Massachusetts residents often ask what will happen to their driver’s licenses if they are arrested for and convicted of DUI in other states. In this situation, the convicted drunk driver is required to face the music in both the state where the DUI arrest occurred and in Massachusetts. This is because the Massachusetts DUI law states that if a Massachusetts resident or person licensed to drive in Massachusetts commits a motor vehicle law violation, such as DUI, in any other state or jurisdiction, the Mass. RMV is required to treat the offense as if it had occurred here in Massachusetts. The law also requires the Mass. RMV to respect the out of state DUI suspension and immediately suspend the individual’s Massachusetts license upon notification of the out of state suspension. It is impossible to get a Mass. Hardship License while an out of state suspension is in effect.
The Registry is notified of out of state DUI incidents and resulting suspensions through several agreements and systems which link the Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles with the Motor Vehicle Departments in other states. For example, the Driver License Compact, which is an agreement between various states requires that “[e]ach jurisdiction shall report each conviction of a person from another jurisdiction occurring within its boundaries to the home jurisdiction of the licensee.” Exchange of information is also accomplished via the Problem Driver Pointer System (PDPS) of the National Driver Register (NDR) and the Driver License Agreement (DLA) as well as the Non-Resident Violator Compact.
In order to clear an out of state driver’s license suspension or revocation, which triggered the loss of your Massachusetts license, you must provide the following items to a Mass. RMV Hearings Officer: (1) a Letter of Clearance and/or Reinstatement, from the Motor Vehicle Department in the state where the DUI occurred, dated not more than 30 days from the date of submission to the RMV; (2) a certified Driving Record from the other state, also dated not more than 30 days from the date of your Mass. Registry hearing; (3) a certified court abstract or docket, which reflects the charges and the outcome or disposition.
Once you provide these items, any indefinite NDR suspension(s) or revocation(s) will removed upon the payment of a $100.00 reinstatement fee. However, what the Registry does not tell you is that the NDR suspension(s) or revocation(s) will be replaced with a new suspension for DUI, as if the offense had occurred in the Commonwealth. First offenders will be suspended for one (1) year, DUI second offenders will be suspended for two (2) years, DUI third offenders will be suspended for eight (8) years, and fourth offenders will be suspended for ten (10) years. Anyone with a fifth or subsequent DUI conviction will be suspended for life, with no eligibility to be considered for a hardship license.
In many cases, it is possible to get the 1 year loss of license for a DUI First Offender reduced to 45 days, upon completion of or enrollment in an approved DUI Alcohol Education Program. Contact a lawyer who specializes in RMV matter, such as Attorney Brian E. Simoneau, for more information. Dealing with motor vehicle departments in two different states can be very confusing and frustrating. Often, the DUI lawyers in the other states do not understand Massachusetts DUI Law or how the Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles operates. Legal representation by a Massachusetts Registry Attorney can help you achieve the best deal possible here in Massachusetts.