We often get the question here at Altman and Altman LLP, if I have lost my Massachusetts drivers license due to a criminal or motor vehicle infraction, am I eligible to apply for a hardship license? In general (though with some exceptions) the answer is yes. There are two instances where the hardship license is unlikely to be granted are as follows: If someone is serving a license suspension for refusing a breathalyzer test it is an uphill battle and very unlikely, In addition if someone had their license suspended for negligent or reckless homicide the answer is generally not likely as well. However, other than these two examples if you/we can make a compelling case for a hardship license you have a real chance to be granted the license. We have found that applying for a hardship license in Massachusetts is often not a futile or a time wasted process.
The best case scenario is that the Massachusetts Board of Appeals grants you a hardship license. The worst case scenario is that you are denied the hardship license, but the Board advises you as to why they are inclined to deny your request at this time. They will provide you/us with valuable information for the next time we apply for the license. For example, the Board may have wanted to see more of a work or family need for the hardship license to be issued, or the Board may have wanted to see the additional engagement of driving classes or courses. While there is some risk that that Board of Appeals will not permit you to re-apply for a certain period of time, we have found that they can be reasonable in that time frame, if they give any time constraints at all.
In our dealings with MA Board of Appeals and/or the DMV/RMV we have found them to be very understanding of one’s true need to have his or her driver’s license. This seems especially true in these pandemic/post pandemic times. While having a MA drivers license is a privilege and not a right. for many people not having the right to drive can be debilitating and potentially career threatening. Whether it be for employment, medical issues, or general family life, not having a driver’s license can be life altering. If we can successfully prove to the board that that you are not a danger to the public, that you have taken adequate steps to ensure that the reason you were suspended in the first place would likely not re-occur and if you have a true hardship, we believe that there is a reasonable chance that you will be granted a hardship license. That said, every case is taken on a case by case basis. But there should be a sense of optimism in obtaining a hardship license when going before the Board of Appeals. If you have questions about your potential hardship case, give us a call to talk with one of our experienced Massachusetts criminal defense lawyers.