The Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles will penalize you for knowingly allowing an unlicensed driver or someone whose license is suspended or revoked to operate your motor vehicle. Criminalized as part of Melanie’s Law, G.L. c. 90 § 12 makes it a criminal offense to allow an improper person to drive your motor vehicle. A conviction may result in the revocation of your vehicle’s registration and license plates as well as your driver’s license for up to one year.
The law also prohibits a vehicle’s owner from knowingly allowing someone whose license is ignition interlock restricted from driving a motor vehicle which is not equipped with a certified and functioning ignition interlock device.
Prior to the suspension of your driver’s license, right to operate, or automobile registration, the Registry is required to send you suspension notice and provide you with an opportunity to attend a Registry hearing. You can have legal representation at this hearing and it is usually a good idea to have a lawyer represent you.
In addition to the license suspensions and registration revocations which may follow a conviction for allowing an improper person to operate, a violation of this law can be used as evidence of negligence in a civil suit resulting from a personal injury or property damage accident. A conviction can constitute negligent entrustment of a motor vehicle.
If your driver’s license or right to operate a motor vehicle in Massachusetts is suspended or revoked for allowing improper operation, you cannot get a hardship license directly from the Registry of Motor Vehicles. However, there is a state agency known as the Board of Appeal which may issue a finding and order to the Registrar directing the issuance of a hardship license or early reinstatement.