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Massachusetts Suspended Drivers License Defense

In order to be convicted of Operating After Suspension, the Commonwealth must prove (1) that you operated a motor vehicle, (2) after your driver’s license or right to drive in Massachusetts had been suspended or revoked, and (3) that agent, such as a household member or employer had received notice that your Massachusetts license or right to drive had been or was about to be revoked. In license suspension cases, lack of notice can be a successful defense.

There are numerous defenses to the charge of driving on a suspended license and attorneys such as Paul B. Watkins have consistently achieved outstanding results in these cases. With his in-depth knowledge of the law and legal experience, Attorney Watkins can likely get your driving while suspended charge dismissed or he can likely get you a not guilty verdict. Call 508-656-0057 today for a free consultation and review of your operating after suspension case. 

Given the penalties for driving on a suspended license, it is important to avoid a conviction. For a first offense, violation of this section is punishable by a fine of $500 to $1,000 or a sentence of not more than ten days to a house of correction, or both. A second or subsequent conviction of driving on a suspended license often results in jail time and a fine. A conviction of Driving on a Suspended License when the License has been suspended for DUI results in a 60 day minimum-mandatory jail sentence. In addition to these penalties a conviction of operating after suspension results in an automatic 60 day license suspension, with no ability to get a hardship license from the RMV. Operating After Suspension for DUI results in a one year automatic license suspension. In addition to criminal and Registry penalties, being caught driving on a suspended license can result in a probation violation.

Also, a recent suspended license charge will disqualify you from getting a hardship license from the Registry of Motor Vehicles. The RMV states that there can be no evidence of operation since the applicant’s license was suspended. In these cases, you must apply to the Board of Appeal. However,  the Board of Appeal takes a very dim view of Operating After Suspension charges. The Board views such charges as evidence of a lack of respect for the law. A recent suspended license conviction on your criminal or driving record can make the difference between getting a hardship license from the Board of Appeal or being denied reinstatement and having to serve your suspension.

Driving on a suspended license is considered a major offense under the Massachusetts Habitual Traffic Offender Law and a conviction may trigger an automatic 4 year revocation.

With these tough penalties, it makes sense to hire a lawyer to fight your Operating After Suspension charge. With the right legal representation, you may be able to avoid a conviction and the harsh consequences associated with a suspended license charge. It also makes sense to try to get a hardship license, so that you can drive legally and do not risk being arrested for operating after suspension.

In some cases, it may be possible for a lawyer to get an operating after suspension charge reduced or dismissed. For example, in Commonwealth v. Naugler, Mass. Law. Wkly. No. 16-019-92, a defendant whose DUI suspension had expired failed to take the steps necessary to reinstate his driver’s license. The appropriate charge there was found to be unlicensed operation and not the much more serious charge of operating after revocation for OUI. Similarly, DUI defendants who have breathalyzer refusal suspensions are sometimes improperly charged with and prosecuted for operating after suspension for OUI when the OUI suspension has not yet commenced. In Massachusetts, breathalyzer refusal suspensions run first and the OUI suspension does not commence until the chemical test refusal suspension terminates. Therefore, you cannot be convicted of operating after suspension for OUI if you OUI suspension has not yet started. Getting this charge reduced to straight operating after suspension allows the client to avoid a 60 day minimum mandatory jail sentence and automatic 1 year license suspension which is stacked against the DUI suspension, so that it adds a year of suspension time. Unlike operating after suspension for OUI, there is no minimum mandatory sentence for operating after suspension for a breathalyzer refusal.  

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