License Suspension Frequently Asked Questions

Attorney Matthew Gilman has compiled many of the most common questions, and he shares his knowledge and perspective on a wide range of license suspension topics. Browse these questions and answers to learn more about your rights and what to do when you are threatened with the loss of your driving privileges.

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  • I was charged with DUI Outside of Massachusetts but I have a Massachusetts License, what are the possible implications?

    If you're a Massachusetts driver's license holder, and you get arrested for DUI in another state, your driver's license might be at risk. At first, the answer is your license might be at risk and the further your criminal case in the other state progresses the more that risk grows.

    On the date of your arrest you were likely offered to submit to a breath test. If you refused or if you failed the other state will likely issue you a suspension in that state. Your suspension for refusing or failing a breath test does not automatically suspend your right to operate in Massachusetts. Your right to operate in Massachusetts will not initially be for your failure or refusal to take the breath test but will be due to being suspended on the National Driver Registry (NDR). The administrative suspension related to the breath test is not what will suspend your Massachusetts license. It is the NDR suspension. If the Massachusetts Registry learns you are suspended on the NDR your right to operate will be suspended by Massachusetts. At this point so long as you remain suspended on the NDR you will not be eligible to reinstate your right to operate in Massachusetts. 

    Now that brings us along to the criminal charges of a OUI/DUI charge outside of Massachusetts. The Massachusetts Registry will not suspend your license if you are found not guilty or the charges are dismissed. So, if you avoid a conviction for OUI/DUI in another state, you will not be suspended in Massachusetts for DUI/OUI (*Your right to operate can remain suspended for the NDR suspension). However, if you are convicted in another state which Massachusetts law defines as either a Guilty Plea or Finding or any Assignment to a Substance Abuse Treatment Program in any other state, Massachusetts will consider that a DUI/OUI for its own purposes and impose a license suspension.

    The length of any license suspension imposed for an out of state DUI/OUI will be calculated on how many prior DUI/OUI convictions and or Program Assignments the Massachusetts Registry is able to locate. Even if the other state resolved the DUI/OUI as a first offense, if the Massachusetts Registry finds you had prior OUI/DUI convictions or assignments your license will be suspended based on the true number of OUI/DUI's you have had.

    Attorney Gilman has handled countless cases where clients were arrested for DUI/OUI out of state. He has helped clients obtain Hardship Licenses and clearing the Massachusetts suspension. Getting the Massachusetts license cleared and reinstated is complicated. Call a former Registry Hearing Officer today. 

  • Can I Drive After a DUI Conviction

    If you need to drive to get to work, school or frequete medical appointments, losing your drivers license following a DUI Arrest and conviction is a major hardship. A restricted license or hardship license is possible.

    If you have received your first DUI conivction, the court has no authority in Massachusetts to granted you a restricted or work license. The court will likely suspended your drivers license for anywhere between 45 - 90 days. This is on top of any suspension for Refusing the Breathalyzer. The Registry of Motor Vehicles does have the authority to grant restricted hardship licenses. If this is your first DUI conviction you will only have to wait until you are enrolled in the Driver Alcohol Education Program (DAE). Waiting in some counties can be just a few days but in other counties the wait time can be weeks and months.  In addition to the enrollment documentation, the Registry will require a letter from your employer on company letterhead or other documentation that supports your hardship.

    If you have no prior DUI convictions in Massachusetts or any other state you will not be required to have the Ignition Interlock Device (IID). If however you had a prior DUI conviction that was older then ten years from the most recent conviction you may have received a Cahill Disposition in Court. A Cahill Disposition is a second first offender dospition. If you resolved your case with the Cahill Disposition you will still be immediately eligible for a hardship license, however you will need to get an ignition interlock device installed before being eligble to reinstate.

    What is a Restricted License

    A restricted drivers license in Massachusetts only permits operation of a motor vehicle during a twelve hour window. A normal license allows individuals to drive 24 hours a day, a hardship license is valid for seven days a week but only the same twelve hours per day. The most common basis for a hardship license being granted is to assist individuals with getting to and from work. Although hardship licenses can be granted for medical, school and family hardships as well.

    A hardship license looks just like any ordinary license. The difference is that the specific hour restricitons are printed in small font on the license. 

    If you are granted a hardship license you can drive for any purpose during the specified twelve hour window seven days a week. There is no restriction on where you can drive or for what purpose you can operate a motor vehicle if you have a hardship license.

    Attorney Gilman has successfully represented hundreds of clients  appeal their DUI license suspension to the Registry of Motor Vehicles and the Division of Insurance Board of Appeals and obtained a hardship license. Call today to schedule a free, no-obligation case review with attorney Matthew Gilman.

  • I have a Board of Appeal Hearing What Can I Expect

    Drivers all across the Commonwealth receive license suspension letters everyday. Some matters can be resolved quickly at the Registry of Motor Vehicles, while other cases go to the Division of Insurance Board of Appeals. The Board of Appeals is an administrative hearing board that has legal authority to overturn or modify any decision issued by the Registrar of Massachusetts. This means they can tell the Registry to reinstate your suspended license.

    1. About the Board

    The Board of Appeals process is a formal scheduled hearing. There are no walk-in hearings before the Board.  The Board at any hearing will consist of three or four individuals. The Attorney Generals Office is represented by up to two designees, the Division of Insurance has one seat and serves as the chairperson and the Registrar of Motor Vehicles has one designee. Also present at any hearing is a Registry of Motor Vehicles Attorney/Representative. It is the role of the Attorney/Representative to present your record and any case in support of the Registry's position.

    2. Getting Before the Board

    As mentioned above, the Board does not take walk-in hearings. To get before the Board Attorney Gilman will file a formal application and appearance. There is also a $50.00 filing fee required to be paid with the application. Once the application package is submitted, it can take several weeks or months for the hearing to be scheduled. The longer your license is suspended the longer the wait time is to get before the Board. 

    3. The Hearing

    Every hearing starts the same way and all are open to the public. The Board will ask you to introduce yourself and spell your last name. Afterwhich, all the Board Members and the Registrars Attorney/Representative will introduce themselve. After everyone has introduced themselves the Board will ask the Registrars Attorney/Representative to present your record and the Registry's position against you. The Registrars Attorney will give to the Board your drivers history, criminal history and any out of state driving issues. If there are any criminal charges associated with the license suspension the Attorney will often provide the Board with copies of all relevant police reports.

    After the Registrars Attorney/Representative has presented their case, you will you have an opportunity to present your case. Every client that goes to the Board with Attorney Gilman will have an individualized memorandum supporting their case with supporting documentation. Moreover, prior to every hearing, Attorney Gilman will have conducted either a telephone conference or inperson conference to prepare his clients as to what they can expect to be asked. It is Attorney Gilman's goal that their be no surprises for his clients.

    4. The Decision

    After the hearing is concluded, you will not know the decision of the Board. The Board will vote in private at the conclusion of all the hearings whether to grant any relief or not. The decision can take anywhere from 7 to 15 or even more days to be received and processed.

    If your license is or will be suspended you need a lawyer in your corner who understands not only how the license suspension process works but how to get you the best relief possible.  Attorney Gilman has successfully represented hundreds of clients from all across the United States at the Board of Appeals. Contact Attorney Gilman today for a Free Case Evaluation.

  • What is a Hardship License

    Everyday the Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles (RMV) sends out countless license suspension notices. Most notices only provide you with the start date and length of the suspension and vague one setence reason for the suspension.  The notices are bare and do not provide you with anyguidance or information. There are a large number of ways that the Registry can suspend your driving privileges. In fact, you may not even be a Massachusetts Resident or License Holder and the Registry can suspend your privilege to operate in Massachusetts. 

    Depending on the reason for your license suspension you may be eliglbe to apply for a Hardship License at the Registry of Motor Vehicles. The Registry only grants relief for individuals suspended for Operating Under the Influnce (first and second offenses) and those suspended as Habititual Traffic Offenders. The Division of Insurance Board of Appeals has much more authority and can grant hardship relief for just about any type of suspension. The Board at this time will not consider granting hardship relief for Chemical Test Refusal (breathalyzer test refusal) suspensions. 

    Whether you are eligible at the Registry or the Board depends a number of factors, such as:

    • Type of Suspension;
    • Length of Suspension;
    • How time has been served; and
    • Is there any evidence that you have operated a vehicle during the suspension period.

    In general a hardship license is license that can be used for any purpose seven days a week but is limited to just twelve (12) hours a day. Most people think of a hardship license as a work license, but once the license is granted, it can be used for any purpose. The most common grounds that a hardship license is granted is for employment, medical and family raising purposes. Attorney Gilman guides his clients through the process to ensure they obtain all the necessary to show the need for the hardship relief.

    If your license or right to operate is suspended, please contact Attorney Gilman for a free case review and consultation. After your free consultations you will have all the answers to your questions and know exactly what steps must be taken in order to get your license and driving privileges reinstated. Having a former hearing officer review your case will ensure you get truthful answers and advice.