Whether you are passing through, visiting, or recently moved to the Commonwealth, having an out-of-state driver’s license when you’ve been pulled over for an OUI/DUI/DWI in Massachusetts further complicates matters. In Massachusetts, OUI charges and convictions have serious consequences, including hefty fines, license suspensions/revocations, probation and possibly jail time. In cases where the defendant’s driver’s license is from another state, information pertaining to the arrest will likely be shared with the registry / department of motor vehicles in the offending operator’s home state. As such, the consequences are not limited to the penalties imposed by the court and Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles (RMV).
The National Driver’s License Registry (NDLR) is an agreement between states to share license information, including OUI/DUI convictions. Consequently, member states enter out-of-state OUI/DUI convictions into the registry to notify the offender’s home state. Although Massachusetts is not a member of the NDLR, the RMV will generally notify the offender’s home state of the individuals’ OUI/DUI charges, particularly if the offender is from a surrounding or nearby state. Due to the recent public scrutiny, the Massachusetts RMV is more likely than ever to share information of an out-of-state offender’s DUI charges.
Consequences of Massachusetts Sharing License Information with Your Home State
While Massachusetts cannot suspend an out-of-state driver’s license per se, following an arrest for OUI/DUI, the state will suspend your driving privileges in the Commonwealth and most likely notify your home state of the arrest and charges. Although the length of the suspension can differ, home states may suspend the offender’s license for the same period of time imposed by Massachusetts. Additionally, your driving privileges in Massachusetts are not automatically reinstated at the end of the suspension of your right to operate in the Commonwealth and you need to contact the Massachusetts RMV for reinstatement.
Most OUI charges where the driver has an out-of-state license involve people from neighboring states, including Rhode Island, New Hampshire, Connecticut, and Maine. Although some of the penalties and suspension in neighboring states may be the same or similar to Massachusetts, each state has separate laws and penalties so it is necessary to contact an attorney in your home state to discuss the potential impact, including a possible suspension/revocation of your driver’s license in your home state.
In Rhode Island, a member of the Interstate Driver’s License Compact, if a driver with one previous DUI more than five years prior is charged with another DUI the operator would be charged with a first offense and face a potential minimum license suspension/revocation of three months. Whereas in Massachusetts, it would be charged as a second offense with a two year license loss.
Interestingly, for an OUI/DUI conviction that occurs in another state, Rhode Island overlooks its own laws and imposes similar penalties as the state where the conviction occurred. Therefore, as a Rhode Island license holder with a prior DUI conviction, Rhode Island will likely suspend your driver’s license for two years if convicted of another OUI in Massachusetts and notified by the RMV.
While Connecticut does not automatically apply Massachusetts laws or penalties for OUI/DUI convictions in the Commonwealth, a Massachusetts OUI conviction could seriously impact your Connecticut driver’s license. Connecticut will factor in prior offenses and the resolution of those cases when determining potential penalties. The state of Connecticut is also a member of the Interstate Driver’s License Compact.
In Maine, the state typically suspends a driver’s license for one year if the operator is under 21 or 180 days if 21 years of age or older for first offense OUI/DUI. Maine is a member of the Interstate Driver’s License Compact.
New Hampshire is a participating member of the Interstate Driver’s License Compact and, like Rhode Island, generally honors Massachusetts OUI/DUI laws. However, qualifying first-time offenders can reduce their license suspension by taking state-sponsored courses.
Related Content: First Offense OUI in MA | Second Offense OUI in MA | Fourth Offense OUI in MA | OUI with Out of State License
Massachusetts has some of the most complex and strict OUI/DUI laws in the country. A Massachusetts OUI conviction commonly results in probation, expensive fines, a lengthy license suspension, and, in some cases, jail. Individuals with out-of-state licenses charged with DUI in Massachusetts potentially face harsher penalties than they would in their home state for a similar offense. For instance, Massachusetts may consider your OUI a subsequent offense in cases where the out-of-state driver’s home state would charge it as a first offense.
If you have an out-of-state license and are facing an OUI/DUI charge in Massachusetts, we aggressively defend your rights and guide you through the legal process in Massachusetts. At Riccio Law, we will speak with a DUI lawyer in your home state to assist with educating you on the laws and potential penalties in the state where your driver’s license was issued. Contact our offices today for a free case evaluation.