Reckless Driving in Virginia Triggers Massachusetts Suspensions

VIRGINIAIf you are the holder of a Massachusetts Driver’s License or you are a Massachusetts resident, the Registry will treat any motor vehicle violations which you commit as if they had occurred in Massachusetts.  This may cause you to have your license suspended or revoked in Massachusetts for an offense which does not carry any loss of license in the state where the offense occurred.

For example, in the State of Virginia, if you exceed the speed limit by 20 MPH or you travel at a speed greater than 80 MPH, you can be found to have committed the offense of Reckless Driving. There is no automatic license loss associated with this offense in the Commonwealth of Virginia. In Massachusetts, however, a reckless driving conviction will trigger an automatic 60 day license suspension for a first offense.

I have recently received numerous calls and inquiries from Massachusetts residents who have been cited for reckless driving in the Commonwealth of Virginia. These unsuspecting motorists have paid reckless driving citations, not knowing that their licenses would be suspended in Massachusetts. In each of these cases, the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles notified the Mass. RMV of the reckless driving citations and payments. These notifications have triggered automatic 60 day license suspensions. The motorists appealed the suspensions to the Suspension Unit of MassDOT and in all cases, the hearings officers have upheld the suspensions based on the out of state violations. The only recourse in these situations is to appeal the suspensions to the Board of Appeal of the Division of Insurance of the Office of Consumer Affairs and Business Regulation. Unlike the Registry, the Board of Appeal does not conduct hearings on a walk in basis. Therefore, the motorists will likely have to serve at least some of their suspensions prior to getting their “day in court.”

Likewise, the offense of careless driving in the State of Florida will also trigger a reckless driving suspension in the State of Massachusetts and the Registry has consistently upheld these suspensions, forcing the aggrieved appellants to seek relief from the Board of Appeal.