The license reinstatement fees which MassDOT charges are established by G.L. c. 90 § 33. This law provides for fees which range from $100.00 all the way up to $1,200.00. Prior to the implementation of the Registry’s multi-million-dollar computer system, known as ATLAS, in 2018, RMV Hearing Officers were granted discretion to waive reinstatement fees.
Customers who were reinstating from multiple suspensions were only charged the highest fee and the lower fees were waived. When the new computer system was implemented, Hearing Officers were no longer able to waive reinstatement fees and customers were charged a fee for each and every suspension appearing on the customer’s record. For example, someone who was arrested for DUI Drugs who has an indefinite immediate threat suspension which originated from the same DUI arrest will have to pay reinstatement fees for both the DUI and indefinite immediate threat suspension, which will cost at least $1,000.00.
Some customers have staggering reinstatement fees which they will probably never been able to afford to pay. Under the current system, it’s all or nothing. No payment plans are available and there is no way for a customer to make partial payments. The Registry will not reinstate a license until all of the fees are paid in full. This system likely has a disparate impact on people with limited incomes and those who have been recently released from incarceration.
Fortunately, there is hope!
Massachusetts House Bill 3535, which was filed by Representative Joseph W. McGonagle (D) of Everett will allow the Registry of Motor Vehicles to accept partial payments. Customers who have multiple suspensions or revocations will be able to go on monthly payment plans. They will be able to obtain conditional license reinstatements and keep their licenses so long as they make the required payments.
This legislation makes sense! It will allow the Registry to collect the reinstatement fees while allowing the customer to be able to drive to earn income to pay the fees. If a customer falls behind and fails to pay, the Registry can re-suspend his or her license for non-payment.
The Bill has been referred to the Joint Committee on Transportation. Katie Lannan of the Statehouse News Service has reported that Middlesex District Attorney Marian Ryan supports the bill.