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Can Your License Be Suspended For Having Too Many Points in Massachusetts?

By The Law Office of Brett V. Beaubien

May 16, 2024

Can Your License Be Suspended For Having Too Many Points in Massachusetts?

In Massachusetts, the Registry of Motor Vehicles (RMV) operates a merit-based system known as the Safe Driver Insurance Plan (SDIP), which tracks driving infractions using a point system. Points, or surchargeable events, are added to a driver’s record for various violations, including speeding, at-fault accidents, or running a red light. The accumulation of points can lead to increased insurance premiums and, in certain cases, the suspension of a driver’s license. It is crucial for drivers to understand how this point system works, as it directly impacts their driving privileges within the state.

The consequences of accruing too many points are outlined by the RMV, with specific thresholds triggering different actions. For instance, if a driver accumulates a certain number of points within a predefined time period, they may be mandated to take a defensive driving course, receive a warning notice, or face a license suspension. The duration of the suspension generally depends on the severity and quantity of the infractions, as well as the driver’s prior record.

It is important to note that points from out-of-state traffic violations can also affect a Massachusetts driver’s record. This is because Massachusetts is part of the Driver License Compact, an agreement between states to share information about driving record infractions. Thus, Massachusetts drivers must exhibit careful driving behavior both in-state and out-of-state to avoid negative repercussions on their driving record and license status.

Understanding the Massachusetts Point System

In Massachusetts, the Safe Driver Insurance Plan (SDIP) is the point system used to assess driving records. It directly affects a driver’s insurance premiums and eligibility for driving.

How Points Are Assessed

When a driver commits a traffic violation in Massachusetts, points are assigned to their driving record. The number of points, called surcharge points, is determined by the severity of the offense. Here are some examples of violations and their respective point values:

  • Minor Traffic Violation (e.g., speeding ticket): 2 points
  • Major Traffic Violation (e.g., DUI): 5 points
  • At-Fault Accident:
    • Minor (less than $1,000 in damage): 3 points
    • Major ($2,000 or more in damage): 4 points

Each violation remains on the driver’s record for six years, affecting their SDIP rating.

Consequences of Accumulating Points

The accumulation of surcharge points has the following implications for Massachusetts drivers:

  • Increased Insurance Premiums: More points lead to higher car insurance costs.
  • License Suspension: If a driver accumulates a certain number of points, the Registry of Motor Vehicles (RMV) may suspend their license.
Points RangePotential Consequence
3 Surcharge EventsMandatory Driver Retraining Course
7 Points in 3 YearsLicense suspension
12 Points in 3 YearsLicense suspension

For those facing license suspension disputes, consulting a lawyer in MA for license suspension disputes can be critical. They may be able to help mitigate the consequences or contest the surcharge points.

Driver Holding His Head And A Police Officer Handing Him A Breathalyser Test

The License Suspension Process

In Massachusetts, a driver may have their license suspended if they accumulate too many points on their driving record through the Safe Driver Insurance Plan (SDIP). Understanding the steps for license suspension is critical for drivers facing this issue.

Notification and Hearing

The Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles (RMV) issues a Notice of Suspension to drivers who are at risk of license suspension due to point accumulation. This notice outlines the reason for suspension and provides details for a hearing, where individuals can present their case. Attending the hearing gives drivers the opportunity to:

  • Argue against the suspension
  • Request a reduced suspension period
  • Seek legal counsel from a lawyer specializing in license suspension disputes in MA

Length of Suspension

The length of a license suspension can vary based on the number of points accumulated and the driver’s previous record. Here is a brief overview:

  • First offense: Suspension can range from 30 days to several months
  • Repeat offenses: Longer suspension periods or even revocation

The RMV’s points system dictates the exact duration, taking into account both minor and major driving offenses.

Appeals and Reinstatement

An appeal to the Board of Appeal on Motor Vehicle Liability Policies and Bonds can be sought if the driver believes the decision to suspend the license was unjust. The process involves:

  • Filing an appeal: A formal request for reconsideration
  • Appeal hearing: Presenting evidence to contest the suspension

Upon suspension expiration, drivers must fulfill all requirements for reinstatement, which may include:

  • Payment of reinstatement fees
  • Retaking the driving test
  • Completing a driver retraining course

Drivers often enlist the help of a lawyer proficient in MA laws for guidance through the appeals and reinstatement phase.

Legal Assistance and Representation

When facing the possibility of a license suspension due to accumulating too many points in Massachusetts, seeking legal assistance is crucial. Experienced traffic lawyers can play a pivotal role in guiding individuals through the complexities of the legal system.

Hiring a Traffic Lawyer

Selecting an Attorney:
In Massachusetts, an individual should look for a traffic lawyer with a proven track record in license suspension disputes. It is important to choose an attorney who:

  • Specializes in traffic law
  • Understands the point system in Massachusetts
  • Has experience with the Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles (RMV)

Benefits of Legal Representation:
Here are the benefits one can expect from hiring a lawyer:

  • Strategic advice on how to challenge the suspension
  • Representation during RMV hearings and court proceedings
  • Negotiation of alternative penalties to license suspension, if possible

Navigating the Legal System

The legal system can be overwhelming, but a lawyer can clarify the necessary steps, including:

  1. Review of the driving record to understand the points accrued
  2. Assessment of the reasons for each point to find inaccuracies or possible defenses
  3. Explanation of legal options

 Your lawyer can manage all legal proceedings related to the license suspension including:

  • Filing of motions
  • Preparation for hearings
  • Presentation of evidence and arguments

In summary, an individual with a looming license suspension in Massachusetts would be well-advised to hire a competent traffic lawyer who can navigate the legal system and offer the best chance of retaining their driving privileges.

Categories: Massachusetts Laws

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