License Suspended in Another State – Will Massachusetts Find Out?

If you suffer an out of state suspension or revocation, then the state where the incident occurred will notify the driver’s home state using the National Driver Register. Massachusetts will receive a notification that states your rights to operate a motor vehicle have been revoked or suspended in another state. At that time, the Register of Motor Vehicles (RMV) will automatically send you a notice stating that your Massachusetts license is suspended.

How Long Does the Suspension in Another State Last?

Any time your Massachusetts driver’s license or your license to operate in another state has been revoked or suspended then you must pursue reinstatement within that state before you can resolve the revocation in Massachusetts. Please be aware, that on the day that the suspension takes effect then the out-of-state suspension will remain in effect until a resolution is reached.

The Driver License Compact (DLC)

Your driving record goes with you anywhere you go in the United States thanks to the Driver License Compact (DLC). The interstate agreement enables the exchange of mass information about traffic violations, revocation, and suspension. They operate under the motto “One Driver, One License, One Record.”  Traffic offenses that occur in another state are treated the same as if they happened in the state that issued your license.

Please be aware, this is limited to moving violations and does not include parking tickets. Any time your license is suspended in another state then the suspension will be upheld in almost all other states, including MA. Also, if you apply for a license your suspension will more than likely prevent you from obtaining a new license. Your name will be checked when you try to get a license with the National Driver Register (NDR) to determine if you have any suspension or revocations.

The DLC is not just interstate but in many cases, it is also international. Many of the states also share information with Canada.

What Happens When the Suspension is Resolved?

If your out-of-state suspension is resolved, then you will need to obtain a Clearance Letter and a copy of your current driving record that is not more than thirty days old from the state where the suspension occurred. Then you can take the information to the RMV Service Center.

The RMV must manually remove the suspension or revocation. If the suspension has taken effect in Massachusetts, then you will need to pay a $100 reinstatement fee.

Any out of state offense that involves operating under the influence of alcohol or drugs or if the incident that took place involved vehicular homicide/manslaughter then you will need to submit the following to a hearings officer:

  • Certified 30-day driving history from the state where the offense occurred
  • Court abstract with disposition information
  • Reinstatement letter from the state of violation that is current within 30 days

How are Out-of-state Offenses Treated?

All offenses are treated as if they occurred in Massachusetts if you have a Mass state license. Your record will undergo RMV review and compared to similar existing state laws and then have the penalties applied to the matching offenses.

  • If your Massachusetts driver’s license undergoes a revocation or suspension from another jurisdiction then you will face an indefinite suspension until your right to operate a motor vehicle is restored in the other jurisdiction or state.
  • Any Massachusetts driver convicted of a violation in another state or jurisdiction will also have the suspension go into effect for either the period outlined by the Massachusetts General Laws or by the state where the violation occurred (whichever one is greater).

You cannot avoid a license suspension from another state in the digital era. If you commit a motor vehicle violation in a state other than Mass then you will still be held accountable due to the National Driver Register and the Nonresident Violator Compact, which Massachusetts is an active member of both.

Resolving any out of state suspensions is difficult and confusing. In many situations, the only option that you have to restore your license is to retain the assistance of a skilled attorney. Please remember that you must resolve all NDR suspensions before you try to obtain a hardship license or have a hearing.

When Massachusetts learns that your license has been suspended in another state then you will need to seek the help of a qualified attorney.

Please contact Oberhauser Law to schedule a consultation with Attorney Gregory Oberhauser who is experienced with driver’s licence issues in Massachusetts.


Attorney Gregory Oberhauser

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Gregory Oberhauser is the ONLY attorney in Massachusetts to be distinguished as an ACS-CHAL Forensic Lawyer-Scientist by the American Chemical Society!

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