Your Mass. Driving Record Can’t be Sealed or Expunged.

My law office often gets inquiries from individuals who are attempting to seal their driving records or driver histories. Unfortunately, in Massachusetts, this is impossible. Many candidates for public safety employment as police officers or firefighters as well as CDL drivers have been denied employment due to automobile law violations and other more serious infractions such as operating after suspension, leaving the scene of an accident, operating to endanger, or operating under the influence of alcohol or drugs. All of these violations will appear on your Massachusetts driving record and they may disqualify you from employment. Also, certain non-driving offenses will also appear on your record, such as those related to drug possession including distribution, trafficking, and possession with intent to distribute. These drug convictions appear on your record because MassDOT is required to suspend your license if you are convicted of a drug crime, even though it has nothing to do with driving.

When selecting candidates for public safety positions, including those of correction officer, employers can obtain motor vehicle driver histories from several databases. These records are exempt from the Massachusetts sealing statutes, G.L. c. 276 § 100 A-C. This means that the prospective public safety employer will see your driving record, even if the corresponding criminal record has been sealed and you’re allowed to answer “no record,” under the Mass. law on sealed records.

Driving record entries showing “Complaint Fraud License / Identificaton” or “Comp. Fraud Lic/ID.” may also prevent you from being hired. Pursuant to G.L. c. 90 § 24B, giving MassDOT false information to obtain a driver’s license or identification card is a felony, which carries an automatic license suspension and a potential penalty of 5 years incarceration in state prison. Unfortunately, even if you are not criminally charged or prosecuted, these entries may still be shown on your driving record and accessible to potential future employers.

In summary, once events are listed on your Massachusetts driving record, absent actual errors, they cannot be erased, expunged, deleted, or sealed.

Chemical Test Refusal Appeal Q&A

CTRQuestion: I have a few questions about Melanie’s Law. I was recently charged with O.U.I. in Massachusetts and refused the Breath Test. I missed the 15 day window to appeal the BTR. Is there any way to get an appeal hearing? That being said there are a few thing that i feel should be considered.My charge was a result of a single car motor vehicle accident. I have been getting treated by a doctoer for Vertigo,Light headedness and Dizziness.I was taking medication for anxiety, and I have sleep apnea (now being treated)all in my medical records prior to the accident and is what caused the accident.

As a result of the accident I was knocked out cold, got a cracked skull(left temporal bone), released my bladder and got a concussion. The police didn’t offer any medical treatment and was more concerned about making an arrest. The police claim that I failed a field sobriety test and refused the breath test. I did consume 2 alcoholic beverage that night. It was 1 Sam Adams ale and 1 White Russian(store bought).

The night of the accident, I have no recollection of the crash or any police presence. I was not of sound mind or judgement due to my injuries.I apparently signed the BTR and Medical Refusal form but do not remember doing so. I believe I passed out once or twice while I was handcuffed to a bench at the police station.

I feel that the police departments first priority should be the safety of the people and they should have called an ambulance. I would have been brought to an E.R. where blood could of been drawn and prooved that my B.A.L. was well under the legal limit. I also would of gotten the medical attention that I obviously needed.

I didn’t get the letter from the R.M.V. stating that I had a fifteen day window to appeal because it went to my future ex-wife at my old house and she didn’t hand it to me until after the 15 days(opened). I also have my medical records that support this information and photos of my head hours after the crash that clearly show abnormalities and disfigurement.

I did get an O.U.I. charge in 2009 and it was CWOF. I am now learning that under Melanie’s law that this will count as a 2nd offense and it will be 3 years for BTR. I am fairly confident that the O.U.I. charge will get defeated in a courtroom if not thrown out all together. I want to know if there is any way to get an appeal now for the Breath Test Refusal?

To not have a Drivers License for three years because I have or had a medical condition or wasn’t properly dealt with by the police is an injustice. I believe I should get an appeal hearing considering the circumstances of this case. Any help would be greatly appreciated.

Answer: Chemical Test Refusal (CTR) Appeals are governed by G.L. c. 90 § 24(1)(g), which states that “any person whose license, permit or right to operate has been suspended under subparagraph (1) of paragraph (f) shall, within fifteen days of suspension, be entitled to a hearing before the registrar…” Therefore, you only had 15 days to appeal the 3 year breath test refusal suspension. You were issued a notice of suspension at the time of your arrest which notified you of the refusal suspension and your right to appeal.Also, the fact that you didn’t get the suspension notice which the Registry mailed is not sufficient to get around the 15 day requirement. Under Massachusetts law, it was your responsibility to notify the Registry of your address change.Even if you won the chemical test refusal appeal, the Registry would probably revoke your license under the immediate threat law, because you have vertigo, light headedness, dizziness. anxiety, and sleep apnea. The Registry would say that someone involved in a single car accident who experienced a loss of consciousness, with those medical conditions, is a danger to public safety and should not be driving.

In a recent case, I won a 3 year chemical test refusal appeal and the same day the Registry reinstated my client’s license on the CTR, they revoked my client’s license under the immediate threat law. The letter states as follows:

Pursuant to your client’s CTR Appeal, I have carefully reviewed our record and have allowed your appeal. This in no way implies a determination that the Massachusetts State Police Department lacked reasonable grounds or acted improperly at any time during their interaction with you. Since the suspension has been cleared, the $500.00 reinstatement fee has been waived.

NOTE: This is in regard to your client’s suspension for a chemical test refusal, only. At the present time there is also an Immediate Threat suspension affecting the license and that must be resolved separately before the license or right to operate is restored.
I can see the same thing happening in your case.

Unfortunately, you cannot get a hardship license on a CTR suspension. Therefore, they only way to get your license reinstated is to get a not guilty on the 2nd offense DUI charge.

Questions & Answers re: NDR & Out of State Issues

Question: I received a DUI in the State of New Hampshire in October of 2012. I am moving to Massachusetts and am looking to find out how to get my license back, so I do not lose my job.

Answer: MassDOT will not issue you a Massachusetts driver’s license if your license or right to operate is under suspension or revocation in any other state. Without this requirement, drunk drivers could simply move around to avoid mandatory DUI license suspensions. In order to get a license in Massachusetts, you must first fully reinstate your New Hampshire license. Once you have done this, the New Hampshire DMV will remove the hold in the Problem Driver Pointer System of the National Driver Register and you can convert your New Hampshire license to a Massachusetts License.

Question: second dui out of state …I am here in Massachusetts working for several months and have been abiding by the law and not driving and taking cab to and from work, which is getting expensive and tedious….Can I get a hardship license here while I am working?

Can a person with dui working here from another state get a temp hardship license?….I have and will be here working for quite a while and a cab to and from work is getting cumbersome NOT to mention expensive.

Answer: No. You must be a resident of Massachusetts to get a Massachusetts Driver’s License. Also, the Registry will check you in the National Driver Register and the RMV will not issue you a Massachusetts license of any kind, including a hardship license, while your license or right to drive is suspended or revoked in any other state. If it were not for this rule, convicted drunk drivers and habitual traffic offenders could move from state to state to avoid license suspensions.

Question: I received a letter from MA RMV that they intend to revoke my license based on info from NDR and the state of Florida. I never had a license in Florida! My first name and DOB match an individual that has lost his license. Florida faxed me a letter stating that I have no record of a driver’s license and MA will not take it! They want a letter with the ref # on it and Florida is not willing to send it without a lot of paperwork. I drive for a living and have already burnt a day of being on hold and getting nowhere.

Answer: If there is a National Driver Register (NDR) block which matches your information, the Registry gives you thirty (30) days notice to clear the block. If you are unable to clear the NDR block within 30 days, the Registry is required to indefinitely revoke your Massachusetts Driver’s License. You cannot reinstate your license until the NDR hold is cleared. In this case, the Registry is simply requiring that the State of Florida include, in the “not the same person” letter, the reference number which corresponds with the NDR record which triggered the revocation. This requirement appears to be reasonable and the Florida DMV should comply. In this case, the reference number is probably the Florida license number of the person whose license is under revocation.