In a case recently decided by the Massachusetts Court of Appeals concerning the calculation of a driver’s license suspension as a result of DUI / OUI Charges, the Registry of Motor Vehicle must calculate the suspension period dating back to the date of conviction, and not the date on which the RMV is notified of the conviction.
In the case of Commonwealth v. William DiGregorio, the defendant had been convicted of Operating Under the Influence of Alcohol, 3rd Subsequent Offense in 2004 (in CT). He was previously convicted of drunk driving in Massachusetts in 1997, and in Connecticut in 2000. Massachusetts DUI laws provide for an 8 year loss of license upon a 3rd drunk driving conviction.
The Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles, however, did not learn of the 2004 OUI conviction until December 26, 2007, and then sent him a letter advising him that, effective January 5, 2008, his license would be suspended for 8 years, or until January 5, 2016.
The defendant, however, appealed the suspension, and the Appeals Court agreed with him that Massachusetts Drunk Driving Laws provide that the length of suspension for a DUI conviction must be calculated from the date of conviction, irrespective of when the RMV discovers or learns about the conviction.
The confusion in this case arose from the reporting and notification process concerning the National Driver Register, which is a national database of drivers who have been convicted or had their licenses suspended for serious traffic violations, such as DUI / OUI. When an outside state or jurisdiction suspends someones license, the agency reports that persons names to the National Driver Register. The persons home state, however, typically only discovers the out of state suspension if a specific search of the person is actively pursued.
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