Immediate Threat License Suspension in Massachusetts: How do I appeal the suspension?

What You Need to Know to Get Your License Back

The Registry can suspend or revoke a driver's license indefinitely if they receive information that the driver's continued operation of a motor vehicle creates an immediate threat to public safety.

The two most common reasons people receive immediate threat suspensions are:

1. A police officer observed a car accident where you were at fault and they suspect drugs or alcohol may have been involved.

2. A physician has formed the opinion that you have a medical condition which makes it unsafe for


Under Massachusetts law a driver will have their license suspended indefinitely if they "Commit a violation of the motor vehicle laws of a nature which would give the registrar reason to believe that continuing operation by such holder is and will be so seriously improper as to constitute an immediate threat to the public safety? M.G.L. c. 90 Sec. 22(a).

A hardship or "Cinderella" license is not avail-able for drivers who have an immediate threat suspension. The reason that hardships are denied for this type of suspension is because e Registry has determined that any operation by the driver poses an immediate threat to the public.


The first step is to consult with an attorney who handles cases before the RMV and Board of appeals to discuss your specific case.

Next you will have to appear before the RMV to appeal the suspension. If you have a pending court case connected to the suspension, the RMV will not rule on your appeal. They will advise you to come back after your court case is resolved. They will however give you the phone number to a treatent program and information regarding a driver retraining course. It is important to enroll in these programs as soon as possible. This will increase your chances of a favorable ruling should you appeal he RMVs decision to the Board of Appeals.

You do not have to wait until your case is resolved in court. You can appeal to the Board of appeals after you appear at the RMV. The process involves sending an appeal form and fee to the Board and requesting a hearing date. Your hearing will typically be scheduled at one of the Board locations in approximately one month. Your attorney will advise you to complete any treatment programs suggested y the RMV. Additionally, your attorney will prepare a memorandum of law stating why you should ave your license reinstated.


When you appear before the Board be aware the process is being recorded. The Board will address you first and explain the process. They will notify you that they have the authority to overturn the RMVs decision, uphold the decision or hold the matter open for a period of time so that you can come back.

You will be seated at a table before the Board. A representative will be seated at another table. The representative from the RMV will speak first. They will outline the facts that lead to your suspension, if there is a police report they will read from that. They will then tell the Board if you have appeared at the RMV and what decision the RMV made. Next they will tell the Board about your overall driving record. Lastly, they will make an argument explaining why the Board should uphold your suspension.

You will then be given the opportunity to present evidence on your behalf including letters from treatment programs or therapists and you may present witnesses. If you have an attorney representing you they will argue on your behalf and explain to the Board that you are not an "immediate threat to public safety" and that your license should be restored.

The Board may ask you questions about how the incident occurred and what steps you have taken to remedy any underlying issues. This is an important part of the hearing and it is recommended that you have an attorney with you who understands what type of information the Board is looking for.


The Board of Appeals has the authority to modify or over turn most RMV decisions. They can also choose not to act on your appeal and ask you to come back after a certain period of time. The Board will hold a matter open when they believe that not enough time has passed between the suspension and the appeal or when they want to offer you more time to file paper work or complete driving or treatment programs.

The Board will not make a decision on the date of your hearing. They will mail you the decision later that week. If you are still unsatisfied with the Board's decision you must appeal to the Superior Court within thirty days.

The attorneys at DelSignore Law have experience before the Board and have been able to successfully overturn many immediate threat suspensions. If you have questions about your specific case contact us at 781-686-5924.

For more reading on the Board of Appeals click on our page How do you Appeal a License Suspension before the Board of Appeals?