Hardship License & Suspension Hearings Serving Clients From The Berkshires to Boston

Hardship Licenses & Suspension Hearings

As if the experience of facing an OUI charge isn’t daunting enough, you are often left with the consequence of a suspended license. Being hit with a loss of license after an OUI can put you in a difficult situation. You may need to be able to get to work, transport your children to and from child care or extra curricular activities, or get to medical appointments. Depending on the specific circumstances of your case, you may be able to request a hardship license from the Registry of Motor Vehicles (RMV) or seek a hearing to appeal your suspension altogether.

We have extensive experience with the RMV and are here to help you through this process. We understand that life without a driver’s license can create big obstacles, but you do not have to face them alone. There are ways to ease this burden, and the attorneys at The Law Offices of Joseph D. Bernard, P.C. can compassionately advise you of your options and guide you through the RMV process.

Am I Eligible for a Hardship License?

A hardship license permits you to drive for a set 12 hour period every day. In order to qualify for a hardship license, you have to be able to prove that you have an actual hardship. This can generally be in relation to work, school, medical need, family responsibilities, or other obligations. Keep in mind that you must be able to provide the proper documentation to support the hardship to the RMV, usually through a detailed letter.

The RMV may not grant you a hardship license if they believe you are a potential threat to public safety. In regards to issuing a hardship license for an OUI suspension, the RMV will especially look for history of alcohol and/or drug abuse and repeat OUI offenses. If you have a history of substance abuse, the RMV may request that you undergo a substance abuse evaluation. If you are able to show that you have actively engaged in recovery and sought treatment, your chances of obtaining a hardship license are significantly higher.

If you refused to submit to a breath test in your case, you are unfortunately not eligible for a hardship license under the law. The RMV will not grant a hardship license to anyone who has a second or greater offense until the chemical test refusal suspension has expired. The only exception is for first offenders and certain second offenders who are eligible to be treated as a first offender pursuant to Commonwealth v. Cahill, 442 Mass. 127 (2004), and only upon their acceptance of responsibility for OUI. If you fall into this category, you will immediately become eligible for a hardship license upon enrollment into a Driver Alcohol Education Program (DAEP), even while the chemical test refusal suspension is still in effect.

If you need additional confirmation as to whether or not you are eligible for a hardship license, please take this eligibility quiz.

How Do I Apply for a Hardship License?

All hardship license applications are at the discretion of the RMV. In order to apply for a hardship license, you must attend a hearing at select RMV hearing sites listed below. You should also bring all required documents with you when you meet with the hearings officer.

For any hardship license request, you must show a documented legitimate hardship. You must provide a letter from your employer, on letterhead, which cannot be more than 30 days old. The letter must state your need for a hardship license and the work hours. You are also responsible for providing proof regarding the availability of public transportation. This proof may be included within the employer’s letter. You may also provide local bus/transit routes, etc. The following is additional information based upon the particular suspension you face:

Length of Suspension

Work/Education Hardship

General Hardship

1 year (365 days)

3 months into OUI suspension

6 months into OUI suspension

2 years (730 days)

1 year into OUI suspension

18 months into OUI suspension

8 years (2920 days)

2 years into OUI suspension

4 years into OUI suspension

10 years (3650 days)

5 years into OUI suspension

8 years into OUI suspension

    • The applicant must provide documented proof of completion of the proper alcohol treatment program.

    • For a subsequent offense, an ignition interlock device will be required for the remainder of any suspension period plus two years after the reinstatement of the full license.

  • Drug Offense (94C) Hardship License Criteria

    • The applicant has provided documented proof of completion of the proper drug treatment program.

    • The applicant must present documentation of three clean urine screens. The clean urine screenings must be from the three months preceding the hardship license request.

  • Habitual Traffic Offender Hardship License Criteria

    • Eligible after at least 1 year of the suspension period has been served

    • The applicant has completed the National Safety Council Driver Retraining Course within three years of this request.

    • An interlock ignition device is required if:

      • An OUI revocation has completed while the HTO has been in effect AND there are two or more OUI(s) on the record; OR

      • An OUI revocation has completed and the applicant never reinstated for the OUI offense and there are two or more OUI(s) on the record

The attorneys at The Law Offices of Joseph D. Bernard are here to help you navigate the RMV process and ease the burden of a suspended license.

Suspension Hearings

If your Massachusetts driver’s license is suspended, you can seek a hearing at certain RMV Service Centers to appeal your suspension or to reinstate your license. You have a right to be represented by an attorney at an RMV hearing, and our firm regularly advocates at the RMV for the restoration of our client’s driving privileges.

What Do I Need for a Suspension Hearing?

It is important that you bring all necessary documentation with you to a hearing. Documentation varies based on what type of license suspension you have. Arrive as early as possible and allow for extra time. Our firm recommends you arrive at least 30 minutes before opening hours.

Once at the RMV, you will be given an application to complete. Make sure your application is fully completed. The hearing officer will collect the submitted application and will verify the accuracy of the suspension and review the application in advance of your hearing. The applications are numbered but you will be called by your name in the order in which you arrived. You will be called into the hearing officer’s office for the hearing to present your request for reinstatement.

The hearing is a very informal process. The hearing takes place in a small office with an RMV employee who has special privileges to remove license suspensions. The hearing officer may ask you some questions about the triggering event or your current wellbeing, and may give you some guidance as far as next steps in the reinstatement process, for example, if you are required to install an interlock ignition device. If the hearing officer determines that you are eligible to reinstate your license, they will direct you to a counter to pay a license reinstatement fee.

Hearings Sites and Schedules

Suspension hearings are available at the RMV on a walk-in basis only. Not all RMV locations hold hearings, so it is important that you locate the closest location to you as listed below. You can access each hearing sites’ webpage to see live wait times. Please click on the location of each hearing site for more details.

  • Boston

    • 136 Blackstone St., Boston, MA 02109

    • Suspension hearings: Monday-Friday 9:00 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.

  • Brockton

    • 490 Forest Ave., Brockton, MA 02301

    • Suspension hearings: Monday-Friday 9:00 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.

  • Fall River

    • 1794 North Main St., Fall River, MA 02720

    • Suspension hearings: Monday-Friday 9:00 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.

  • Lawrence

    • 73 Winthrop Ave., Lawrence, MA 01843

    • Suspension hearings: Monday-Friday 9:00 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.

  • Springfield

    • 1250 St. James Ave, Springfield, MA 01104

    • Suspension hearings: Monday-Friday 9:00 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.

  • Wilmington

    • 355 Middlesex Ave., Wilmington, MA 01887

    • Suspension hearings: Monday-Friday 9:00 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.

  • Worcester

    • 611 Main St., Worcester, MA 01608

    • Suspension hearings: 9:00 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.

How Much Does it Cost to Restore My License?

If you are successful at your suspension hearing, or if your suspension period has expired, you will need to have your license reinstated at the RMV. You will need to request a hearing in order for your suspension to be removed and for you to pay a reinstatement fee. Reinstatement fees are set by the law, and vary depending on the level of the offense. G.L. c, 90, § 33. Though there may be additional charges depending on the circumstances of your suspension, the typical fees for a restoring a license after a DUI suspension are as follows:

  • First Offense DUI: $500

  • Second Offense DUI: $700

  • Third Offense DUI: $1200

  • Fourth Offense DUI: $1200

You can make a payment for these fees with Credit and debit cards, cash, check, and money orders accepted for all transactions. If you choose to pay by check, make checks payable to MassDOT.

Lawyers Who Can Help You Restore Your License

The attorneys at The Law Offices of Joseph D. Bernard, P.C understand the importance of your ability to drive. Whether you drive for work, or need to take care of your family, we can assist you in obtaining a hardship license. Our firm has extensive experience presenting cases before the Registry of Motor Vehicles and the Board of Appeal, and we know how to put you in the best position to obtain your license.

Contact The Law Offices of Joseph D. Bernard P.C. for a free case consultation!

Lawyers Who Provide a Scientific Defense

  • Trained Breath Test Machine Operator

    Attorney Joseph D. Bernard is the only lawyer in Massachusetts to have completed the breath test training conducted by the state police.

  • Certified Field Sobriety Test Administers

    Our attorneys are certified administers of the field sobriety test by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

  • Former Assistant District Attorney

    We understand OUI cases from both sides of the fence and know exactly how to defend our clients.

  • Unique Certification & Expertise

    Attorney Joseph Bernard is the only lawyer in Massachusetts to be certified by the international acclaimed Borkenstein drug and alcohol courses.

Meet The Law Offices of Joseph D. Bernard P.C.

The Pinnacle of Drunk Driving Defense
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