Getting a drunk driving conviction comes with a lot of consequences. This includes fines, potential jail time, and probation agreements. In Massachusetts, first offense OUIs will revoke your license for one year, and each repeat offense will extend that time.

License revocation can cause some people to experience extreme hardship because of their inability to drive themselves to work or school. For these people, there might be an answer: a hardship license.

What is a hardship license?

A hardship license is given to people who have had their license revoked, but who experience severe difficulties from not being able to drive. A hardship license is a temporary driver’s license which allows the owner to drive within a 12-hour period daily, to drive yourself to work, school or other scheduled engagements like medical treatments.

How does someone get a hardship license?

You can apply for a hardship license three months after your license is revoked. You must attend a hearing with the Registry of Motor Vehicles (RMV) to review your circumstances and see if you qualify to obtain a hardship license. Here are some criteria that applicants must meet:

  • There must be no evidence of any vehicle operation since the date of the license suspension.
  • You must have program documentation of entry or enrollment in the 9024D Program, or an equivalent program assigned by the court in the terms of your probation.
  • You must have documentation of a hardship. You must provide a letter from your employer that states your need for a hardship license and your work hours.
    • If you are applying for a hardship license for education or medical treatments, you need to provide some third party documentation of this need.
  • You must provide proof regarding the availability – or lack of availability – of public transportation.

During your hearing with the RMV, the board will decide if your circumstances qualify you for a hardship license. If you are approved to receive one, an interlock device will need to be installed in your vehicle and paperwork will need to be processed before your RMV license will go into effect.

Losing your driver’s license because of an OUI can cause serious hardship. If you find yourself struggling to maintain your professional or academic life because of your inability to transport yourself, a hardship license might be the answer.