I have been charged with a motor vehicle offense in MA... Can I still drive?
If you’ve been charged with a motor vehicle offense, your ability to drive depends greatly on the circumstances and the offense charged. Sometimes the registry of motor vehicles provides inaccurate or outdated information to drivers, meaning your best course of action if charged with a motor vehicle offense is to consult an attorney prior to driving. While an attorney will be the best resource to determine whether or not you should drive, there are a number of guidelines that a person can follow to determine whether or not his or her license is valid and whether or not he or she can legally drive.
While many traffic offenses result in a simple ticket, some traffic offenses can result in much more severe penalties. For example, Massachusetts has strict Driving While Intoxicated, or DWI, laws. Recently revised by the legislature and dubbed “Melanie’s Law,” Massachusetts DWI laws include a number of new sentencing provisions for those suspected of DWI. According to Massachusetts law, when a DWI suspect is pulled over by police, the suspect has given implied consent for the officer to perform a blood alcohol test. This means if you are legally pulled over because an officer had probable cause to believe you were driving under the influence, that officer not only has the right to ask you to take the test, but you have already agreed to take such a test. Should you refuse such a test, your license will be automatically suspended for 180 days. If a driver has a prior DWI conviction on his record or is under the age of 21, the penalty for refusing to take the test goes from a 180 day license suspension to a three year long license suspension.
In addition to DWI defendants, habitual traffic offenders often face lengthy license suspension periods. A person is considered a habitual traffic offender when he or she receives a certain number of tickets in a specified period of time. Even before a defendant reaches the point of being legally considered a habitual traffic offender, if the driver has multiple violations on his record, a simple speeding ticket can trigger a mandatory period of license suspension. For example, if a driver is given three speeding tickets within a year, he faces a mandatory 30-day license suspension. In addition, if a defendant receives seven moving violations or surchargeable events within a three-year period, then the defendant’s license will automatically be revoked for a 60-day period. In many cases, a habitual traffic offender is given a 90-day period of time to complete a Driving Restraining Course. Even once the course is completed, however, the defendant is still required to give notice of the course’s completion to the Registry of Motor Vehicles as well as pay a $100 fee to have his license reinstated. Once a defendant becomes legally considered a habitual traffic offender, the defendant’s license will likely be revoked for a period of four years, pending the result of a hearing. Once that suspension period is over, the defendant must still pass a full driver’s license exam, pay $30 for a learner’s permit exam, $20 for a driving test, and $500 for the license to be reinstated.
If you have been charged with a motor vehicle crime, it is very important to speak with an experienced lawyer who can tell you whether or not you can still drive and who will do his best to make sure that you will not be convicted or punished. At Altman & Altman LLP, our attorneys have extensive experience handling Motor Vehicle Charges and Infractions.
Call the Experienced Criminal Defense Attorneys of Altman & Altman LLP Today at 617.492.3000 or 800.481.6199
If you have been charged with a motor vehicle offense and are unsure of whether you can still legally drive, it is important to call a lawyer right away so that you do not find yourself in more trouble. The criminal defense attorneys of Altman & Altman, LLP have been successfully handling motor vehicle crimes for almost 5 decades. We will be able to advise you as to your current ability to drive, and we can also explain your rights, options and best course of action. Call the exceptional criminal defense attorneys of Altman & Altman LLP toll free at 617.492.3000 or 800.481.6199 or contact us online for a free initial consultation. We are available 24 hours per day, 7 days per week to offer any assistance that you need.