MA Hardship And Cinderella Licenses

The MA Registry of Motor Vehicles (RMV) is authorized to give hardship or “Cinderella” licenses to drivers who have had their driving privileges suspended due to a drug offense, an OUI/DUI offense, or a Habitual Traffic Offender sanction.

The main difference in terms of a “hardship” v. a “Cinderella” license is that the latter provides for limited driving privileges for the purposes of getting to and from alcohol and medical treatments and/or regularly scheduled doctor’s appointments. This is generally reserved for MA drivers who have been suspended but are either retired or unemployed. The RMV classifies Cinderella privileges as “general hardship.”

Either way, suspended drivers are required to thoroughly document to the RMV a legitimate and recurring need for limited license restoration. Additionally, all applicants must now show sufficient evidence that public transportation is either unavailable or significantly limited to their hardship needs.

If approved, your hardship limited license will allow you to drive for predetermined 12 hour intervals every day for the remainder of your suspension period. Multiple offenders, including “second-chance 24D” diversions will be required to drive with the Ignition Interlock Device on all vehicles they operate for an additional restricted period after their initial suspension.

Eligibility Timelines for Hardship | Cinderella Applications

Massachusetts drivers who have been suspended as a result of a DUI action or conviction must wait until a specified amount of suspension time has been served before they are eligible to apply for a hardship / Cinderella license. The following table illustrates these timeframes.

Wait Times before You Can Apply for a Hardship License

First Ever/24D | Prior DUIsLength of SuspensionWork or Education Hardship LicenseGeneral Hardship (Cinderella) License
First-time 24D45 – 90 daysAlmost ImmediatelySame
First DUI–No 24D1 yearAfter 3 monthsAfter 6 months
Second DUI–No 24D2 yearsAfter 1 yearAfter 18 months
Third DUI8 yearsAfter 2 yearsAfter 4 years
Fourth DUI10 yearsAfter 5 yearsAfter 8 years
Fifth +LifetimeN/AN/A

Melanie’s Law

The commonwealth has adopted an enhanced set of OUI – DUI punishments under what’s known as “Melanie’s Law.” Any driver with a second or subsequent operating under the influence offense who is eligible for a hardship license or for license reinstatement will be required to have an Ignition Interlock Device attached to any vehicle the driver owns, leases, or operates (including an employer’s vehicle) at the driver’s expense.

In addition, the enhanced penalties for DUI and alcohol related suspensions also require drivers to maintain the IID for another 2 year period after the initial suspension, known as the “Z” license restriction.

If you need answers for any MA OUI / Hardship License related matter, please call or contact our law firm for a free no-obligation consultation today.

Attorney Gregory Oberhauser

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Gregory Oberhauser is the ONLY attorney in Massachusetts to be distinguished as an ACS-CHAL Forensic Lawyer-Scientist by the American Chemical Society!

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