Home > Hardship License Eligibility & Requirements


Attending a Registry of Motor Vehicles hearing can be a frustrating process because of the discretion of the hearings officer and the multitude of requirements and protocols that must be followed by the hearings officer. Strategy is very much involved in obtaining a hardship license. This is your license and livelihood we are talking about, there is no room for error. The Registry is not going to just issue you a hardship license because you are a nice person, have a family and bills. They have rules and requirements they must follow.

IMPORTANT NOTE: The information below is not legal advice, it is merely an overview of the hardship license process. Knowing this information is not going to get you a hardship license, you need to know how to apply the information.


If you have made the difficult decision to plea to your operating under the influence (OUI, DUI, DWI) case or you went to trial and were found Guilty it is likely you received one year probation with a 45 day loss of license and an alcohol program (so called “24D” or “first offenders program.”)

Note that any suspension received does not run concurrent with your 180 day breath test refusal suspension. If you submitted to the breath test and blew above a .08 then your 30 day suspension will automatically terminate upon you admission or guilty finding.


In order to receive a hardship license, you must wait 3 business days from the date of your admission or guilty finding. The registry requires a lot of documents in order to get your hardship license, including but not limited to the following:

These letters often times need to dovetail each other. The content of these letters is critically important. If these letters do not contain the necessary information, YOU WILL GET DENIED. Moreover, these letters can often be problematic in obtaining, especially if you do not want to inform your employer of your recent problem for fear of losing your job. This can be overcome, you just need to know how. Also, sometimes the 24D programs can present a problem. Again, your approach in dealing with these programs is important.


Under recent changes of Melanie’s Bill both the time period for eligibility and the requirements have changed for a hardship license. The minimum time period for hardship eligibility for a work license is one year and for a general hardship for 18 months. You are not eligible any time before the 1 year, do not let anyone tell you differently; you are getting bad information if you are being told this.

This is especially problematic for people who received a second offender disposition before the enactment of Melanie’s Bill on October 28, 2005. For instance, lets assume that you received a second offender sentence in September 2005. At that time you were probably told that you are eligible in 6 months for a work license, which was accurate at the time. However, this was changed under Melanie’s Bill to 1 year. You are not grandfathered into the 6 month period. If you fall into this category, it is worth your time and money to fight this and file an appeal with the Board of Appeals.

Also, keep in mind that refusal and conviction suspension do not run concurrent. What does this mean. Lets say, you get a three (3) year refusal suspension and then plead or are found guilty of a second offense and receive a two (2) year conviction suspension. The two (2) year conviction suspension will not start to run until the end of your three (3) refusal suspension, and then you have to wait one (1) year to be eligible.