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The Board of Appeal

G.L. c. 90 § 28 confers upon the Board, “overarching authority to affirm, modify, or annul any decision of the Registry.” This means that you may be able to obtain a hardship license by appealing your suspension to the Board of Appeal, even if the Registry has denied your request for such a license.

Board of Appeal hearings are much more formal than Registry hearings. The hearings are conducted in public courtrooms or hearing rooms. Witnesses are sworn, certain rules of evidence and procedure apply, and all testimony is recorded. You have the right to be represented by a lawyer at the Board of Appeal and I strongly recommend it. I say this because not a week goes by where I don’t receive a call from someone who has made the mistake of representing themselves before the Board and lost. Once this happens, it is usually too late for me to do anything.

Massachusetts law allows any person who receives an adverse decision or ruling from the Registry to appeal to the Board. The Board has broad and expansive powers to order the RMV to grant a hardship license or a full license reinstatement. However, the Board acts in accordance with public safety and to get relief you must convince the three member Board that putting you back on the road will not endanger public safety. An experienced hardship license lawyer can help you do this.

It is critical to be prepared for Board of Appeal hearings. This means having your driving and criminal records reviewed in advance and having the proper paperwork which usually includes discharge summaries, drug / alcohol program completion certificates, character reference letters, alcohol evaluations, drug screens, probation reports, work letters, acceptable proof of employment or self-employment, and other such documentation which addresses two issues: your hardship / need for a license and the risk to public safety.  Proper and adequate documentation is absolutely critical at the Board of Appeal.

For the Board of Appeal to consider you for a hardship license, you must have either proof of employment or a confirmation of a bona fide job offer, subject to you obtaining a driver’s license. Stated more simply, the Board of Appeal does not grant hardship licenses to those who are unemployed.  

If you need to appeal a license suspension to the Board, I urge you to contact me for a free review and analysis of your case. An initial consultation will cost you nothing and it may prevent you from getting denied a hardship license and having to serve your suspension.