Can I Get A Hardship License For A First Offense OUI Or DUI Charge In Massachusetts?
In Massachusetts, it is possible to get a hardship license for a first offense OUI or DUI charge. The collateral consequences for an OUI are the hardest part. A hardship license, also referred to as a Cinderella license, is available for first time OUI or DUI offenders. You can only get a hardship license after the case has ended. You will need some kind of disposition, whether it be a plea or after going to trial if you won or lost. A hardship license is done through the Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles (RMV). The court has nothing to do with it. That’s why the collateral consequences of an OUI are complicated. The RMV is an entirely separate entity with their own rules. They do whatever they want with very little input from the court. The only hardship that Massachusetts recognizes is a job. Being a student or having a family member that needs to be taken care of does not matter. Therefore, in order to get a hardship license, you need to be employed and working. You cannot take public transit to get to work, and so, you need to drive to get to your job.
You pay the RMV $500 to secure the hardship license. You have to see a hearings officer at the RMV, but only select RMV locations can do it because only certain locations have hearings officers. You need to present some paperwork showing that you have signed up for a portion of your probation, the 24D program, which is an alcohol education course. You also need a letter from your employer. Many forget to include it, or purposefully don’t include it because they do not want their employer to know they have an OUI charge. Technically, the letter has to be written from a supervisor. Those are the requirements to get a hardship license in Massachusetts. The license is good for a 12-hour period of your choosing. It must be from hour to hour. For instance, it cannot be from 2:30 p.m. to 2:30 a.m., it must be from 2:00 p.m. to 2:00 a.m. Once you set it, it cannot be changed. The hardship license can carry you through any license suspension period you may be serving, and it will be good through that period.
It is incredibly important to note that it’s a Cinderella license. Your car turns into a pumpkin after the period is up. If you get caught driving after that period ends, that is a crime. You’ll go straight to jail. Operating on a suspended license after OUI is an automatic required jail sentence. Therefore, I always tell my clients to think things through when asking for their time period because it cannot be changed. You have to make sure you have enough time to get home. For example, if you choose 5:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., but you’re in the middle of the highway at 5 o’clock after leaving work at 4:30 p.m., you’ll have to pull over and call for a ride. You cannot be driving once it’s 5 o’clock.
What Is A CWOF In Massachusetts? What Does That Stand For? Is This A Good Deal On A First Offense OUI Or DUI Charge?
A CWOF is a Continuance Without a Finding. When it comes to the hierarchy of available dispositions in a criminal case, a CWOF is usually good, but call us for a consultation about how it will affect your specific circumstances. It requires the defendant to admit guilt to the charge of the crime he or she is being charged with. The court will accept a plea to sufficient facts of guilt, but they will not find the defendant guilty. Instead, they will put the defendant on probation. If they successfully complete probation, which is around one year, pay the fees and fines, and complete the alcohol education course, rather than having a guilty verdict on record at the end of 12 months, the case will be dismissed.
This is very important for the purposes of looking for a job or applying for school. That question always comes up: “Have you ever been convicted of a crime.” A CWOF or a Continuance Without a Finding allows a person to say, “No. I have not been convicted.” As far as a first offense OUI charge goes, it is a good result. It is a common result for a first offense if the person does not have any other criminal charges on their criminal history. It is an excellent way to preserve someone’s criminal record. It prevents them from getting their first guilty, which is quite damaging to someone’s history. A CWOF protects you from that kind of damaging consequence.
For more information on OUI Charges In Massachusetts, an initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (617) 718-5550 today.
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