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Out of State Suspensions & DUI Convictions


Clients routinely ask about what effect an out of state DUI will have on their Massachusetts license. This article answer this common question.

First, under reciprocity, if someone’s right to drive is suspended or revoked in one state, the Registry or DMV in the person’s home state is licensed is required to suspend or revoked the person’s license there. For example, if live in Massachusetts and your right to drive is suspended in New York, the Mass. RMV is required to suspend your Massachusetts license until you are clear to drive again in New York. Registries and Motor Vehicle Departments notify each other of these suspensions through the National Driver Registry. This practice of suspended a driver in his or her home state when the driver’s right to operate is suspended elsewhere was created to prevent drivers from escaping the consequences of an out of state violation. There is absolutely no ability to get a hardship license while on a NDR license suspension.

You can clear a National Driver Registry suspension with the Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles by providing the following 3 Documents to the RMV:

  1. A clearance letter on letterhead which states that your license has been reinstated in the other state
  2. A certified copy of your driving record from the other state
  3. A certified copy of the court docket showing the outcome of any criminal charges in the other state

All documents must be originals and not less than 30 days old. When these documents are presented at a Massachusetts RMV Suspension Hearing, the Registry Hearings Officer will remove the NDR suspension or revocation from your Massachusetts License.

However,  if you were a Massachusetts resident or license holder at the time you were convicted of the out of state violation, the law requires the Mass. RMV to treat the out of state violation as if it had occurred here. This means that you have to deal with any consequences and suspensions in the other state as well as Massachusetts.

Out of state DUI, DWAI, OUI, DWI or “drunk driving” convictions will count against you as if they had occurred in Massachusetts. For example, if you lived in New Hampshire and were convicted of DWI 8 years ago, and you get charged with OUI in Massachusetts, the Mass. Registry of Motor Vehicles is required to count that 8 year old New Hampshire OUI against you and your license will be suspended for 2 years, with hardship eligibility after 1 year. If you refuse the breathalyzer, instead of a 180 day revocation, the RMV will revoke your license for 3 years for the breathalyzer refusal, because of the New Hampshire DWI. Basically, under Melanie’s Law, it doesn’t matter how old an OUI conviction is or where it happened; it will count against you.

If you have any questions regarding out of state suspensions, please contact Attorney Brian E. Simoneau at 508-881-1119 or use the contact form on the Massachusetts Suspended License Lawyers Website.

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