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OUT OF STATE SUSPENSIONS (NDR SUSPENSIONS)

Under Mass.Gen.L. ch. 90, § 22(c), the Registry of Motor Vehicles can suspend the license of a Massachusetts licensee for any offense that occurred in another state as if the offense had occurred in Massachusetts. This is particularly important to Operating under the influence case that occurred in another state.

The relevant portion of Mass.Gen.L. ch. 90, § 22(c) is as follows:

If the registrar receives official notice, in any form which the registrar deems appropriate, including electronic transmissions, that a resident of the commonwealth or any person licensed to operate a motor vehicle under the provisions of this chapter has been convicted in another state or country of a motor vehicle violation, the registrar shall give the same effect to said conviction for the purposes of suspension, revocation, limitation or reinstatement of the right to operate a motor vehicle, as if said violation had occurred in the commonwealth.

THE NDR DATABASE AND PREVIOUS CONVICTIONS

For instance, let say you had an Operating under the influence case in New Hampshire in 1995 and you plead guilty or admitted to a lesser offense in New Hampshire, it is likely that Massachusetts never knew about the case. Unfortunately, the Registry of Motor Vehicles is now connected to the NDR database and has the ability to track this information. If the Registrar discovers this information, you will get a letter from the Registrar indicating that you will now be suspended in Massachusetts for the 1995 New Hampshire offense. The suspension will be for 1 year if it is your first offense.

There are ways to reduce the suspension, but it is very complicated and requires strategy. You should contact an attorney knowledgeable in dealing with this issue. To handle this by yourself is not advisable, remember this is your license and the registry is not concerned about your bills or your family, they have rules and protocols to follow and do not make exceptions.

IF YOUR FIRST NDR SUSPENSION WAS IN ANOTHER STATE

Citizens of Massachusetts should also realize that if a NDR suspension is for Operating under the Influence it counts as a first offense and any subsequent problems charges in Massachusetts for operating under the influence will be treated as a second offense by the Registrar, regardless of how the Courts treat the case. For example, if you were charged as a first offense Operating under the Influence and the Court gave you the so called “first offenders program” with a 45 day license loss, the Registry of Motor Vehicles will suspend your license as if you are a second offense, that is for 2 years, not 45 days. Additionally, you will need to meet the requirements of a second offense for purposes of a hardship license, i.e completion of a 14 day inpatient treatment facility and 26 weeks of aftercare, despite the fact that the Court did not order such programs.

However, there is a way to reverse the determination of the Registrar through an appeal process. Again, the Board of Appeals hearing requires preparation and strategy. To handle this by yourself is not advisable, it is your license and your livelihood.