Driving License Suspension for Drug Charges

Governor Baker signed a new law on March 30th 2016 that will end automatic license suspensions for people convicted of possessing or distributing illegal drugs.

Previous to signing the law on March 30th anyone who received a guilty on any drug charge would get a license suspension for one year—mandatory. And anyone who received a guilty finding on a distribution charge would receive a three-year license suspension. What was unique about the law when it was written in 1989 was that the suspension was mandatory and automatic-meaning the judge could not waive it or the district attorney could not refuse to impose it. Moreover, it did not matter if the drug offense a relationship or involvement with a motor vehicle. So, someone possessing some amount of illegal drug would lose their right to operate a motor vehicle. And for many people operating a motor vehicle is the method or mode that they generate an income or it is necessary component to getting to a place where they can support themselves or their family.

This law does not affect the ability of the police or district attorney to seize any motor vehicle that a drug dealer uses in the course of their drug dealing. This law signed on March 30th 2016, simply allows people to be held responsible for their drug offenses without impairing their ability to earn a living once they have paid that consequence.

Currently, there is not information as to how a person would expunge or renew their license if they are currently under suspension for drug related suspension-but we will keep you updated.


Section 4 of the Act:

The registrar of motor vehicles shall reinstate, issue or renew the license or right to operate a motor vehicle, without fee, of any person whose license or right to operate a motor vehicle has been suspended under subsection (f) of section 22 of chapter 90 of the General Laws, if the person is otherwise entitled to such reinstatement, issuance or renewal.