There are a number of ways to lose your driving privileges in MA. From excessive traffic violations to an OUI conviction, reasons for suspension can vary widely. Fortunately, some MA drivers who lose their license will qualify for something called a hardship license. A hardship license allows the individual to drive, but only for approved reasons, and only under limited circumstances. Generally speaking, a hardship license allows people to drive to and from school and / or work.
Do I Qualify?
As stated above, there are many ways to lose your license. Whether or not you qualify for a hardship license will be largely dependent on several factors, including:\
- the reason for your suspension or revocation,
- how long your license has been suspended,
- your previous driving record, and
- whether your suspension is based on refusal of a chemical test or breath test.
Habitual Traffic Offenders and individuals with OUI convictions are generally eligible for a hardship license. If your suspension is due to refusal of a chemical or breath test you may still be eligible for a hardship license. To qualify under such circumstances, you must be enrolled in the 24D (first offender’s) program. Without enrollment in this program, the hardship license will be denied. It’s important to note that if your license has been suspended for refusing a chemical or breath test, you are entitled to a hearing within 15 days of the suspension. A Boston OUI defense attorney can help you protect your rights, and possibly get the refusal suspension overturned, at your hearing.
What Does a Hardship License Allow?
If you receive a hardship license after a suspension or revocation in MA, you will be allowed to operate a motor vehicle during the same 12-hour period each day. If you are found to be driving outside of that 12-hour period, you may receive a citation or even be arrested. Although the hardship license is primarily intended to allow you to drive to and from work and school, there are no restrictions on where you can drive as long as you stay within your designated 12-hour period.
Hardship License Requirements
There are many requirements for obtaining a hardship license. Some of the most common criteria include:
- No operation of a motor vehicle since the suspension or revocation
- Minimum suspension period for hardship consideration has passed
- Enrollment in the 24D program
- Completion of the National Safety Council Driver Retraining Course
- Completion of an approved alcohol treatment program
- Documentation that you are in compliance with probation
- A letter from your employer or school stating that you need a hardship license
You may have to serve a specific term of your suspension prior to becoming eligible for a hardship license. If your suspension is due to being classified as a Habitual Traffic Offender, for example, MA law holds that you must wait at least one year before applying for a hardship license. The Registry typically issues about 3,500 hardship licenses per year. Even if you qualify under the hardship criteria listed above, there are no guarantees that you will be issued a hardship license. An experienced Boston defense attorney is crucial to a favorable outcome. Continue reading