In addition to having to navigate through the New York court system, Massachusetts drivers who are arrested for DUI in New York will have to deal with both the Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles as well as the New York State Department of Motor Vehicles prior to getting back on the road. This process can be very frustrating and confusing.
A primary source of confusion in the difference and similarity between a Massachusetts drunk driving charge and the charge of Driving While Ability Impaired (DWAI). Both the Registry and the Division of Insurance Board of Appeal treat a DWAI conviction just like a Massachusetts DUI. This has been upheld by the Massachusetts Appeals Court in the case of Bresten v. Board of Appeal.
A New York DWAI conviction carries a minimum license suspension of 90 days. This suspension must be served prior to trying to get your Massachusetts license reinstated and there is absolutely nothing that can be done for you, either at the Registry or Board of Appeal, during this suspension period. The Mass. RMV will check the National Driver Register prior to considering you for reinstatement and the New York DMV must have removed the NDR block on your record. The Registry will also check for any Non-Resident Violator Compact (NRVC) Withdrawals and those must be resolved prior to reinstatement in Massachusetts.
To clear the NDR hold, you must serve the 90 day suspension, complete an alcohol education program and pay the New York Driver Responsibility Assessment Fee. The New York DMV imposes this fee in addition to any other fines, fees, surcharges, points, and penalties. The amount of the NY Driver Responsibility Assessment depends on the violation. The fee for New York breathalyzer refusals or drug or alcohol related violations is $250 per year for a total of $750.00. Unpaid annual assessments will result in the revocation of your license or right to operate and a block in the National Driver Register (NDR).
The Registry will suspend your license if it detects a NDR suspension. This means that if your right to drive is revoked in any other state, the Massachusetts RMV will likely revoke your license here and not reinstate it until it is clear in the other state.
Upon learning that a Massachusetts resident or license holder has been convicted of DWAI or DUI in New York, New Hampshire, or any other jurisdiction, the Registry will suspend that person’s license for one (1) year. This suspension is based on the law which requires the Registry to treat out of state violations as if they had occurred here in Massachusetts.
It may be possible to get the 1 year loss of license reduced to 45 days, with a full reinstatement after being cleared in the NDR and serving the 45 day suspension period. It is also possible to have the suspension backdated to the date of conviction. Contact Attorney Brian E. Simoneau at 508-656-0057 or via the contact form on this page to discuss hiring a lawyer to reinstate your license.