The Interstate Driver License Compact (DLC) was designed to prevent drivers from avoiding license suspensions and revocations by obtaining a new license in one state when the driver’s license was suspended or revoked in another state. However, there is a “loophole” which may allow drivers whose licenses are suspended or revoked in Massachusetts to obtain licensure in the State of Colorado.
The Colorado Division of Motor Vehicles (DMV) has procedures in place whereby it will issue drivers licenses to individuals who have had their licenses suspended or revoked in other states. Thus, in accordance with 1 CCR 204-16(B) it may be possible to get a Colorado license even if the Mass. RMV has suspended or revoked your license for a long period of time.
In order to get a Colorado license when your Massachusetts license is revoked or suspended, you must serve one (1) year of the Massachusetts suspension or revocation, during which time you must not have operated a motor vehicle. You cannot have any convictions of motor vehicle violations after the license suspension. You must prove Colorado residency by showing utility bills, voter registration, Colorado employment, or other items which indicate that you are a Colorado resident.
At your licensing hearing before the Department of Revenue, all out of state offenses must be viewed as if they had occurred in Colorado for reinstatement purposes. With credit for time served from the commencement of the suspension or revocation, if you have served the entire suspension under Colorado law, you are eligible to be licensed in Colorado. If your reinstatement date, based on applying Colorado law to your violations, is in the future, you can apply for a Colorado license on that date, even if your license or right to drive is suspended or revoked in Massachusetts.
This “loophole” might present a valuable opportunity to those who have lost their licenses in Massachusetts because, with the passage of Melanie’s Law, the Massachusetts RMV imposes harsh license suspension penalties for repeat drunk drivers. For example, second offenders face 2 year license suspensions, third offenders will have their licenses revoked for 8 years, 4th DUI offenders will lose their licenses for 10 years, and in Massachusetts 5th offenders will have their licenses revoked for life.
In contrast to these severe penalties in the form of long Massachusetts license suspensions, the State of Colorado has comparatively lenient penalties for DUI. For example, for qualified defendants, it has minor charge of driving while ability impaired (DWAI), which carries no license suspension for a first offense. 2nd DUI offenders have their licenses suspended for 2 years, and those who have 3 DUI convictions will only lose their licenses for 2 years in Colorado.
Here is an example of how the “loophole” works. Suppose the Mass. Registry revoked your license for 3 DUI convictions on March 5, 2010. This mandatory 8 year revocation would run until March 3, 2018. However, on March 5, 2012, you could apply for a Colorado license. The Colorado DMV would override the block in the National Driver Register and issue you a driver’s license despite the mandatory 8 year DUI 3rd offense revocation.