The Massachusetts Board of Appeal

The Division of Insurance of the Office of Consumer Affairs and Business Regulations has, as part of its structure, a board which hears appeals from decisions of the Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles. Known formally as the Board of Appeal on Motor Vehicle Liability Policies and Bonds, it is comprised of 3 members with the Registrar and Attorney General each designating one member, and the Commissioner of Insurance designating a member who serves as the Board’s Chairman.
Pursuant to G.L. c. 90 § 28, the Board of Appeal has the power to affirm, modify, or annul virtually any decision of the Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles. The Board exercises this power very carefully and responsibly. Board of Appeal hearings are recorded and witnesses testify under oath. The Board has subpoena power and it can order the production of books, papers, agreements, and documents. Anyone who testifies falsely in front of the Board can be prosecuted for perjury. The Board of Appeal can seek enforcement of its orders by the Massachusetts Courts.
Many who come before the Board have their licenses suspended or revoked and they are seeking a hardship license, which is a license valid for 12 hours each day which is issued for work, school, or educational purposes. When hearing hardship license appeals, the Board very carefully balances the appellant’s need to drive with any risk to public safety associated with granting the license. The Board makes a careful and detailed inquiry into each case and it is always mindful of the risks associated with granting a hardship license.
In order to succeed in a hardship license case, the appellant must present key information to convincingly address his or her need to drive as well as the likelihood of recidivism. To get a hardship license from the Board, the Appellant must prove that he or she has a compelling and legitimate need to drive, such that the lack of a license presents an extreme and severe hardship. Next, the appellant must prove that the causes of his or her past or present problems have been brought under control such that the lives and safety of the public would not be endangered by the issuance of a hardship license. There are many different ways which an appellant can make the evidentiary showing required to get a hardship license. Hiring an attorney who specializes in Board of Appeal cases can often make the difference between getting a hardship license or being forced to serve a long and painful license suspension.
To save money, many who come before the Board of Appeal try to represent themselves or they hire a lawyer who is not familiar with how the Board of Appeal operates. Either of these actions can result in the Board voting to affirm the Registry’s decision, without providing a re-apply date. This means that the appellant cannot appear before the Board of Appeal again without getting permission in advance and in most cases, he or she must serve out the license suspension. Trying it on your own in front of the Board often results in a loss with no viable chance of appeal to the courts.
The Board’s decisions can be appealed to Superior Court pursuant to G.L. c. 30A § 14, the Massachusetts Administrative Procedures Act. However, to succeed, the appellant must prove that the Board’s decision was unconstitutional, not supported by substantial evidence, exceeded the Board’s authority, was arbitrary or capricious, an abuse of discretion, or otherwise not in accordance with law. Given the tremendous discretion which the Board of Appeal has, it is next to impossible to win a superior court appeal of the Board’s denial of a hardship license. Therefore, for all intents and purposes, the Board’s decision regarding hardship licensing is final. It is for this reason that it is imperative to hire a lawyer who specializes in Massachusetts Board of Appeal cases. Trying to represent yourself or hiring the wrong lawyer may cost you your license.
In addition to hearing hardship license appeals, the Board of Appeal also hears other types of appeals from RMV decisions. For example, the Registry may have improperly suspended someone’s license or denied an applicant a driver’s license. The Board also hears appeals from inspection station owners who have had their inspection station licenses suspended. Many people have tried to unsuccessfully challenge the legal requirement to have an ignition interlock device in their vehicles. The Board summarily denies theses appeals, because the law requires the mandatory use of interlock devices for certain repeat offenders.
Most people are unaware of the Board of Appeal, its powers, and procedures. Most people only learn about the Board’s existence after being aggrieved by a decision of the Registry of Motor Vehicles. This lack of knowledge about the Board of Appeal and how it works may cause appellants to fail to adequately prepare their cases and not hire effective legal representation. These uninformed decisions can result in a negative outcome which is not easily reversed. The Board requires solid, credible, and properly presented evidence to support the requested action, whether it be the issuance of a hardship license or a reversal of a license suspension or revocation. By effectively presenting this type of evidence, you will dramatically increase your chances of getting back on the road legally.
Brian E. Simoneau is a Massachusetts Attorney who handles RMV matters including ignition interlock violations, suspended licenses, and hardship licenses. He represents clients before the Registry of Motor Vehicles and the Massachusetts Board of Appeal. He is a recognized expert on Ignition Interlock Law. Visit his website at

A Different Kind of Hero: Personal Injury and Criminal Defense Lawyers in the Movies

Personal injury and criminal defense lawyers sometimes get a bad rap in the media. However, with a justice system that is so often biased, unfair, and difficult for the average person to navigate, it’s no wonder that certain heroic legal characters have captured the imagination of millions as not-so-unlikely heroes in some of America’s most classic movies.
Atticus Fitch in To Kill a Mockingbird
There is perhaps no fictional attorney more revered than Atticus Finch. Gregory Peck’s portrayal of this notable father won the character the title of greatest hero in American film by the American Film Institute in 2003. Fitch’s defense of an innocent black character accused of raping a white woman in the Depression Era south made him a folk hero and a symbol for all who fight for justice in an often unfair world.
Rudy Baylor in The Rainmaker
Matt Damon plays the lead character in this film, which portrays the use of tort law to help bring justice to a family who has been mistreated by their insurance company. The insurance company denied a lifesaving treatment, a bone marrow transplant, to a boy dying of leukemia. Rudy files a personal injury case to protect the victim, whose life has been sacrificed in favor of millions of dollars of profit.
Martin Vail in Primal Fear
Played by Richard Gere, Martin Vail works for an altar boy accused of murdering a priest. Although at first Vail is only interested in the publicity the case may bring, he realizes that his client is truly innocent. He fights for justice against a system where the odds are stacked against those without political power.
Jan Schlichtmann in A Civil Action
In this film, which is based on a true story, Jan Schlichtmann (played by John Travolta) and his small firm of personal injury lawyers are presented with a case of groundwater contamination. Schlichtmann thinks of rejecting the case but decides to fight two giant corporations on this environmental and safety issue. While the deep pockets of the corporations make the odds insurmountable, the work that Schlichtmann does builds the foundation of the case the EPA brings against the companies, forcing them to bear responsibility for the cleanup of the land and groundwater.
Themes of David and Goliath
Many of these films draw inspiration from the tale of David and Goliath, which goes back thousands of years and has been told over and over in different forms. In modern cinema, this story is often told in an adapted form, where David is the average American, someone without extraordinary means or an extensive legal education, and Goliath is the court system, which often has unlimited money from corporations. The only way the little guys can fight this fight is with skilled, dedicated personal injury and criminal defense lawyers on their side.
Played by some of Hollywood’s most respected leading men, these movies’ personal injury and criminal defense lawyers use their knowledge and creativity against the sometimes flawed and biased system to bring justice to their clients.
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Do You Need a DUI Lawyer? What to Expect at an Arraignment

If you were charged with driving under the influence, you will likely be going through the arraignment process. There are several things you should know about an arraignment, including whether or not you need to speak to a DUI lawyer. Here are some questions you may have about the process:
Is Representation Required at an Arraignment?
Whether or not you have representation is typically up to you. A DUI lawyer is not required to be at arraignments, but they can be there if you already have one. If you arrive without an attorney, the judge will ask if you have one or if you need one assigned to you. This is the time when a public defender will be provided to help you with your case. Some states will not provide a public defender free of charge unless you fall under some strict financial guidelines. This is also the time to tell the judge that you want to defend yourself, if that is what you wish.
What Should the Plea Be?
You will be asked what your plea is during the arraignment. You can plead either guilty, not guilty, or no contest. Your DUI lawyer will likely advise you to plead not guilty so that you or your attorney has an opportunity to thoroughly examine your case. The courts will usually expect you to plead not guilty, especially if you live far from where the incident occurred.
When Will the Next Court Date Be?
The next court day will typically be determined by the judge. The purpose of the next appearance is to either decide if your case will go to trial or if you choose to work out a plea bargain. The judge, along with your attorney, will determine what is to happen at the next phase of your case. If you decide to plea bargain, your case could be settled soon after.
What Happens After the Arraignment?
What happens after the arraignment will be dependent upon what your intended plea will be as well the feelings of the judge. If you intend to plead not guilty, you may be asked why you think that you would win your case. The judge may want you to identify the reasons why you think you should not be found guilty. If you have arranged a plea bargain, the details of that would be ironed out and your sentence would be decided soon thereafter.
If you are expecting to go to court for driving under the influence, you need to know what all is expected from you. You may want to consult a DUI lawyer so that you will be thoroughly prepared for the entire process.
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When to Consult a Wrongful Death Lawyer – 3 Types of Damages You May Be Entitled To

If you will be filing a wrongful death lawsuit now or anytime soon, it is important that you know exactly what type of reparations you are entitled to. These damages will vary from state to state, and the amount owed to you and your family may be capped at a certain amount. There are three types of damages you may be entitled to, so be sure to consult with some a qualified and experienced wrongful death lawyer to see what is lawfully available to you.
Monetary Damages
Monetary (otherwise known as “economic”) damages are damages that include any financial obligations or contributions that would have been made to the person’s family had they not died. A wrongful death lawyer may be able to get the family a number of monetary damages. Some examples of monetary damages include loss of the victim’s earnings from their job as well as the pensions and other benefits. Also, the defendant may be responsible for items like medical expenses attached to the death, funeral expenses, and the loss of an inheritance.
Non-Monetary Damages
Non-monetary damages are items that are not tangible but still have a great value to the family of the victim. If the defendant is ordered to pay for non-monetary damages, the amount of money attached to them is typically decided upon by the judge in the case. Some non-monetary damages include things like mental anguish, pain and suffering for the family left behind, as well as the loss of protection of and nurturing of the deceased person.
Punitive Damages
Punitive damages are set in place to essentially punish the defendant for any egregious behavior that led to the death of someone, such as drunk driving. Some states do not award punitive damages in these cases, so you would need to consult some wrongful death lawyer to see if this option is available in your case. If governmental agencies were involved in the wrongful death, you may not be able to recover punitive damages. However, some states may allow you to collect any interest on the damages from the time the death occurred until the time in which they are collected.
If you are involved in a case like this, you will definitely need to either hire or at least seek the appropriate advice of a wrongful death lawyer. These cases can be quite complex and exhausting, so getting trained professional legal help is absolutely crucial.
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The Importance of Legal Translation Services

The field of law is complex and reflects cultural variations, making it more difficult for a foreigner to understand. Transparency is not inherent in most legal regulations and guidelines and language barriers can lead to misinterpretation that has serious consequences. Legal translation is the act of converting legal text from one language to another and it should only be performed by a member of an elite group of certified translation professionals.
Types of Legal Translation Services
Of the many professional translators available, some specialize in legal text. Regulations, legislation, and contracts are among the legal documents that commonly require translation. Organizations may require translation of legal settlements and competitor bylaws and individuals may request translation of passports, wills, and tax documents.
Legal translation is very technical in nature and requires high attention to detail. Translators must be familiar with the legal system on which the text is based and must understand the language used to draft the text. They must be competent enough in the native language of the text to translate it to the requested language. Linguistic structures and conventions used in the original language may be culturally-based and may not have an equivalent in the translated language. Translators may need to rely upon linguistic and cultural standard equivalents, based on theory and principles, to accurately translate text.
Certified Translation Affects Outcomes
Legal translation should never be left to a novice because a mistake can result in fines, lawsuits, or loss of rights. Even a judge or lawyer is not typically familiar with standards and terminology used in legal practice. These professionals turn to certified translators to help them understand and correctly interpret legal texts in another language. Documents may not be admissible in court unless they have been translated by a certified professional.
Translating legal text is a science and to be considered an expert, an individual must pass an examination. Courts, states, and professional associations offer different certification tests but most of these exams include both oral and written components as well as featuring an ethical component; certain states require translators to complete an ethical orientation before receiving official recognition.
When legal translation services are required, it is wise to consult a professional. These experts pride themselves on their precision, confidentiality, and timeliness. Some translators offer free quotes for their services, eliminating financial surprises. Though there is no obligation to use a professional legal translator, not using one is usually a huge mistake. has been providing clients with certified translation since 1994. The company offers translation services for specialty law such as bankruptcy, arbitration, criminal law, and family law, to name just a few. For more information regarding all services offered, please click here.