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The state of driver's license revocation

Certain violations of Massachusetts’s laws might lead to an individual losing the right to drive. With the deleterious economic and social ramifications of losing a license taken into consideration, most drivers choose to pursue a conditional license.

It bears mentioning that not all license suspension is the result of penalties for DWI conviction or traffic violation. A nationwide report published by the Legal Aid Justice Center shows the prevalence of laws that delineate license revocation as a penalty for being in arrears on court fees. While Massachusetts has a relatively generous policy regarding this condition, inasmuch that the state allows an extended payment period and only penalizes drivers for debts related to motor vehicle offenses, this mandatory penalty might still prove harmful for individuals whose ability to drive is a prerequisite for the fulfillment of personal and professional obligations. 

Debt is not the most common cause of license revocation. For most of the typical precipitants of license loss, the state has a system in place for conditional reinstatement of driving rights. As stated on the official Massachusetts website, there are several sets of criteria one must fulfill to obtain a hardship license. The categories differ based on the offense in question:

  • Repeated traffic offenses
  • OUI offenses
  • Drug crimes

Along with the different criteria, these conditional licenses also carry specific requirements appropriate to the related offense. For example, the court adds automatic starter lock restrictions to hardship licenses issued to individuals convicted of multiple OUI violations. These licenses are issued and maintained at the discretion of the court, and only after the licensee meets specific conditions. The criteria differ significantly from one case to the next, and are based on the nature of the offense leading to the initial suspension.

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