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License Reinstatement Not Automatic

Mass. RMV Q&A

If the Registry has suspended your license due to a chemical test refusal (CTR) or an immediate threat complaint, you will not automatically have your license reinstated, even if you are found not guilty of Operating Under the Influence or even if the DUI charges have been dismissed in court. The license suspension or revocation will not automatically go away. Instead, you must follow a process to get your driver’s license back and that process will require you to personally appear before a Registry Hearing Officer or the Division of Insurance, Board of Appeal. There is no way around this hearing requirement.

In Massachusetts DUI cases, when a not guilty verdict or a dismissal enters, the defendant is entitled to immediately file a motion for the reinstatement of his or her license from the breathalyzer refusal suspension. The Registry has taken the position that this reinstatement motion must be filed immediately after the dismissal or the acquittal and it has refused to honor reinstatement orders which resulted from motions which were not immediately filed. Fortunately for my clients, I have been successful in reversing these refusals to reinstate.

These motions must be filed in the same court where the DUI case was heard and they generally must be heard by the same judge who found the defendant not guilty or who dismissed the charges. The prosecution has the opportunity to oppose reinstatement and a hearing must be held. There is a presumption that the defendant should have his or her license restored. For the motion to be denied, the prosecution must establish that restoration of the defendant’s license would jeopardize public safety.

The law requires judges to make written findings regarding the decision, whether it is favorable to the defendant or not.

Judicial denials of these reinstatement motions must be appealed through the court system and not through the Registry of Motor Vehicles or Board of Appeal. These state agencies cannot override a judge’s decision not to reinstate a license. Also, no hardship licenses are available in this situation. You will either be granted a full reinstatement or no license at all.

If the judge denies reinstatement and that denial is not reversed on appeal through the court system, you will be required to serve the entire length of the Chemical Test Refusal suspension.

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