RMV Drug Suspension Removal Procedures

Procedures to be followed by RMV Hearings Officers

94C offenders seeking relief will join the hearings queue as any other customer.

Hearing Officer will correct off (TRE) any 94C suspensions, trafficking not included.  The correction (TRE) will automatically eliminate the reinstatement fee associated with the 94C violation.

Hearing officer will enter uniform file note:

94C legislation – suspension cleared

Hearing officer will advise customer of their individual next steps. Example of next steps:

  • Order duplicate driver’s license
  • Take permit test, road test
  • Advise hardship customers they may receive a 24/7 license by paying duplicate fee
  • Advise customer the 94C reinstatement fee is waived, but they owe $___ for any other expired suspensions
  • Advise customer they have additional active suspensions preventing reinstatement at this time

As is done today, the Hearing Officer will provide print-outs to customer for branch staff on related fees owed and transactions the customer is now eligible to/required to perform

Hearing Officer will direct customers to Green Line if eligible for additional transactions today.

Anyone seeking a shielded driving record– will not be available until October. The legislation requires shielding of all drug offenses (except trafficking), all expired warrants and all expired child support obligations. The law gives the Registry 6 months to implement.

Procedures to be followed by RMV Customer Service Reps.

94C offenders seeking relief will join the hearings queue as any other customer

Customer will have hearing

Customer will return to Green Line and join established queue

Customer will present to CSR with information on any fee owed and their desired transaction

Branch will process according to policy. The only change is that you will NOT collect a 94C reinstatement fee

To allow for uniform data collection and tracking, please enter the following into override log:

94C legislation-suspension fee waived

Quick reminders:

The customer is required to pay a duplicate license fee or renewal fee

The customer is required to pay the permit fee and road test fee

Customers who previously paid a 94C reinstatement fee are NOT eligible for a refund. The legislation does not provide for this.

Customers needing a road test will schedule using the established procedure.

License Reinstatements for MA Drug Offenders

On March 30, 2016, Governor Baker signed into law “An Act Relative to Motor Vehicle License Suspension” making operators with certain prior drug convictions eligible for immediate license reinstatement. For more information on how impacted customers may begin the license reinstatement process, please see the suspensions section of MassRMV.com.  Customers seeking reinstatement must visit a branch and see a hearings officer. In addition, the RMV is preparing to mail individualized letters to certain impacted customers on their specific reinstatement steps and requirements.  All persons who believe they are eligible for relief under this new law should update their address with the RMV immediately.

An Act Relative to Motor Vehicle License Suspensionwas signed by Governor Baker on Wednesday, March 30, 2016. The law allows for the immediate license reinstatement for operators with certain prior drug convictions. Since the late 1980s, the law called for the RMV to impose an automatic license suspension for convictions under Mass General Law Chapter 94C. The new legislation eliminates suspensions for all drug offenses except for trafficking in a controlled substance (except for Marijuana Trafficking). In order to serve the customers who may now be eligible for reinstatement, the RMV intends to mail letters to provide certain impacted individuals with personalized actions steps toward license reinstatement. The steps for license reinstatement will vary depending upon each individual’s record. An individual with any active, non-drug related suspensions may not be eligible for reinstatement. In order to be reinstated, customers must visit an RMV Branch offering suspension hearings and meet with a hearings officer. Hearings are held on a walk-in, first come serve basis in the following locations, please note that service hours vary by location. Locations/Service hours are below.

The legislation waives reinstatement fees only. Customers seeking reinstatement will be required to pay permit and road test fees, if the customer has been suspended for more than two-years. As a matter of public safety, and accordance with existing Registry policy, all operators who have been suspended for more than two-years or have had an expired licenses for more than four-years, are required to take the written permit test at a branch location as well as a road test. License duplicate or license renewal fees also apply to all customers seeking reinstatement.

The following forms of payment are accepted for all the transactions listed below: Cash, check (payable to MassDOT), money order, or credit/debit card.

  • Permit/Written Test $30
  • Road Test $35
  • Class D/Passenger Duplicate License $25
  • Class D/Passenger License Renewal $50 (customers may renew up to one year in advance of expiration)

The legislation does not provide for reimbursement, or a refund, of reinstatement fees previously paid on 94C offenses.

The legislation requires the RMV to shield from public release any drug offenses, expect for those convicted of trafficking in a controlled substance, as well as any expired warrants or expired child support obligations. The legislation provides the RMV with 6 months to complete this technical phase of the project. Shielded records will not be available until October of 2016. Any driving record ordered prior to October 2016 will contain drug offenses and both historical and current warrant and child support obligation information.

Customers also must address any outstanding financial obligations such as any state or excise taxes, child support payments, parking tickets, or E-ZPass violations.

Branches with Hearing Hours:

  • Boston, Monday through Friday, 9am to 5pm
  • Braintree, Monday/Tuesday/Wednesday/Friday from 9am to 5pm, Thursdays 10am to 5pm
  • Fall River, Monday/Tuesday/Wednesday/Friday from 9am to 5pm, Thursdays 10am to 5pm
  • Lawrence, Monday/Tuesday/Wednesday/Friday from 9am to 5pm, Thursdays 10am to 5pm
  • Pittsfield, Wednesdays, 9am to 4pm
  • South Yarmouth, Monday & Tuesday, 9am to 5pm
  • Springfield, Monday/Tuesday/Wednesday/Friday from 9am to 5pm, Thursdays 10am to 5pm
  • Wilmington, Monday & Tuesday, 9am to 5pm
  • Worcester, Monday/Tuesday/Wednesday/Friday from 9am to 5pm, Thursdays 10am to 5pm

If you are denied reinstatement under this law, you have the right to be represented by a lawyer and to appeal the denial to the Board of Appeal.

New Ignition Interlock Bill Proposed

statehouseThere is currently a bill pending at the Massachusetts Statehouse which would replace the current hardship licensing program with ignition interlock licenses. If enacted, this bill would require first offenders to have ignition interlock restricted licenses and it would also allow all repeat DUI offenders, regardless of the number of prior drunk driving convictions appearing on the person’s record, to apply for an “ignition interlock license.”

Senator James Timility of Walpole sponsored the bill and it is currently under consideration by the Joint Committee on Transportation. A hearing on the proposed legislation was conducted in November of last year and it has received some media attention.

The proposed law has no waiting periods for these licenses so that DUI offenders could apply to MassDOT immediately after conviction. The proposed legislation also allows for the issuance of IID restricted licenses during chemical test refusal suspensions. Currently, repeat offenders who refused  breath tests are not able to get hardship licenses while the breathalyzer refusal suspension is in effect. The proposed law would, if passed, would allow someone who is arrested for DUI to seek a driver’s license while the DUI case is being litigated. Refusal suspensions range in length from 6 months up to lifetime.

The basis for the proposed law change is statistics which show that many convicted drunk drivers who have had their driver’s licenses suspended or revoked continue to drive anyway. The theory behind the bill is that the public will be protected because these drivers will be able to lawfully drive, so long as they are only operating ignition interlock device equipped motor vehicles. The IID  would prevent the person’s vehicle from starting if his blood alcohol level registered at or above .02. Evidence of circumvention, disconnection, and/or failed rolling retests result in the driver being called in for a hearing.

The bill basically terminates drunk driving license suspensions generated by convictions, alcohol education program assignments, pleas, and breath test refusals with the issuance of ignition interlock restricted licenses. Unlike Massachusetts hardship licenses, which are valid only for 12 hours each day, these restricted driver’s licenses would be valid for 24 hours a day. It basically replaces hardship licenses with interlock licenses and allows offenders to apply for these licenses immediately, with no waiting period. Offenders would have a choice – agree to enroll in the IID program or give up the right to drive. These devices cost approximately $100.00 per month and they must be monitored, calibrated, and downloaded on a monthly basis.

Ignition Interlocks are not new to Massachusetts. We have been using them here since Melanie’s Law was enacted on January 1, 2006. Currently, all repeat OUI offenders must use the IID for the entire term of any hardship license and for a minimum of 2 full years after getting the hours removed and obtaining a fulltime right to operate.