Arrest Warrants and License Suspensions

If you fail to appear in court in Massachusetts when you are required to do so, a judge may issue a warrants for your arrest. When this happens, the Clerk-Magistrate’s Office will notify the Registry of Motor Vehicles and the RMV will automatically suspend your driver’s license and/or right to operate a motor vehicle in Massachusetts. Once this happens, you will not be able to get your driver’s license or right to operate reinstated until the arrest warrant is recalled by the court.

If you have moved out of state, you may be denied licensure in your new state due to a NDR block on your license record. Also, if you have already obtained an out of state license, it may be suspended due to the Massachusetts suspension which was triggered by the issuance of a warrant. Finally, you may be denied renewal of your license by your home state motor vehicle department because of the Massachusetts arrest warrant.

In most, but not all cases, if you have a Massachusetts arrest warrant for a minor offense, you will not be arrested if you are stopped by the police outside of Massachusetts. On the other hand, if you are stopped in Massachusetts, you will be arrested “on the spot.” This is because an arrest warrant is basically a legal command from a judge to the police to arrest the person named in the warrant and bring him or her before the court to answer to criminal charges.

There is no “statute of limitations” which allows you to remove the warrant without addressing the underlying court case and warrants do not expire. Instead, they will remain in the system until they are recalled by a judge. Unless this occurs, your Massachusetts license will remain indefinitely suspended.  If your license was suspended due to the issuance of an arrest warrant, absolutely no hardship license of any kind will be issued.

Some people mistakenly believe that their driver’s license is automatically reinstated once the warrant is recalled by the court.  This is not true. Once your license is suspended, you go to the RMV and pay the required reinstatement fee prior to driving. Simply taking care of the warrant does not reinstate your right to drive.

My office has extensive experience in dealing with license suspensions, especially for out of state clients who have NDR blocks. Please contact me if you need assistance. If you need help clearing a warrant, I can refer you to a criminal defense lawyer who can help you.