Those facing criminal charges for offenses such as DUI, driving to endanger, or other motor vehicle related offenses such as motor vehicle homicide, should be aware of the possibility of the court imposing license suspension penalties as a condition of probation. In Massachusetts, judges have the legal authority to impose terms and conditions of probation which can include a prohibition against seeking a driver’s license or operating a motor vehicle. A violation of probation may result in a surrender hearing and possible jail time. This penalty, which judges sometimes impose, is in addition to any statutory license suspension. It is for this reason that the Board of Appeal requires that hardship license applicants notify their probation officers prior to appearing before the Board for a limited or hardship license.
If a judge imposes a driving restriction as a probation condition or he issues a court order which prohibits an individual from driving, neither the Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles nor the Board of Appeal of the Division of Insurance will grant any type of restricted or hardship license. The only way to get a license in such circumstances is to have the court order modified or vacated by the court system. The Registry and Board of Appeal will respect the order of the court.
Most Massachusetts DUI lawyers are aware of potential additional license suspensions arising from probation conditions or court orders and they will take the steps necessary to protect their clients from such consequences, to the extent possible. Most of these issues can be worked out with the court and the district attorney’s as part of the plea negotiation process. However, it is important to remember that even if the RMV somehow allows an individual to apply for a license, he or she may be violating terms and conditions of probation, or a court order, by attempting to obtain a driver’s license or operate a motor vehicle.