehicle, you will likely be arrested. If you       do not have a hardship license, this offense carries a minimum mandatory sentence of 60 days imprisonment.

A Massachusetts Hardship      License will allow you to drive     legally for a fixed 12 hour period   each day. Also, if  your are found operating outside of your designated hours, a hardship license will    reduce the charge from Operating After Suspension / Revocation to    the less serious charge of   Unlicensed Operation. © 2007
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Massachusetts Suspensions and Hardship Licenses: Frequently Asked Questions



  • Who is eligible for a hardship license?

Hardship licenses are generally available for Habitual Traffic Offenders (HTO) and individuals who have had their licenses revoked for Operating Under the Influence of Liquor or drugs (OUI / DUI).

Will my license be suspended for refusing a Breath / Blood Alcohol Test?

Yes. Under the Massachusetts "implied consent" law, by obtaining a driver’s license, automatically consent to a breath or blood test (also known as breathalyzer test). If you are arrested for DUI in Massachusetts and refuse to consent to such a test, your license will be suspended for 180 days for the 1st offense (over 21 years of age), 3 years of the 2nd offense, 5 years for the 3rd offense, 10 years for the 4th offense, and lifetime for the 5th offense. These harsh breath test refusal penalties were designed to encourage Massachusetts drivers to take the test and severely penalize those who refuse. If you are under 21, your Massachusetts license will be suspended for 3 years for a refusal on your 1st offense.

My license was suspended for a chemical / breath test refusal (CTR / BTR), can I get a hardship license?

Maybe, depending on whether you can get enrolled in the 24D (first offender's) program. Absent a G.L. c. 90 § 24D disposition, the Registry of Motor Vehicles will not issue you a hardship license during the term of a breath test refusal suspension.

Important: Any person whose license, permit or right to operate has been suspended for a chemical / breath test refusal shall, within 15 days of suspension, be entitled to a hearing before the Registry. Our Massachusetts DUI Attorneys may be able to get the breath test refusal suspension overturned at this hearing. If we are successful the Registrar will be required to reinstate your full license, permit or right to operate. These hearings often involve complex legal issues. Contact an RMV Appeal Attorney to discuss challenging your BTR/CTR suspension.

(Note: OUI 1st offense carries with it a 180 day license suspension if your refuse the breath test.)

What is the "look back" period for prior OUI/DWI/DUI (Operating under the Influence / Drunk Driving) offenses?

Massachusetts how has a lifetime look back period for OUIs. Also, when counting violations, out of state convictions for OUI/DWI/DUI count.

What will the hardship license (also known as a Cinderella or work license) allow me to do?

The hardship license will allow you to lawfully operate a motor vehicle for an identical 12 hour period each day. The 12 hour period is determined based on your needs.

What happens if I am caught driving outside of the 12 hour period during which my Massachusetts Hardship License allows me to legally drive?

If you are found driving a motor vehicle outside of the hours of your Massachusetts Hardship License, you may be arrested or issued a citation. However, even though your original Massachusetts Drivers License was suspended or revoked, the proper charge would not be "Operating After Suspension," G.L. c. 90, § 23. The arrest or citation would be for the less serious offense of "Unlicensed Operation," G.L. c. 90, § 10. This is critical, because a conviction of the crime of Operating After Suspension where your Massachusetts license was suspended for "drunk driving" (OUI, DUI, DWI), results in a minimum mandatory sentence 60 days imprisonment. See Comm. v. Murphy (Massachusetts Appeals Court).

Am I guaranteed to get a hardship license?

Absolutely not. The issuance of hardship licenses is largely   discretionary. Both the Registry of Motor Vehicles and the Board of Appeal   have tremendous discretion in deciding whether to grant a hardship license.   The Registry issues approximately 3,500 hardship licenses per year.   Although there are no guarantees, having the right attorney   prepare and present your case to the Registry or Board of Appeal could make the difference between getting a hardship license and   getting denied. Our attorneys know what the Board of Appeal and the RMV look for when deciding whether to grant a  hardship or Cinderella  license.

Are there limitations as to where I can drive during the 12 hour period?

Limited or hardship licenses are issued to individuals, who had their licenses   suspended or revoked, to allow the license holder to get to school, work, and/or medical appointments. However, so long as you restrict your operation to the authorized 12 hour period, there is absolutely no restriction on where you can drive.

Is there a “waiting period” before I can try to get a hardship or “Cinderella” license?

Maybe. You may have to serve a certain term of your license suspension before you can apply. For example, if your license is suspended or revoked because you have been classified as a Habitual Traffic Offender (HTO), you must serve a minimum of one year under suspension or revocation before you can apply for a hardship license. Contact an RMV Appeal Attorney to check on your eligibility.

How long does it take to get a hearing before the Board of Appeal?

It depends on the type of suspension with which you are appealing. The Board of Appeals generally hears appeals of shorter suspensions more expeditiously than appeals for longer license suspensions.

How do I apply for a Hardship License?

You must complete an application and provide certain paperwork to show that you are eligible for a hardship license. You will be required to attend a hearing at a Mass. RMV office. You are entitled to have an attorney represent you at this important hearing.

What happens at the RMV Hearing?

The Registry Hearing Officer will review your application and the documents which you must provide. To maximize your chances of success, RMV Appeal attorneys will assist you in preparing your application package and confirm that you have all required documentation. At the hearing, you must demonstrate two things: (1) that you have a legitimate hardship and (2) that the causes of your present and past violations have been dealt with or brought under control. RMV hearings can be confusing and intimidating. A RMV Appeal Attorney can help you make your case and maximize your chances of getting back on the road.

What requirements do I have to satisfy to get a hardship license?

The list of requirements is long and complicated. Some requirements depend on the type of suspension or revocation. Here are some examples of hardship criteria:

  ·      no evidence of any operation since the license revocation

·      you have served the minimum suspension time for hardship consideration

·      All other active revocation periods have been completed

·      Documented entry or enrollment, on program letterhead, verifying that you are enrolled in a G.L. c. 90 § 24D Program. (1st offenders)

·      Completion of completed the National Safety Council Driver Retraining Course (for HTO revocations)

·      proof of completion of the approved alcohol treatment program

·      Discharge Summary from the treatment program, stating the risk factor or recidivism rate

·      Proof of compliance with all ordered after-care

·      Discharge Summary or Progress Review from after-care provider stating the risk factor or recidivism rate

·      a letter from probation, less than 30 days old stating, that you are in compliance with probation

·      a letter from your school or employer, letterhead, less than 30 days old. The letter must state your need for a hardship license and your work or school hours.

·      Sufficient proof of self-employment (if you are self-employed)

·      Proof regarding public transportation

As you can see, this list is quite extensive. The criteria you must satisfy depends on your case (OUI, 1st offense, Habitual Traffic Offender.) Legal assistance can be invaluable in assembling, presenting, and explaining the required proof to the Registry Hearing Officer who will decide your case.




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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.