The Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles is required to penalize Massachusetts residents or license holders when they commit a DUI or certain other automobile law violation in other jurisdictions. This situation usually arises when someone who lives in Massachusetts is arrested for DUI in a bordering state such as Rhode Island or New Hampshire. Occasionally, a Massachusetts resident will be arrested for DUI while on vacation in Florida and the Registry will suspend the person’s license here in Massachusetts.
The Registry’s practice of suspending a Massachusetts license for OUI convictions occurring outside of the state has reached a whole new level. I recently was hired to represent a U.S. Army Captain who had his Mass. Driver’s License suspended because he was arrested for OUI in Germany! That’s right, an OUI offense committed as far away as Europe, and beyond, can come back to haunt you here in Massachusetts. Here, the client was arrested for OUI while serving in the Army. He not only had to deal with penalties imposed by Germany and the Army, but also with the 1 year license suspension which the Mass. RMV imposed.
Other states communicate with the Registry through the National Driver Register. I have no idea how the learned of this man’s OUI in Germany. However, once the Registry has enough information to add the violation to a driver’s record, they can legally suspend for it. When deciding whether to plead out or fight an OUI committed out of the state, and out of the country, Massachusetts residents should consider that a conviction may well result in a new and separate license suspension imposed by the Mass. Registry, independent of and in addition to any suspension imposed by the state or country where the DUI occurred.