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Reciprocal License Suspensions in MA

Out of State Issues

The Mass. RMV is part of a nationwide system that connects motor vehicle departments of all states together. The purpose of this system is for Registries and Motor Vehicle Departments to share information regarding drivers whose privileges have been suspended or revoked. In order to accomplish this purpose, the Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles imposes reciprocal suspensions.

The MA RMV will impose a reciprocal suspension, pursuant to G.L. c. 90 § 22(c) whenever it receives information indicating that a Massachusetts license holder’s right to operate has been suspended or revoked in any other state or jurisdiction. This means that an out-of-state suspension will “follow you” to Massachusetts.

In order to resolve a reciprocal suspension of your MA license, you must obtain “proof of clearance” from the state where the suspension originated. The Registry will accept a clearance letter or an out-of-state driving record. The Registry will also accept letters from the out-of-state DMV indicating that the suspension was the result of a stolen identity or that you are not the same person listed in their records. These documents cannot be more than 30 days old. Pursuant to G.L. c. 90 § 33, the Registry charges a $100.00 reinstatement fee to clear a reciprocal license suspension.

If the reciprocal suspension resulted from a DUI or reckless driving case, you may be required to go through a Registry Hearing Officer to be cleared. The Hearing Officer will likely want “proof of findings” and he or she may refuse to clear the reciprocal suspension until you provide them.

The Registry will use the “proof of findings” to add the out-of-state conviction to your MA driving record and that may generate an additional suspension. The Registry is required to treat out-of-state Driving Under the Influence convictions as if they had occurred in Massachusetts for license suspension and ignition interlock purposes.

Simple reciprocal suspensions can usually be resolved without a Registry Hearing. However, some reciprocal suspensions will require clearance by a Hearing Officer and legal representation may be warranted.

In order to obtain or reinstate a Massachusetts Driver’s License, your right to operate cannot be under suspension or revocation in any other state. You must be listed as “eligible” in the National Driver Register.

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