In the case of Kevin Perry v. Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles, a superior court judge ruled that it was improper for the Registry of Motor Vehicles to suspend Perry’s license, for unlawful possession of a class b controlled substance with intent to distribute, years after his drug conviction.

On October 5, 2005, Perry was convicted in the U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts of possession of a class B controlled substance (ecstasy) with intent to distribute it. He was sentenced to ninety-four months in prison. (The feds. don’t play).

After his release, Perry went to the Registry to renew his driver’s license on or around April 11, 2008. At that time, the Registry learned of his 2005 federal drug conviction.  On April 11, 2008, the Registry, officially notified Perry, that his driver’s license would be suspended for three year beginning on April 21, 2008, pursuant to the Registry’s drug suspension guidelines. The Registry noted that it could not consider a request for a hardship license until Perry has served at least half of the assigned 3 year drug suspension period.

Perry appealed, claiming that the Registry lacked the lawful authority to suspend his license years after his drug conviction.  In ruling on his appeal, the superior court held as follows: “The proper date for the start of Perry’s driver’s license suspension must be October 5, 2005, the date of his conviction for possession of a class B controlled substance with intent to distribute it. That suspension began automatically on October 5, 2005, as an ancillary part: of his criminal proceedings in federal court.”

The court also ruled that “[w]hile G.L. c. 90 § 22(f) is’ silent as to when a driver license suspension should commence, the fairest and most reasonable interpretation is that the suspension must begin immediately upon conviction, and not notice to the Registry.”

This ruling can be used in cases where the Registry delays suspending someone’s license for sometimes as long as several years after conviction.