Guide Suspension hearings information

On this page, you can find information about the suspension hearings and appeals processes.

Table of Contents

What is a suspension hearing?

The RMV conducts approximately 1000 suspension hearings per week.

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

The suspension hearing process has changed during the pandemic. Please click here for process.

Prepare to:

  • 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
  • If you are applying for a limited (hardship) license, we recommend that you arrive at the RMV no later than 3:00 p.m.
  • Chemical test refusal hearings are only held at the Boston/Haymarket RMV

On the day of the hearing:

  • You will be given an application to complete when you arrive at the RMV
    • Make sure your application has been fully completed
    • Place the application in the designated Hearings Office Mailbox
    • The Hearing’s Officer will collect the applications submitted. The Hearing’s Officer will verify the accuracy of the suspension and review the application in advance of your hearing. 
    • The applications are numbered.  However, you will be called by name so please listen carefully!
  • Your hearing may require specific documentation
    • The Hearing’s 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.
    • As a result, customers may be called out of order. Please be patient if you see a customer being called ahead of you. 
  • Be prepared with all documentation that you want to present at the hearing
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. 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 which outlines the acceptable forms of lawful presence documentation.
Wait times
  • It is not possible to accurately predict your wait time. Please note that some hearings take longer than others due to the many complex issues that can affect the suspension of a license or vehicle registration. 
Cell Phones
  • In order to serve you better, we ask that you please silence your phone and any other electronic device during your hearing

Key Actions for Understanding the RMV's hearing process

Hearings sites and schedules

Only 9 RMV locations conduct suspension hearings.

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

You have 10 days to 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:

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.

    Additional Resources for Appeal a ruling or decision of the RMV