RMV Hardship License Hearings
The RMV hardship license hearing process can be confusing and frustrating, especially to those who appear without an attorney. I have handled a large number of Registry hearings covering everything from breathalyzer refusals, DUIs, National Driver Register revocations, false license suspensions, habitual traffic offender revocations, and 7 surchargeable event suspensions, to name a few.
First, hearings are only conducted at certain Registry branches. They are located in Boston, Worcester, Springfield, South Yarmouth, Brockton, Fall River, Pittsfield, Lawrence, and Wilmington RMV Branches. The headquarters of the Registry’s Driver Control Unit is located at the Boston RMV Branch, 4th Floor, 630 Washington Street in Boston, MA. You can reach the Registry’s Suspension Unit by phone at 617-351-7200. The Chinatown Registry Branch is the only location where breathalyzer refusal hearings are held.
Upon arrival at the Registry, you must complete a Registry Hearing Form and return the completed hardship license hearing form to the Registry official at the greeting desk. If you are represented by a lawyer, which is highly recommended, your hardship license attorney will complete this form and file it on your behalf. You should remember this hearing number.
Once your Registry Hearing Form is submitted, a Registry Hearings Officer will research your case. This involves obtaining a copy of your driving and criminal record as well as checking your name in the National Driver Register and with out of state motor vehicle departments. The hearings officer assigned to your hardship appeal may ask contact clerk’s offices of various courthouses to obtain updated court records.
While the Registry hearings officer is researching your hardship license case, you should have all of your paperwork ready. This includes your letter from your employer, proof of alcohol program completion, discharge summary showing risk of recidivism, letter from your probation officer, and the other documents which the Registry hearings officer will require. Having these documents ready will expedite your hearing.
When you are called for your hearing, the hearings officer will ask you or your lawyer what you are looking for. The hearings officer will ask you or your attorney various questions regarding your case and situation. The hearings officer will then request and carefully review the documents required for a hardship license. He or she will also review your driving and criminal records in Massachusetts and, if applicable, other states. Any DUI offenses committed anywhere in the world at anytime will count against you and will be added to your Massachusetts driving record.
The hearings officer will question you regarding your alcohol consumption, prior DUI incidents, alcohol education programs, and other issues. You should answer honestly. If you are represented by a hardship license lawyer, he or she will do most of the talking.
At the conclusion of the registry hearing, one of three things will happen. The hearings officer will either approve you for a hardship license, deny you request and refer you to the Board of Appeal, or take the case under advisement for up to 10 days. If you are denied a hardship or work license, the hearings officer will make a notation on your driving record. If you are denied a hardship license, you have the right to Appeal to the Board of Appeal and you have the right to be represented by a lawyer, which can make the difference between getting a license or getting denied.