According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), there were 10,874 fatalities in 2017 due to car accidents involving a drunk driver, which the NHTSA defines as a driver with a blood alcohol content level of .08% or higher. This means that there was a fatality due to a drunk driving accident every 48 minutes in the United States that year, and of the fatalities that occurred, 68%, or about 7,368 fatalities, involved at least one driver with a BAC of .15%, nearly double the legal limit in all 50 states, or higher. In other words, DUI is a problem in every state, not just Massachusetts.
In fact, according to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), over one million people were arrested for DUI nationwide in 2016, and these arrests represent only one percent of the 111 million cases of self-reported instances of alcohol-impaired driving nationwide. So, due to the fact that you can be charged with a DUI anywhere at any time, the state of Massachusetts has implemented certain rules regarding out-of-state OUIs that you need to be aware of because violating these rules could land you in even deeper legal trouble than the DUI itself.
What Happens if I get Charged with a DUI Outside of the State?
When you are charged with an out-of-state DUI, the state where the offense was committed will more than likely suspend your driver’s license, and as a part of that process, the state is required to notify the Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles (RMV) office that your license has been suspended or that you have committed an out of state traffic infraction. As a result, the RMV will do one of two things:
- If the state where you committed the DUI automatically suspends your license due the crime you were charged with, the RMV will suspend your license indefinitely. You will have to have your license reinstated in the other state, and after that, you will be required to attend an RMV hearing in order to have your license reinstated in Massachusetts.
- If the state where you committed the DUI doesn’t automatically suspend your license due to the crime you were charged with, then the RMV will suspend your license based on Massachusetts law as if you had committed the OUI in our state.
In many states, being charged with a DUI means that your license will be immediately suspended. As such, the first scenario referenced above is the most common scenario for out of state DUI defendants.
Out of State DUI Charge
The punishments for DUI can vary significantly from state to state, but in order to get your license reinstated in Massachusetts, you will have to first get your license reinstated in the stated where you committed the DUI. As such, you should consider hiring a DUI attorney that practices law within that state to help you navigate the judicial process. More than likely, you can expect to pay fines, enter into probation, or serve jail time in order to resolve the DUI in the other state. Once you have fully resolved the DUI charge, you will need to attend an RMV hearing in order to have your license reinstated.
RMV Hearings for an Out of State DUI
The rules regarding an RMV hearing are very different than a legal proceeding in a court of law. You are allowed to have an attorney present at your own expense. An attorney will not be provided for you at an RMV hearing. Moreover, you will need to produce documentation that shows that the out-of-state DUI has been resolved. The following types of documents are acceptable:
- A certified driving history from the state where the DUI was committed. The history must be 30 days old or less at the time of the hearing.
- Court records demonstrating the disposition of your DUI charge
- A letter of reinstatement from the state where the DUI was committed. The letter must be 30 days old or less at the time of the hearing.
The hearing officer that ultimately decides whether or not your license will be reinstated is given a large amount of discretion by law. Moreover, there are certain rules that might prohibit the hearing officer from reinstating your license immediately. For example, if the state where you committed the DUI suspends your license for a shorter period of time than it would have been suspended under Massachusetts law, your license will be suspended in Massachusetts for the longer of the two periods and vice versa. Moreover, the RMV hearing officer will scrutinize your things such as your past driving record and criminal record, which is why hiring an OUI attorney to represent you at the RMV hearing can prove to be a valuable investment in the end.
Massachusetts OUI Attorney
At Coughlin Law Group, our criminal defense attorney has years of experience in both helping OUI defendants seek the best possible resolution to their case and representing individuals during RMV hearings. Don’t let an out-of-state OUI ruin your future. Call the OUI attorney at Coughlin Law Group today for a free consultation to find out how our team can help you.