Massachusetts RMV Scandal and License Suspension

Imagine this: one day you open your mail to discover your license has been suspended for a violation that occurred months, maybe even years, ago. How did this happen? And what can you do?

A scandal has engulfed the Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles this summer, one which promises not to end any time soon. While the scandal suggests a long-term investigation to turn over every rock, hundreds and hundreds of Massachusetts drivers have already been affected in the short-term by having their licenses suspected. Many more may also soon find their licenses suspended as the RMV races to repair its image.

In June, Massachusetts-licensed commercial driver Volodymyr Zhukovskyy killed seven members of a veterans’ motorcycle club. Zhukovskyy had a commercial license in Massachusetts despite previous, serious driving infractions. Most recently, he had been arrested for drunk driving in Connecticut the previous month. Despite this, the Massachusetts RMV had not processed the Connecticut agency’s report and had not suspended his license. When Zhukovskyy struck the motorcyclists, he was high and also drinking.

Following the accident, it was revealed that the Massachusetts RMV had received tens of thousands of similar notifications from other states’ motor vehicle agencies about serious violations committed by Massachusetts-licensed drivers. Since this revelation, the Head of the Registrar of Motor Vehicles Erin Deveney has resigned and the RMV has sent hundreds of suspension notices to Massachusetts drivers.

In 2008, an auditor found similar problems at the RMV. The audit found that the RMV was unable to track drivers’ history, even for serious offenses, in part because trial court findings were not being turned over to the agency in a prompt manner.

Troubling as this is, the reverse, disturbingly, is also true. The RMV has the right to revoke a license immediately following a DUI arrest or a breathalyzer refusal, but even when a driver is found innocent of a charge, he or she has to petition the RMV for reinstatement. Shockingly, the RMV even has guidelines for what to do when they reject a first reinstatement request after someone has been found innocent of DUI!

There is clearly a disconnect between the RMV and the courts, a disconnect which has prioritized the RMV’s convenience over protecting the public or restoring the rights of law-abiding drivers.

While the scandal works its way through the RMV, it is important for drivers who have suddenly had their licenses suspended to contact a lawyer. Our attorneys are experienced in defending clients from DUI and other vehicle-related charges. Give us a call today; you should not have to face the consequences of bureaucracy alone.

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