On this page, you can find information about the suspension hearings and appeals processes.
- This page, Suspension hearings information, is offered by
- Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles
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.
Key Actions for What is a suspension hearing?
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 must visit the Online Service Center, select Reservations and select Make or Cancel a Hearing Reservation. No walk-ins will be allowed.
At this time chemical test refusal hearings cannot be scheduled via the internet and requires an in-person visit to the Haymarket (Boston) Service Center. You must report to the Haymarket (Boston) RMV Service Center to begin this process.
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. If represented by counsel, an Appearance of Counsel form must be submitted.
- Please ensure you have uploaded all of your supporting documentation when you have scheduled your hearing. Check what documentation you'll need for your hearing, as it varies depending on the type of suspension.
- Chemical test refusal hearings can only be started by visiting the Boston/Haymarket RMV.
On the day of your hearing:
You will receive a call for your hearing within one hour time of your scheduled hearing. (For example: 9am appointments will receive a call between 9-10am). Please ensure your cell phone provider allows you to receive calls from blocked or unknown telephone numbers. The Hearings Officer will make 3 attempts to contact you if you receive a missed call.
- When scheduling your telephonic hearing you will complete a Hearing Application form.
- Make sure your application has been fully completed and all supporting documents have been uploaded.
- 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 857-368-8200 to provide payment over the phone.
- Visit an RMV Service Center for counter service.
Key Actions for Understanding the RMV's hearing process
Additional Resources for Understanding the RMV's hearing process
Hearings sites and schedules
Customers must visit the Online Service Center, select Reservations and select Make or Cancel a Hearing Reservation. No walk-ins will be allowed.
At this time chemical test refusal hearings cannot be scheduled via the internet and requires an in-person visit to the Haymarket (Boston) Service Center.
Hearing length varies with the type of suspension and severity of the offenses.
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.