Mass. Hardship Licenses & SR-22 Requirements

When a person’s driver’s license or right to drive in suspended or revoked for DUI in the State of New Hampshire, the NH DMV will require proof of “financial responsibility,” which is evidence of liability insurance in the form of a certificate issued by an automobile insurance company which is licensed to serve customers in the State of New Hampshire. This evidence of coverage is known as an “SR-22,” which is a standard insurance industry certificate. The purpose of the SR-22, which must be certified by your insurance provider, is to certify that the driver, who has a drunk driving conviction on his or her record, is covered by adequate liability coverage.  The basis for requiring this is to insure that money is available to compensate accident victims in the event of a future property damage or personal injury accident.

The Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles does not require SR-22 certificates, because G.L. c. 90 § 34J requires all drivers to carry liability insurance.

There are two types of liability insurance, “owner” and “non-owner.” The New Hampshire DMV accepts both types of SR-22 certificates. However, the certificate must state either “any vehicles owned by the insured” or “any vehicles operated by the insured.”

For drivers licensed in Massachusetts, getting an SR-22 can be difficult. Problems arise because insurance companies are legally allowed to cancel the policies of those who have had their licenses suspended or revoked and it is impossible to get an SR-22 without an insurance policy in effect. To further compound this problem, the Massachusetts Registry will not reinstate your license, or consider you for a hardship license, without proof of clearance from the New Hampshire DMV.  To address this problem, the Mass. RMV has developed a “workaround,” whereby it may be possible to temporarily reinstate your right to drive in Massachusetts, so that you can get insurance coverage and the SR-22 which the New Hampshire DMV requires. To begin this process, to get either a full license or limited Massachusetts hardship license, you must get a “catch 22” letter from the Financial Responsibility Unit of the New Hampshire DMV stating that the only reason why your right to operate in New Hampshire is revoked is due to the failure to file an SR-22 certificate. You must present this limited clearance letter to a hearings officer at the Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles to get the National Driver Register Indefinite hold removed.

If you need help getting an SR-22 issue resolved, so that you can apply for a DUI Hardship License, please contact Attorney Brian E. Simoneau by completing the contact form on this site.