In most cases, paying a traffic citation will prevent the suspension of your driver’s license. However, in some cases, paying a ticket will cause the Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles to suspend or revoke your driver’s license. This is what happened to a 40 year old truck driver who had a Class A CDL. The client was employed as a tractor trailer driver for a major shipping company, until he lost his job due to the suspension of his driver’s license.
On October 28, 2012, the client was cited for travelling 83 MPH in a 70 MPH zone in Virginia. To insure that he did not have his license suspended, he paid $253.76. However, unbeknownst to the client, under § 46.2-862, in the Commonwealth of Virginia, any speeding violation in excess of eighty (80) MPH automatically constitutes “reckless driving.” This means that even though the driver was only exceeding the posted speed limit by 13 MPH, when he paid the citation he was admitting responsibility for reckless driving.
Since the driver was a Massachusetts resident and he committed the offense on a Massachusetts Driver’s License, the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles dutifully notified the Driver Control Unit of the Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles. Upon receiving notice of the Virginia reckless driving conviction, the Mass. RMV suspended the driver’s license for a period of 60 days. The automatic 60 day suspension was imposed because G.L. c. 90 § 22(c) states that when a Mass. driver or licensee commits a motor vehicle violation in any other state or jurisdiction, the Massachusetts Registry is required to treat the offense as if it had occurred here, for license suspension purposes.
Consequently, because reckless driving in Massachusetts carries as automatic 60 day license loss, the Registry suspended this man’s license for 60 days. However, treating the Virginia Reckless Driving as if it had occurred here overlooks the fact that a conviction for reckless driving in Massachusetts requires more than speed alone. Further, the speed here was certainly not excessive. The driver was only exceeding the posted limit by 13 MPH. This would hardly be considered reckless driving, negligent operation, or operating so as to endanger here in Massachusetts.
If you are facing a Massachusetts license suspension due to an out of state reckless or careless driving charge, you should contact a lawyer. You may be able to get your Massachusetts license fully reinstated, either by appealing the suspension to the RMV or taking the case to the Board of Appeal.