Out of State Violations & your Mass. License

In most cases, you cannot escape a license suspension or other punishment when you commit a motor vehicle law violation in a state other than your home state or the state which licenses you. This means that if you are a Massachusetts resident and you commit motor vehicle violations on while on vacation in Florida, for example, you will be held responsible for those violations due to the National Driver Register and the Nonresident Violator Compact, of which Massachusetts is a party.

The purpose of the Nonresident Violators Compact is to permit those nonresident drivers who possess a valid out of state driver’s license to be issued traffic citation for certain infractions and to be allowed to proceed on their way rather than be arrested and having to post bail or remain in police custody to insure that the driver appears in court for the hearing.

When a driver fails to pay a citation or appear at hearing for an out of state violation, the Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles is required to suspend that driver’s license here in Massachusetts, indefinitely, until the out of state matter is resolved to the satisfaction of the other state’s motor vehicle department (DMV).

If your license is indefinitely revoked due to a National Driver Register (NDR) issue, you have a right to a hearing at the Registry of Motor Vehicles and you have the absolute right to be represented by a lawyer at that hearing. However, you cannot get a hardship license while you are serving an indefinite NDR suspension, unless the state where the suspension originated grants you hardship or limited driving privileges, and then you can only get a hardship license by appearing before the Board of Appeal and not from the Registry directly.

Only two issues can be raised during a NDR suspension hearing at the Massachusetts RMV. The purpose of this hearing is to afford the driver, whose license has just been indefinitely suspended, an opportunity to show either (1) that he or she is not the same person who was cited for the violation and the Registry has suspended the driver’s license in error or (2) the citation and out of state suspension has been resolved, so that the Registry should reinstate the person’s Massachusetts license. These hearings are not intended to determine the guilt or innocence as to the charged out of state automobile law violation, as MassDOT has no jurisdiction to make that determination.  A decision regarding guilty or innocence can only be made in the state where the violation occurred and where the citation was issued.

Resolving out of state suspensions can be frustrating, confusing, and sometimes difficult. Fortunately, you can retain a lawyer who can help guide you through this process, which can sometimes be complex.

All active out of state NDR suspensions must be resolved prior to appearing at a hardship license hearing on another suspension.