Clients often ask how an out of state DUI arrest will impact their Massachusetts Driver’s License. In summary, the Mass. Registry is required to treat an out of state motor vehicle violation, such as operating under the influence, which was committed by a Massachusetts resident or license holder, as if it had occurred in Massachusetts. In order words, the Mass. RMV is supposed to apply the same license suspension penalty to the out of state DUI as if it had occurred here in Massachusetts. This menas that first offenders will be suspended for 1 year, 2nd offenders will be suspended for 2 years, thrid offenders will be suspended for 8 years, 4th offenders will be suspended for 10 years, and 5th offenders will be suspended for life. Because of Melanie’s Law, there is a lifetime look-back period when counting prior DWI offenses and older convictions do not “drop off” the record, as they did before.
Additionally, if someone’s license or right to drive is suspended or revoked in one state, the driver’s home state is required to suspend or revoke the license until it is reinstated in the other state. For example, if you commit a DUI in New Hampshire, the New Hampshire DMV will electronically notify the Mass. RMV and the Registry will revoke your Mass. license. To clear this revocation, you must supply the following three items to the Mass. RMV, with all items not more than 30 days from the date of your Registry hearing: (1) a certified copy of the New Hampshire driving record, (2) a certified copy of the New Hampshire court docket which shows the charges and outcome, and (3) a clearance letter from the New Hampshire DMV in Concord, NH, which states that your right to operate has been reinstated.
When the Registry receives the above-listed documents, it will clear the indefinite reciprocity suspension, which is generated by the National Driver Registry (NDR), and impose a new DUI license suspension, the length of which will be based on your prior record, as explained above.
If a DUI offense is committed in Massachusetts, the offender is usually allowed to “plead out” and obtain treatment as a DUI First Offender. This means that his or her license will be suspended for only 45 days. However, the Registry suspends first offenders who commit an out of state OUI for a period of one year, instead of 45 days. Technically, out of state first offenders are not entitled to the Mass. 24D program. However, it is usually possible to have the 1 year loss of license reduced to 45 days. Contact me to find out more about this.
Out of state DUI and license suspension issues can be complicated and confusing. If you need legal information or representation, please contact me.