Common Questions and Answers
What is a Hardship License?
A hardship license (also know as a work license, limited license, “Cinderella license,” or day license) is a license that limits the individual's driving to 12 hours a day for going to and from work. It is allowed for those with revoked licenses due to a conviction or dispensation related to operating a vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or drugs, and other driving-related offenses in Massachusetts. The Massachusetts RMV (Registry of Motor Vehicles) requires a suspension period before a person can apply for a hardship license. This time period can vary depending on why the person was suspended.
Can I Get a Hardship License or Work License?
A person needs to complete a hardship license application and needs to provide the required documentation and other paperwork demonstrating that the individual is eligible for the license, and then the individual is subject to a hearing in front of a Registry Hearings Officer. The hearing officers then determines if a Massachusetts hardship license should be granted, based on a number of factors, depending on whether the matter involved OUI offenses, drug offenses, or if the person is a Habitual Traffic Offender. An experienced Massachusetts OUI attorney representing you at an RMV hearing will be of help in obtaining a hardship license. Don’t go it alone. Contact us for a free consultation on how we can assist you in securing a Hardship License.
If I refuse to take a Breathalyzer test, what are the penalties and what happens?
In Massachusetts, if you refuse a breath or blood test your license will be suspended for 180 days for the first offense, three (3) years for a second offense, five (5) years for a third offense, and lifetime suspension for a fourth (4th) offense. The police department arresting you will confiscate your Massachusetts Drivers License at the scene of the arrest, and issue you a 15-day temporary license, unless your license is from a state other than Massachusetts. The 15-day period will commence 12 hours after your arrest.
Can I get a work license after the 15-day temporary license has expired?
No. A person who refuses or fails a breath test is not eligible for a work license. Under some circumstances, if you can get enrolled in the First Offender “24D Program,” there is a possibility you may receive a hardship license. Absent this, however, the answer is no. Once your refusal suspension has expired, you are eligible to get your full license back for a reinstatement fee (see below) regardless of whether your case is till pending in court.
If I take the breath (or blood) test and I fail it, what happens then?
If you fail the test, your license will be suspended for thirty (30) days, regardless of prior offenses.
Will I have a criminal record?
After arraignment, the offense will be part of your permanent record. Of course, if you contest the charges and are acquitted (win) your record will state either "Not Guilty" or "Dismissal," and, should you have future criminal proceedings, this incident cannot be used against you.
What is a First Offender or “24D Program”?
It is an alternative sentencing disposition, only possible for persons charged with a First Offense. It consists of a 16-week alcohol education program, paid for by the defendant (approximately $600.00).
What is a “CWOF”?
This is a plea, and stands for “Continued Without A Finding”. This plea is not an admission of guilt, but it doesn’t necessarily deny that the person is guilty, either. This plea is used at times for a person's first offense, or perhaps if the prosecution feels they may lose, should the case go to trial. A CWOF is not a conviction, but the court will “continue” the case for a fixed time period, followed by dismissal of the case. However, a CWOF can be used as a first offense, in cases of DUI / OUI. In cases such as this, an additional offense will be considered a second offense, and will be accompanied by additional penalties.
If I decide to go to trial, will I have to take the stand and testify?
No. It is your constitutional right to refuse to be a witness against yourself. More so, we rarely advise our clients to take the stand, as we are usually able to create reasonable doubt in the prosecution’s case.
By now you can see, the laws governing DUI / OUI in Massachusetts are very complex and can be difficult to understand. The above information should answer your initial concerns and questions, but we’re sure you have more. If you or someone you know has been arrested for DUI / OUI, contact us for a free consultation. Many of your questions can only be answered once we know the particular facts surrounding your situation and arrest. We can help you get your life back together, or at least minimize the damage involved from this event.