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Driver’s License Suspension-Multiple Offense OUI Hardship License Criteria

This blog will focus on the suspension of a driver’s license due to a chemical (breathalyzer) test refusal and potential hardship license reinstatement. Massachusetts is an implied consent state, meaning that if you are arrested for an OUI, you are deemed to have consented to taking the breathalyzer test. If you choose to refuse taking the test, there is an administrative penalty by the RMV in the form of a license suspension. This blog will not touch on the topic of whether you should take or refuse to take a breathalyzer test. That topic will be discussed at a later date.

If you are over the age of 21 years and fail a breathalyzer test, your driver’s license will be suspended for 30 days in accordance with Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 90 Section 24(1)(f)(2). A failed breathalyzer test occurs when an individual registers a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08% or higher. In this case your license will be suspended immediately. The RMV does not need to provide you with notice. You have the right to appeal this suspension to the district court. You cannot appeal the suspension to the RMV.

Once again, Massachusetts is an implied consent state. If you are arrested for OUI and refuse the breathalyzer test the arresting officer will immediately take possession of your license and will notify the RMV. Please note that refusing to take a breathalyzer test is not a criminal offense. However, consenting to a breathalyzer test is a statutory requirement. Refusal leads to an automatic suspension by the RMV without any further notice. The length of the suspension is based upon your prior history.

For a driver over the age of 21 years the suspension periods are as follows for refusing to take the breathalyzer test:

Number of Prior OUIs Suspension Length

No Prior OUIs 180 Days

One Prior OUI Three Years

Two Prior OUIs Five Years

Three or more Prior OUIs Lifetime Suspension

If your OUI case leads to a dismissal or a not guilty disposition, you are not automatically entitled to reinstatement of your suspended license. A motion must be filed by your attorney with the court requesting the license reinstatement. The court disposition does not lead to an automatic reinstatement, and thus a judge retains control on whether to allow the license suspension to be dismissed.

Your license can also be suspended based upon any prior OUI convictions. Your entire driving history and OUI history is taken into account by the RMV when determining a suspension based upon OUI convictions. Part of the criteria taken into account includes the number of Driver Alcohol Education Program assignments you have participated in, and OUI convictions that occurred in other states.

The suspension period for OUI convictions is summarized as follows:

Number of Offense Suspension Length Requirement for Reinstatement

First OUI Offense: Guilty-One Year Suspension

Second OUI Offense: Two Years Pass learner’s permit and road test. Ignition Interlock Device placed in vehicle

Third OUI Offense: Eight Years; Pass learner’s permit and road test. Ignition Interlock Device placed in vehicle

Fourth OUI Offense: Ten years; Pass learner’s permit and road test. Ignition Interlock Device placed in vehicle

Fifth OUI Offense: LIFE

The above table is based upon the number of OUI offenses. There are different calculations for different offenses. For example, the above table would not be applicable to a suspension due to an offense of operating a motor vehicle under the influence of alcohol while having a child 14 years or younger within the vehicle or an OUI offense for causing serious bodily injury.


After a predetermined amount of time following a license suspension you are eligible to request a hardship license from the RMV. There is no statutory guarantee that the RMV will reinstate your license prior to the suspension term lapsing. Suspended drivers are required to thoroughly document to the RMV a legitimate need for a limited license restoration. A hardship limited license will allow you to drive for a predetermined 12-hour interval every day for the remainder of the suspension period. It is likely that you will be required to have an Ignition Interlock Device installed within the vehicle.

There are numerous details and information requirements to request a hardship license. Some of these items include documenting a legitimate hardship by providing a signed letter from an employer stating the applicant’s hardship and hours worked. If the applicant is self-employed, the applicant must provide adequate proof of self-employment such as a professional license, or prior tax returns. The applicant must be in compliance with probation. The applicant must provide proof of completion of an alcohol treatment program. For a second OUI offense such a program is a two-week in-house program, for a third or fourth offense this is a 90-day in-house program. Additionally, the applicant needs to provide sufficient evidence that public transportation is either unavailable or significantly limited to the hardship need.

The minimum amount of time that must be served for hardship consideration concerning multiple offense OUIs are:

Length of Suspension Work/Education Hardship General Hardship

One year: Three months into revocation; 6 months into revocation

Two years: One year into revocation; 18 months into revocation

Eight years: Two years into revocation; Four years into revocation

Ten Years: Five years into revocation; Eight years into revocation

Please note that even if an applicant satisfies all of the requirements for a hardship license, issuance of a hardship license is granted at the reasonable discretion of the RMV. All the facts and circumstances of the applicant’s driving history and case are taken into account.


If you have had your driver’s license suspended and are facing a hardship concerning getting to work or to school contact Lake Shore Legal for legal assistance. Our attorneys can explain the reinstatement process and the RMV requirements. (508) 943-7800aw

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