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

In this video, Attorney DelSignore explains how to get your license back after you receive a notice of an immediate threat license suspension in Massachusetts.

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.

Read some of our case results from the Board of Appeals:

License Reinstated at Board of Appeals

In this case, my client had her license suspended for three years after refusing a breath test on an OUI second arrest. She was found not guilty of the OUI charge after trial but the RMV would not reinstate her license right away. Attorney Gaudreau appealed the suspension to the Board of Appeals and made a successful argument which resulted in the client getting her full license back.

Client's license Reinstated after Immediate threat suspension-

In this case our client was involved in a motor vehicle accident and told the responding police officer that he had smoked marijuana earlier in the day. His license was subsequently suspended. Attorney Gaudreau was advised the defendant to provide clean screens before going to the board of appeals. Following her instruction, the client was able to produce clean drug tests and Attorney Gaudreau used these screens to show the board that the client was sober and not a threat on the roads. During the hearing, Attorney Gaudreau also emphasized the clients fairly good driving record. After the hearing, the Board ordered to restore the defendants license in its entirety.

Client with a Negligent Operation Charge successfully gains hardship license at the Board of Appeals

In this case, our client had been found guilty of a negligent operation charge after being involved in a motor accident. The RMV would not grant the client a hardship on this offense. Attorney Gaudreau appealed the suspension to the Board of appeals and argued that the client had no other driving charges on his record and that he needed his license to continue working and providing for his family. After hearing client was granted a hardship license, which allows the defendant to get to and from work as needed!


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?

License suspension due to an immediate threat overturned at the Board of Appeals

In this case, the client was involved in a motor vehicle crash which resulted in an OUI charge. Attorney Gaudreau attended the board of appeals hearing alongside the client in Marlborough, where she made an argument that the client had a history of safe driving and does not have a criminal record. Subsequently, the clients license was reinstated with no conditions, as Attoney Gaudreau’s arguments showed the RMV that the client is a responsible motorist in Massachusetts.

Client has license reinstated during the pendency of his case

Attorney Julie Gaudreau attended the clients board of appeals hearing, where she made an argument that the RMV reinstate the clients license while his case is pending in court. Attorney Gaudreau was successfully have the clients license reinstated with the condition that he use an ignition interlock device in his vehicle.

Client’s license reinstated at the Plymouth Board of Appeals

The police officers, in this case, claimed to observe erratic driving by our client, and the client made a statement to officers that he consumed some marijuana earlier in the day. Attorney Gaudreau utilized physician’s letters of recommendation and the clients clean driving record to show the Board of Appeals that he is not a safety concern on the roads. The client had his full license restored.

Client Reviews
Michael was very professional and explained the process clearly and told us to be patient. After one year the charges got dismissed in the trial. Excellent knowledge of the court systems in the area of Boston. Would highly recommend him Ashwani
A careless decision on my part left me facing charges which would have severely hampered my ability to stay employed and support myself. But attorney DelSignore's skillful analysis and challenging of the evidence against me resulted in a conviction on a lesser charge. Now I'll be able to go on with my life, having learned a lesson I'll never forget. Thank you, Michael. Scott
Mike stuck with my case for 3.5 years and always kept me informed regarding the status. Ultimately, because of his due diligence, we ended up with an OUI not guilty verdict. This case could have gone many ways but his thorough review of the case and exceptional preparedness for trial ultimately drove a positive outcome. Thank you Mike! David
Michael DelSignore did an amazing job with my case! Either him or his partner Julie was always available to answer any questions I had and helped walked me through the entire process. I could not have done it without them! I highly recommend choosing this law firm to deal with your legal needs, you will not be dissatisfied. Ashley
I cannot express the gratitude towards both Michael and Julie for their amazing work and help. It was a very stressful event and they certainly put me at as much ease as possible. From start to finish it took 14 months and all the way through they were both very engaged with me. Today was worth the wait, Michael was great in court and I was rightfully found not guilty. I would recommend Michael and Julie over and over again. Claire