Massachusetts Motor Vehicle Law, G.L. c. 90, § 10 and the Registry’s corresponding regulation, 540 CMR 2.06(5)(b)(1), allows only non-residents of Massachusetts to operate here on out of state licenses. This means that once a person has established residency in Massachusetts, his or her out of state license is not valid in Massachusetts and the person must obtain a Mass. Driver’s License from the Registry of Motor Vehicles. Police officers have legitimately arrested drivers with facially valid out of state licenses because they are residents of Massachusetts and they have not obtained Massachusetts Driver’s Licenses, as the law requires. An unlicensed operation conviction is considered a criminal offense and major traffic violation for the purposes of the Mass. Habitual Traffic Offender Law, which mandates a 4 year revocation of the license or right to drive of the person convicted.
In cases such as this, the police and prosecutors can establish that the defendant is a resident of Massachusetts by producing documentary and other evidence showing property ownership, school enrollment, tax filings, and the like. Once you move to Massachusetts and establish residency, you should apply for a Massachusetts driver’s license to avoid potentially being charged as an unlicensed operator. City and Town Police Officers are accustomed to looking for potential violators of this law.