MA Hardship License for Non-Residents

You cannot get a Massachusetts Hardship License if your are not a Massachusetts Resident. This is because in order to be issued any type of Massachusetts driver’s license, including a Cinderella or work license, you must be a resident of Massachusetts and you will be required to prove residency.

The good news is that if your right to operate has been suspended or revoked by the MA Registry of Motor Vehicles, you may be able to get “hardship relief” by going before the Board of Appeal. This appellate board has the legal authority to order the Registry of Motor Vehicles to remove the National Driver Register (NDR) block which will prevent you from being issued a driver’s license in any state. If the Board orders the Registry to remove the block, you will be able to apply for a driver’s license in your home state and your Mass. suspension or revocation will not prevent you from being granted the right to drive where you live.

If you are an out of state resident, the Board of Appeal is the only source for relief from a license suspension on the grounds of hardship. The Registry will not grant you this type of relief, under any circumstances, without a “Finding and Order” from the Appeals Board instructing the Registry to allow you to reinstate.

If you are Ignition Interlock Device (IID) required, you will need to either have the IID installed or apply for consideration for a waiver of the IID requirements based on non-residency. If you are granted a waiver by the Registry, you cannot operate a motor vehicle in Massachusetts without a certified IID. In order to get any further exemption from the IID requirement, if you are a repeat offender, the Board of Appeal must specifically state in the “Finding and Order” to “reinstate without the IID.”

The option of seeking hardship relief instead of a hardship license allows those faced with Massachusetts license suspensions to appear before the Division of Insurance Board of Appeal to be considered for relief which allows them to legally drive, so long as the motorist’s home state is willing to grant him or her a driver’s license. Hardship relief results in removal of the NDR block which is automatically applied to a driver’s record when his or her right to operate has been suspended or revoked in any state. Motor Vehicle departments are required to check the NDR prior to issuing a license. This requirement prevents individuals from obtaining a license in one state while his or her license is suspended in another state or jurisdiction. The Board’s ability to have this NDR block removed on the basis of hardship allows deserving drivers who qualify for relief a second chance.


Breathalyzer Refusal Suspensions

Breathalyzer Refusal SuspensionIn accordance with the Massachusetts implied consent law, if you refuse to submit to a breath or blood test after being arrested for DUI in Massachusetts, your license will be suspended for a minimum of 180 days up to life. The length of the refusal suspension depends on your age and number of prior DUI convictions. Evidence showing that you refused to consent to a breathalyzer or blood test will not be admissible against you at your DWI trial. However, refusal evidence is admissible at any RMV hearing.

License suspension penalties for breathalyzer refusals only apply when a person is arrested for operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of intoxicating liquor. Refusal license suspension penalties do not apply when a person is arrested for DUI drugs. Also, refusal suspension penalties can only be imposed after the arrestee was advised that his license, learner’s permit, or right to operate motor vehicles in Massachusetts will be suspended for a period of at least 6 months and up to a lifetime for the refusal.

If a person refuses to take a breathalyzer or blood test, the police are required to impound the vehicle used to commit the DUI for a 12-hour period, with the costs for the towing, storage and maintenance of the vehicle to be borne by the operator.

Chemical test refusal suspensions become effective immediately upon receipt of the notification of suspension from the police officer. These suspensions run consecutively and not concurrently. This means that they are “stacked” so that the refusal suspension will run first and any additional DUI suspension will not begin until the refusal suspension expires.

The police officer who receives the refusal is required to submit a report to the Mass. RMV within 24 hours of the refusal. The report must be made under the penalties of perjury and describe the grounds for the DUI arrest. It must state that the person refused and identify a witness to the refusal as well as the officer who requested the test.

Chemical Test Refusal (CTR) suspensions must be appealed to the Boston Branch of the Registry of Motor Vehicles, 136 Blackstone Street, Boston, MA, 3rd floor, during normal business hours on business days. Appeals must be filed within 15 days of the refusal. The police refusal report is considered prima facie evidence of the facts contained therein. Legal representation at these refusal hearings is strongly recommended.

Except in first offense DUI and “second chance first offense” DUI cases, the Registry will not grant any hardship, work, or Cinderella license while a breathalyzer refusal suspension is in effect. In repeat offense cases, this implied consent suspension must be served prior to hardship license consideration.