Operating on a Suspended License in Massachusetts

Were you arrested for operating on a suspended license?

A criminal charge that is very much taken seriously, an Operating on a Suspended License charge can taint your criminal record.  You may not have been aware that your license was suspended, and this can happen for a variety of legitimate reasons.

The following information from DMV.org covers the topic of suspended licenses in Massachusetts.  Read this information to answer any questions you may have about your suspended driver’s license, and contact us if you have further questions you need answered.

Suspended License in Massachusetts

Check Your License Status

Get your personal drivers´ license history instantly and online. Find out what information is on your driving record with a BackgroundChecks.com Instant Motor Vehicle Report. Keep in mind, you can only run an instant motor vehicle report on yourself.

Whenever you need or want to check the status of your driver’s license, you can order a driving record report. This record will spell out if your driver’s license is currently valid. Should your license have been revoked or suspended, the report will indicate that according to what’s on record at the RMV. This report will also show points against your license and, in some cases, information on any accidents you have had.

Privilege or Right?

Driving in Massachusetts is a privilege authorized by the Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles. But the RMV can also take away your driving privileges, either temporarily (a suspension), or permanently (a revocation). A suspension or revocation is about the worst thing that can happen in terms of a punishment for motor vehicle violations, and it’s easier to get one than you might think.

Automatic Suspensions

The Massachusetts RMV will automatically suspend your driver’s license in the following cases:

  • Three speeding violations in one year (30 days, $100 reinstatement fee).
  • Five surchargeable events in three years (Complete driver retraining in 90 days or indefinite suspension, $100 reinstatement fee).
  • Seven surchargeable events in three years (60 days and $100 reinstatement fee).
  • Habitual traffic offender (four years, $500 reinstatement fee).
  • Out-of-state suspension or revocation (revoked until suspension is lifted in that state, $100 reinstatement fee).

Criminal Suspensions

If you are convicted of a major motor vehicle criminal offense, plan on losing your license for more than a year in many cases. And be prepared to pay a large reinstatement fee if and when you ever get your license back:

  • Stealing a motor vehicle: one to three years, $500 reinstatement fee.
  • Leaving the scene of an accident with injuries: one to two years, $500 reinstatement fee.
  • Leaving the scene of an accident with property damage: 60 days to one year, $500 reinstatement fee.
  • Driving to endanger: 60 days to one year, $500 reinstatement fee.
  • Motor vehicle homicide: 15 years to life, $500 reinstatement fee.
  • Vehicular manslaughter: 15 years to life, $500 reinstatement fee.
  • Driving while under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs: one year to life, up to $1,200 reinstatement fee.

Discretionary Suspensions

The RMV can decide to suspend or revoke your license in any of the following discretionary situations:

  • If you are determined to be an immediate threat to public safety and must be removed from the road.
  • If you are determined to have improperly operated a motor vehicle.

As you can see, both of these are pretty general statements, giving the RMV a lot of leeway in deciding when to make discretionary suspensions or revocations.

Junior Operator License Suspensions

Many new penalties and restrictions have been recently added and amended.

Other Reasons for Suspension

The RMV is also allowed to suspend your license for many reasons that have nothing to do with driving a motor vehicle, including the following:

  • Using a fake ID.
  • Failing to comply with a child support enforcement order.
  • Failure to appear on an outstanding arrest or default warrant.
  • Failure to register as a sex offender.
  • Being convicted of a drug offense.

What Happens

Once your driver’s license is suspended or revoked, you must stop driving. If you are caught driving on a suspended license, kiss the idea of getting your license back anytime soon good-bye. You can lose your license for up to one year if caught driving on a suspended license. Plus, you should be prepared to pay a major fine ($500) and you could even face jail time.

You can ask for a hearing on your license suspension. Hearings are held on a walk-in basis at RMV offices. Hearings offices cannot decide guilt or innocence, only if the proper rules were applied when the suspension was originally given.

Hardship License

You can receive a hardship license after suspension if you can prove that you meet detailed criteria for reinstatement. Hardship licenses are granted at the discretion of the RMV in cases where a driver’s license is needed to get to work, receive medical treatment, or attend school.

You will be expected to make your case to an officer at an RMV Suspension Hearing, which is held on a walk-in basis at several different RMV branch sites.
When applying for a hardship license, you need to arrive at the branch office by 4 p.m. Expect waits of up to an hour.

The RMV strongly recommends that you review written eligibility rules for your specific type of suspension prior to the hearing:

If you are granted a hardship license, you will need to pay the standard fees for license reinstatement. The cost ranges from $100 to $1,200, depending on the offense.


Once your suspension is over, you may need to appear for a hearing at the Boston RMV office in order to reinstate your license. Please call (617) 351-7200 to find out if you need to appear in person.

If your license was suspended or revoked, be prepared to pay a reinstatement fee when your license is reinstated. This fee ranges from $100-$1,200, depending on the offense.

From driving under the influence to driving without insurance, failing to appear for a scheduled court date to engaging in reckless driving, there are a number of reasons why you may have been charged with operating with a suspended license.  Having your Massachusetts driver’s license suspended is no small matter, and it’s something you want to address immediately.

If your license has been suspended, or if you’re facing any other kinds of motor vehicle offenses, call the traffic lawyers at Revelli & Luzzo in Worcester, MA.  We are experienced criminal defense attorneys who will fight to keep your record clean.  Contact us today to request your free consultation.  You have nothing to lose.

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