365 day Suspensions for A20 – DUI of Alcohol or Drugs.
If you are the holder of a Massachusetts Driver’s License or you are a resident of Massachusetts, an out of state DUI or DWAI conviction will result in the suspension of your Massachusetts license for A20 – DUI of Alcohol or Drugs. This is because G.L. c. 90, § 22(c), requires the Mass. RMV to treat out-of-state motor vehicle violations, such as as Operating Under the Influence A20, if they had occurred in Massachusetts. However, there are exceptions to this rule. The A20 DUI suspension penalties do not apply in every case.
If you are a MA resident or license holder, and you are convicted of an out of state DUI, the Registry will suspend your license for 365 days for Operating Under the Influence A20, for a first offense and 730 days for an A20 DUI second offense. In many instances, these suspensions can be challenged and reduced.
The elements of the out of state drunk driving offense do not have to precisely match the elements of the offense in Massachusetts. Therefore, the RMV is legally entitled to treat substantially similar offenses as “like violations” which trigger Massachusetts license suspensions, regardless of the punishment imposed by the Motor Vehicle Department where the violation occurred. Also, under Massachusetts law, a plea of guilty or nolo contendere counts as a conviction, regardless of where or when the plea or conviction entered,
For example, the Mass. RMV suspended Joseph Bellino’s Massachusetts driver’s license in 1992 pursuant to G.L. c. 90, § 24D, the first offender law, for A20 – operating while under the influence of alcohol. In 1996, Bellino was convicted in New York of driving while ability impaired (DWAI). Bellino appealed his license suspension, arguing that the Registry had no legal authority to suspend his license in Massachusetts for the New York DWAI conviction, counting it as a second offense. The Superior Court ruled that the Registrar properly suspended Bellino’s license for an additional 730 days because it was entitled to count the New York DWAI conviction as a second A20 OUI offense.
Appealing your A20 – DUI of Alcohol or Drugs Suspension
If you are faced with an out of state DUI incident, you or your out of state lawyer should contact a Massachusetts lawyer who is familiar with the workings of the Mass. RMV for advice regarding the consequences which you will face in Massachusetts. In most cases, these suspensions are worth appealing. It is often possible to get out of state A20 suspensions reduced or eliminated, either by appealing them at the RMV or the Board of Appeal.