Proposed Bill would Eliminate Drug Suspensions

In accordance with G.L. c. 90, §22(f), the Mass. Registry of Motor Vehicles suspends the driver’s licenses of those who have been convicted of drug offenses, irrespective of whether the crime involved a motor vehicle. Every year the Registry imposes approximately 7,000 drug suspensions, ranging from 1 to 5 years in length.  Massachusetts is one of 17 states in the U.S. where drug convictions will trigger mandatory license revocations.

There is currently legislation pending, at the Massachusetts Statehouse, which would terminate the longstanding practice of imposing automatic license suspensions for drug convictions. The Bill was filed in January of last year and it may be enacted in the near future. The Massachusetts Senate passed the Bill in May of this year.

The basis for the legislation is that having a suspended license, and a history of drug convictions, may hamper recovery efforts. The lack of a license makes it difficult for convicted drug offenders to find legitimate work. If the legislation passes, drug convictions would not appear on driving records and they would not trigger license suspensions. The Bill would also save convicted drug offenders from having to pay the $500.00 reinstatement fee which the Registry charges when someone reinstates from a drug related suspension.

Unless and until the legislation is enacted, if you lost your driver’s license due to a drug conviction, you can be considered for a hardship license at the Registry of Motor Vehicles or Board of Appeal. Where you go depends on your record. Those with multiple drug offenses must go to the Appeals Board. Clean urine screens and a substance abuse evaluation are critical.