Out of State Citation Triggers Mass. License Suspension

Hardship License Question:

Back in 2009 I was caught drinking underage and cited for it. I was not driving and was also told in order to drive in the state of Pennsylvania I would have to pay 25 dollars. Since I don’t go to PA, I felt no need to pay this ridiculous fine because I was not driving and didn’t even have a car at the time (my license was only 3-4 months old). Fast forward to today, I got a letter from the Massachusetts RMV that stating my license here would be suspended on December 8, 2012. (license is up for renewal in January) I’ve reached out to PennDOT and they said it would only affect my driving in PA. Then I reached out to a hearing officer at the Wilmington, MA Registry (5hr wait) where she said that she couldn’t extend the date that my Mass. License would be suspended and I must clear up what was done in Pennsylvania before I get my license back here in Massachusetts. My commute 6 days a week is 35-45 minutes a day. I’m not sure what to do and what I can do to get this fixed.

Answer:

PennDOT has you listed in the National Driver Register (NDR) as blocked, due to the Pennsylvania license suspension for being a minor in possession of alcohol. The National Driver Register was designed to prevent drivers from ignoring license suspensions, financial responsibility, citations, and other consequences occurring in states other than the driver’s home state. Basically, the NDR was designed to prevent people from doing what you did, ignoring a suspension in a state where you do not reside.

You cannot get a hardship license in Massachusetts while your right to drive is suspended in Pennsylvania and you’re blocked in the NDR, so you need to address the matter with the state of Pennsylvania. Once you’re reinstated in Pennsylvania, the Registry may want a certified copy of your PA driving record or “proof of findings” regarding the license suspension. This may trigger a corresponding license suspension in Massachusetts, pursuant to the law which states that the Registry is required to treat out of state convictions as if they had occurred here in Massachusetts. Therefore, since your right to operate was suspended due to a civil infraction in Pennsylvania, you may have to deal with an additional 180 day minor in possession of alcohol suspension in Massachusetts. If this happens, I may be able to get you a hardship license or early reinstatement, so long as you are no longer suspended in Pennsylvania.