In the case of Commonwealth v. McCarthy, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court, which is the highest court in Massachusetts, upheld the use of automatic license plate readers by local and state police. These devices consist of software and hardware (cameras) which automatically read license plates on passing vehicles. Police can use these ALPR systems to automatically notify them of a person driving on a suspended license.
Privacy advocates such as the American Civil Liberties Union argued, unsuccessfully, that the use of this technology violated the constitutional protections against unreasonable searches. The court ultimately determined that the use of automatic license plate readers by Massachusetts police officers was constitutional.
This is an important ruling because whenever a police officer in Massachusetts checks a vehicle’s license he or she will receive an alert if the vehicle’s registered owner’s license is suspended or revoked. This alert allows police to stop the vehicle to see who is driving. If the driver is found to have a suspended license, he or she is subject to arrest and prosecution for operating after suspension.
These automatic license plate readers automatically scan license plates when vehicles drive past the cameras, which might be stationary and mounted to a fixed object such as a light pole or they might be mobile and attached to police cruisers.
Given the court’s approval for the use of this technology, it is risky to drive on a suspended license. Instead of risking arrest and prosecution, and a new license suspension, anyone with a revoked or suspended driver’s license should seriously consider applying for a hardship license or the early termination of the suspension.
With a hardship license, you can drive legally with no worries about being caught operating after suspension and having to face the harsh penalties and consequences triggered by a conviction. There is no need to risk arrest and prosecution when the law provides for a legal means to get your license back, even if it has been suspended for DUI, ignition interlock violations, or being declared a habitual traffic offender.