License Suspensions

 

 

The Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles automatically suspends drivers licenses for various crimes. Below is a chart detailing some of the numerous ways that criminal proceedings can result in the loss of your license to drive a motor vehicle. 

 

 

License Suspensions - OUI/DUI

 

 

Failing a Breath Test when arrested for Operating Under the Influence:

 

 

If you are arrested for Operating Under the Influence of Alcohol, you will be asked to consent to a Breathalyzer test to determine your Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC). If you are 21 years or older and register a BAC of .08 or greater, or if you are under 21 and register a BAC or .02 or greater, your license or right to operate will be suspended for 180 days.

 

 

Also, if you are between the ages of 18 and 21, you will be required to participate in a Youth Alcohol Program (YAP) and serve an additional 180 day suspension. There are enhanced penalties if you are under 18 and you are arrested for operating under the influence of alcohol. You will be required to serve an additional one year suspension and attend the YAP program.

 

 

 

Chemical Test Refusal when arrested for Operating Under the Influence:

 

 

On October 28, 2005, Melanie's Law was implemented. This greatly increased the penalties for Chemical Test Refusals. Melanie's Law also mandates that any penalties for OUI be served after the Chemical Test Refusal and/or Youth Alcohol Program (YAP) suspension has been served. Suspensions for both Breath Test Failures and Refusals start immediately on the offense date. There is no longer a 15 day grace period.

 

 

Chemical Test Refusal Penalties:

 

 

Age of DriverNumber of Prior OUIsSuspension Period
21+ None 180 days
One Three years
Two Five years
Three or more Lifetime
Under 21 None Three years
One Three years
Two Five years
Three or more Lifetime
Any Prior DWI Serious Bodily Injury Ten years
Prior Vehicular Homicide Lifetime

 

 

You are entitled to a Registry hearing for a Chemical Test Refusal (CTR), but you must appear within 15 days of the CTR. These hearings are only conducted at the Boston branch office. There are only three issues that can be challenged during the hearing, if any of these can be effectively proven, then the suspension will be rescinded:

 

 

  1. The police officer did not have reasonable grounds for the OUI arrest.
  2. You were not placed under arrest.
  3. You did not refuse the Breathalyzer.

 

 

 

Convictions of Operating Under the Influence of Alcohol or Drugs / Alcohol Program Assignments

 

 

Effective November 28, 2002, Massachusetts enacted the Lifetime Look-Back Law. For the purpose of calculating OUI, Vehicular Homicide, and Chemical Test Refusal revocation periods, the RMV must consider your entire history. All OUIs and Alcohol Program assignments, including out-of-state convictions, no matter how old, will count when determining the number of incidents and the associated periods of revocation/suspension. The only exception to the Lifetime Look-Back Law will occur under three specific conditions:

 

 

  • Your new OUI is an Alcohol Program assignment.
  • You have only one prior OUI conviction.
  • You have an Alcohol Program that is older than 10 years.

 

 

In these cases, your suspension period will be 45 - 90 days, instead of two years. See chart below for more information.

 

 

DescriptionAge of Driver1st Offense2nd Offense3rd Offense4th Offense

5th Offense

 

24D Alcohol / Drug Program

 

 

21+ Years Old

Under 21

 

45 - 90 days

210 days

 

OUI Drugs

Any 1 yr 2 yrs 8 yrs 10 yrs Lifetime

 

OUI Liquor

Any 1 yr 2 yrs 8 yrs 10 yrs Lifetime

 

(Out of State) OUI Alcohol / Drugs

Any 1 yr 2 yrs 8 yrs 10 yrs Lifetime

 

 

Since the implementation of Melanie's Law in October 2005, if you receive a second or subsequent Operating Under the Influence of Alcohol or Drugs conviction or Alcohol or Drug Program assignment, you will be required to install an Ignition Interlock Device (IID) in any vehicle that you drive when your license is reinstated or if you are granted a hardship license. The IID must remain installed for two years after the full reinstatement of your license. If you are granted a hardship license, the IID must be installed throughout your hardship license period, and then for two years after full reinstatement.

 

 

The penalty for a first offense of Vehicular Homicide is now 15 years. In addition, Manslaughter while Under the Influence carries the same penalties as Vehicular Homicide. A first conviction of Operating a Motor Vehicle Under the Influence of Alcohol With a Child 14 Years of Age or Younger in the Vehicle results in a loss of your right to operate for one year. A second or subsequent conviction will result in a loss of your right to operate for three years. This revocation period will begin at the end of the OUI revocation period.

 

 

 

License Suspensions - Drug Convictions

 

 

Charge

Suspension Period

Dispensing controlled substances

1 year

Prescription violations

1 year

Practitioners violations

1 year

Possession of hypodermic needle/syringe

1 year

Possession of Class A substance with intent to distribute

3 years

2nd & subsequent conviction of Class A substance with intent to distribute

4 years

Possession of Class B substance with intent to distribute

3 years

2nd & subsequent conviction of Class B substance with intent to distribute

4 years

Possession of cocaine with intent to distribute

3 years

2nd & subsequent conviction of cocaine with intent to distribute

4 years

Possession of Class C substance with intent to distribute

3 years

2nd & subsequent conviction of Class C substance with intent to distribute

4 years

Possession of Class D substance with intent to distribute

2 years

2nd & subsequent conviction of Class D substance with intent to distribute

3 years

Possession of Class E substance with intent to distribute

2 years

2nd & subsequent conviction of Class E substance with intent to distribute

3 years

Trafficking, manufacturing, distributing or dispensing Class A substance

5 years

Trafficking, manufacturing, distributing or dispensing Class B substance

5 years

Trafficking, manufacturing, distributing or dispensing Class C substance

5 years

Manufacturing, distributing or dispensing Class A, B, or C substances to minors

5 years

Sale of counterfeit substances

1 year

Sale of drug paraphernalia

1 year

Sale of drug paraphernalia to minors

2 years

Possession with 1,000 feet of a school

5 years

Inducing minor to sell controlled substances

5 years

Using false registration number

2 years

Uttering a false prescription

2 years

Illegal possession of Class A substance

1 year

Illegal possession of Class B substance

1 year

Illegal possession of Class C substance

1 year

Illegal possession of Class D substance

1 year

Illegal possession of Class E substance

1 year

Being present where heroin is kept

1 year

Larceny of a controlled substance

2 years

Possession of hypodermic syringe

1 year

Conspiracy to violate controlled substance law

1 year

 

 

 

Hardship Reinstatement of License

 

 

Hardships are only granted to Massachusetts license holders. In order to apply for a hardship license, you must attend a hearing at any RMV Hearings Site.   A hardship will only be considered for the following offenses.  

 

  • Operating Under the Influence of Alcohol or Drugs
  • First Offense (24D) Alcohol or Drug Program
  • (94C) Drug Conviction
  • Habitual Traffic Offender

 

 

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 CONTACT AN EXPERT CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY

 

At the Law Offices of Michael R. St. Louis, we are fully prepared to handle your license suspension case. As a leading Boston criminal defense law firm, we can provide you with the legal representation you need to fight and win your case. Call our Law Offices today for your free consultation at 781-816-3950 or contact us online.

 

 

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