Getting arrested for DUI out of state can result in confusion, harsh penalties, bureaucratic “red tape” and expensive reinstatement fees. It is bad enough to have to deal with the Mass. Registry of Motor Vehicles. When a DUI occurs in another state, such as California, Maine, New Hampshire, North Carolina, or Florida, for example, you will have to satisfy all of the reinstatement requirements of the state where the offense occurred as well as the requirements imposed by the MassDOT Driver Control Unit.
All states are part of a nationwide computer system which is implemented by the United States Department of Transportation (USDOT). This system is known as the National Driver Register (NDR) and its purpose is to prevent a driver whose right to operate is under suspension or revocation in one state from holding or being issued an active license in any other state or jurisdiction, including the driver’s home state.
This system is designed to prevent a driver from getting a DUI while on vacation in Florida, for example, and then returning to Massachusetts without resolving the DUI case or serving the penalties imposed by the Florida Court System or Department of Motor Vehicles. In a situation such as this, the Florida DMV would use the NDR to notify the Massachusetts RMV that the driver had his or her right to operate a motor vehicle taken away in the State of Florida. Upon receipt of this information, the Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles is required to send the driver a “Notice of Intent to Suspend” and then indefinitely revoke the driver’s Massachusetts license.
Once an Indefinite NDR Revocation is imposed, there is absolutely no way to get your Massachusetts license reinstated without a hearing at the Registry’s Driver Control Unit. The Hearing Officer who conducts this hearing will want “proof of findings” regarding the out of state incident. “Proof of findings” consists of official documents from either the out of state court system or DMV which show the charges, offense location, offense date, and disposition. The Registry can sometimes find this information through its computer system. The Registry will use this information to add the out of state offense to your Massachusetts Driving Record. The RMV is legally allowed to do this.
Once the out of state DUI, Reckless Driving, Careless Operation, or Careless Driving conviction is added to your Massachusetts Driver History, your insurance premiums may be increased and the Mass. RMV will automatically suspend your MA driver’s license. This suspension is automatically generated by the Registry’s computer system.
Massachusetts law requires the Registry to treat out of state DUI, reckless driving, negligent operation, and other similar offenses as if they had occurred in Massachusetts for license suspension purposes. This means that you will be penalized twice for an out of state motor vehicle offense. You will be penalized by the state where the violation occurred and you will also be penalized by the Mass. RMV.
The Registry will not allow you to reinstate from the indefinite NDR revocation without adding the out of state offense onto your Massachusetts record. The Registry will also not allow you to reinstate your license here in Massachusetts while your right to operate is suspended or revoked in another jurisdiction.
This system does not always work as intended and there have been numerous cases of the Mass. RMV not being notified of an out of state incident. If you have committed a DUI or other similar violation in another state, you can still legally drive in Massachusetts unless and until the Mass. Registry suspends or revokes your MA license.
If you have lost your right to drive in Massachusetts due to an out of state DUI or related violation, I invite you to contact my office so that we can discuss how I can help you get reinstated as soon as possible. I have helped countless clients in this situation.