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Frequently asked questions about obtaining a hardship license

If your license has been suspended following an OUI/DUI arrest or legal proceeding related to an OUI charge, one of your first questions may be "how will I get to work?" Life doesn't stop when your license is suspended; you still have obligations like work, school or medical treatment that require you to be able to drive.

In Massachusetts, you may be able to obtain a hardship license (a.k.a. Cinderella license, work license, restricted license or limited license). This type of license makes it possible to drive for a specific reason and under strict time limitations. It is important to know that a hardship license is not available to everyone; there are certain eligibility requirements that must be met. This piece discusses some frequently asked questions associated with getting a hardship license.

How quickly can I obtain a hardship license?

You cannot get a hardship license immediately after your license has been suspended. In fact, you have to wait until your case has settled or you have pled guilty. Note, getting a restricted license more quickly is NEVER a reason to enter a guilty plea if you in fact are not.

What steps do I need to take to obtain a hardship license?

To apply for a hardship license you must have a hearing with the Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles (RMV), where you must provide required documentation and meet certain criteria. The required documents are as follows:

  • A formal letter from your employer that confirms you are an employee and states your scheduled working hours.
  • Maps detailing your diving route to work and proof that it is not accessible by public transportation.
  • Proof of enrollment in an educational program and proof of attendance.
  • Documentation that demonstrates you are self-employed.
  • Documentation supporting your medical treatment, such as letters from your doctor, mental health therapist, substance abuse counselor or probation officer.

Remember licenses are granted at the discretion of the RMV.

When can I drive under a hardship license?

The time period depends on your work or school hours, or scheduled medical treatments. This information should be recorded in your documentation. The hardship license will be valid seven days a week at the same 12 hour consecutive time period daily. For example, if you start work at 8am your hardship license would be valid from 8am-8pm daily.

How much will I have to pay for a hardship license?

The amount you will pay will depend on how many OUI's you have had. After your first OUI offence, the charge is $500, after your second, it is $700 and after your third, it is $1,000. At the end of your license suspension period, you will be charged a license reinstatement fee regardless if you have a hardship license hearing or not.

Do I need an attorney for a RMV hearing?

It is not a requirement, but you would be wise to have experienced legal representation to look out for your rights at the hearing. An attorney can help you present a convincing case to the registry to support your application for a hardship license.

If you have any questions about how to obtain a hardship license or regarding your OUI charges, contact Attorney Anthony M. Salerno at 866-678-4732 to explain your options and start protecting your rights.

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Anthony M. Salerno, P.C.
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