On this page, you can find information about the suspension hearings and appeals processes.
Guide Suspension hearings information
Table of Contents
What is a suspension hearing?
If your driver's license, learner's permit, vehicle registration, or right to operate is suspended or revoked, you can seek a Registry of Motor Vehicles (RMV) hearing at certain RMV Service Centers to appeal your suspension of revocation.
The RMV conducts suspension/revocation hearings for the following:
- Alcohol or Drug Suspensions
- Ignition Interlock Device Installation or Removal
- Chemical Test Refusals
- Junior Operator Suspensions
- Accumulation of Offenses Suspensions
- Out-of-State Suspensions
- Public Safety Suspensions/Complaints
- Fatal Motor Vehicle Suspensions
- Outstanding Obligation Suspensions
- Court-Ordered Suspensions
- Property Damage Claims
- Commercial Driver's License Disqualifications
Find out more about these types of suspensions.
Understanding the RMV's hearing process
Due to the agency’s ongoing COVID-19 (coronavirus) response, suspension hearings will be conducted by telephone.
The RMV has implemented a new process in which customers have the ability to schedule a telephone hearing and upload supporting documentation. Customers can visit the Online Service Center and select Make or Cancel a Hearing Reservation under the Additional Services section.
Limited walk-in appointments will be available at select locations for customers without internet access to schedule their virtual hearings. These locations are Brockton, Fall River, Haymarket (Boston), Lawrence, Pittsfield, South Yarmouth, Springfield, and Worcester. They are available weekdays, Monday through Friday, from 9:00am to 4:30pm.
At this time, interlock violation hearings, applications for removal of an interlock device, and chemical test refusal hearings cannot be scheduled via the internet and require an in-person visit to the Haymarket (Boston) Service Center.
You must report to a designated RMV Service Center to begin this process. You are limited to one hearing on a particular suspension or revocation. You have the right to be represented by counsel or by any other responsible adult, but the applicant must accompany the representative at the time of the hearing. Please note that the RMV does not provide copy service. Have your copies ready ahead of time. Original documents will NOT be returned. During your hearing, it will be discussed whether further documents are required, and how to return those to us. For a list of Hearing locations, refer to the RMV Service Center section above.
- Bring all necessary documents with you to your hearing. Check what documentation you'll need for your hearing, as it varies depending on the type of suspension.
- Arrive as early as possible and allow extra time
- Chemical test refusal hearings are only held at the Boston/Haymarket RMV.
On the day of your hearing:
While in line, you will be provided with an entry ticket based on a first come, first served basis. If you do not receive an entry ticket, then there may be more hearings in the afternoon, and it is your option to return to register to speak by phone with a Hearing Officer.
- Upon arrival, you will be provided a Hearing Application form for completion.
- Make sure your application has been fully completed and all copied documents added. The RMV does NOT provide copy service, so ensure that you have made copies for yourself.
- The RMV representative shall collect and retain your application and documents. You then exit the building.
- A Hearing Officer will receive the supplied application and review it in advance of your telephonic hearing.
- You do not need to be on RMV property for the telephonic hearing
- Your hearing may require specific documentation. The Hearings Officer may need to spend time researching and retrieving documentation as it relates to your case. In some cases, they will need to request documentation from another agency or organization and wait for the response, which takes time.
What do I need if my case is successful?
- If your case is successful, you may need to apply or re-apply for a driver’s license or learner’s permit at a Service Center. In both of these circumstances, you will need to prove lawful presence as part of the license reinstatement process. Please refer to the document checklist at mass.gov/id which outlines the acceptable forms of lawful presence documentation.
- It is not possible to accurately predict your wait time. Some hearings take longer than others due to the many complex issues that can affect the suspension of a license or vehicle registration.
Payment of Fees:
- If the Hearing Officer determines that a fee is due, you have 3 options to make payment:
- Pay the fee online at Mass.Gov/RMV.
- Call the Contact Center at 857-368-8000 to provide payment over the phone.
- Visit an RMV Service Center for counter service.
Hearings sites and schedules
All suspension hearings are on a walk-in basis. You cannot make an appointment for a suspension/revocation hearing.
Hearing length varies with the type of suspension and severity of the offenses.
During periods of heavy customer volume, the hearing office may stop accepting walk-in customers.
Visit the RMV Service Center page below for hearing hours and days hearings are offered.
Appeal a ruling or decision of the RMV
If you disagree with the RMV’s decision, you can appeal that decision within 10 days to the Board of Appeals on Motor Vehicle Liability, Policies, and Bonds.
To appeal a ruling/decision, you will need to:
- Complete and mail the appeal a ruling/decision of the RMV form
- Pay the $50 appeal fee
- Appear in person for the hearing
The Board of Appeals hearings are scheduled in the order in which the appeal forms are received and according to the length of the suspension/revocation. There are no exceptions in order to be fair to all those filing appeals.
The following are instances where an appeal would be filed elsewhere other than with the Board of Appeals:
- Driver's license suspensions/revocations due to non-payment of child support must be appealed to the court where the child support order was issued
- Appeals of civil motor vehicle convictions (i.e., findings of "responsible") are available only through the court
- Driver's license suspensions/revocations for chemical test refusals must be appealed directly to the court where your operating under the influence case is being heard. You have 30 days from the date of the RMV decision to file such an appeal with the court. The operator must have appeared for an RMV hearing and cannot appear directly in the court.
Understanding the Board of Appeals hearing
The hearing is your opportunity to present information (testimony and/or documents) that you would like the board to consider when reviewing your appeal.
At the time of your hearing, your name will be called by the board and you will be asked to provide some basic information for identification purposes. Then a representative of the Registrar will:
- Present what action(s) the Registrar has taken regarding your license privileges
- Support the reason for the action. This presentation almost always includes the RMV's submission of your driving history record as maintained by the RMV.
After you and the board have heard the RMV's presentation you will have the opportunity to present your information to the board.