I recently received the following inquiry regarding the consequences of a Massachusetts Resident submitting to a police breathalyzer in the State of Florida and registering an alcohol reading at or above .02.
G.L. c. 90 § 24P provides, in pertinent part, that when someone under 21 years of age is “arrested for or charged with” violations of certain Massachusetts laws regarding operating under the influence of alcohol, which is also known as OUI, DUI, or DWI, the Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles is required to automatically suspend the person’s driver’s license for 6 months for a first offense for drivers 18 years of age or older. Drivers under 18 will have their licenses suspended for one (1) year.
Entry into a DUI alcohol program such as the Massachusetts § 24D First Offender Alcohol Education Program will allow the Registry to waive 6 the month license or one year license suspension. However, the Registry will suspend the licenses of those drivers who enter the program and fail to complete it.
Since the Massachusetts Under 21 Administrative License Suspension Law only applies to those arrested for or charged with violations of certain Massachusetts statutes related to DUI or drunk driving, I do not believe that registering at or above a .02 alcohol reading in Florida for a Massachusetts license holder who is under 21 years of age will trigger a separate Massachusetts suspension. I say this because the law which requires the Registry to treat out of state offenses as if they had occurred here, for license suspension and revocation purposes, only applies to “convictions.” Here, there was no conviction, only an arrest. While this would trigger a revocation if had occurred here, I do not believe an out of state arrest or charge will trigger the loss of license.
However, if Florida suspends the individual’s license, and the Florida DMV notifies the Massachusetts RMV, the Registry is required to impose a reciprocal Massachusetts Suspension. Registries of the various states get notified through the National Driver Register (NDR).
If you are a Massachusetts resident who needs assistance with a Florida traffic violation or license suspension, I recommend contacting Florida Traffic Lawyer Devon A. Porcella.