The Registry of Motor Vehicles calculates breathalyzer refusal and drunk driving license suspensions based on your number of prior DUI convictions, regardless of whether the court system treated you as a first, second, third, or fourth offender. For license suspension purposes, all that matters is the number of prior DUI convictions, as reflected in the official records of the Registrar. Under Melanie’s law, when determining the length of a DUI license suspension, it does not matter when or where prior DUI convictions occurred. The Registry can count of state convictions and there is no limit to how back the Registry can go.
Whether you are being considered for a hardship or full license, all Massachusetts Registry hearings officers are required to perform nationwide DMV record checks to see if you have any prior DUI convictions. If found, these will be added to your Massachusetts Driving Record and your suspension will be re-calculated based on the prior drunk driving convictions.
If, for example, you were only charged as a second offender and given a corresponding 2 year loss of license in court, and your RMV record shows a prior DUI conviction, the Registry will revoke your license for 8 years instead of 2 years. Notwithstanding the 2 year suspension ordered by the court, the 8 year revocation is valid, as you have 3 total DUI convictions.
The law governing the length of license suspensions establishes penalties based only on the convicted person’s prior Registry record and not whether prior OUI offenses were proven in court, beyond a reasonable doubt. The OUI defendant’s prior record serves as prima facie evidence of the previous convictions and, unless these convictions are refuted, the Mass. RMV will use them to calculate the length of OUI suspensions.
If you have a question regarding the length or legality of a license suspension, contact Attorney Brian E. Simoneau for a free review and analysis of your record.