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Driver License Suspension in Massachusetts
The Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles (RMV) must suspend or revoke your driver’s license when it is required by criminal or civil law.
Once a suspension period has ended, or the reason for the suspension has been resolved, you will have to pay a reinstatement fee to get your driver’s license back. You may have to meet additional reinstatement requirements, depending on the reason for suspension.
In Massachusetts, violations resulting in driver’s license suspension generally fall under the following categories:
- Minor (civil) traffic violations.
- Serious (criminal) traffic violations.
- An accumulation of offenses.
- Accidents for which you are found responsible.
- Other criminal violations, such as conviction for a drug offense or failure to pay income tax.
NOTE: Violations occurring out of state are also reason for a suspension in MA.
In addition to mandatory driver’s license suspensions, the registrar can choose to suspend your driver’s license if you:
- Are considered a threat.
- Have operated a vehicle improperly.
- Have committed driver’s license fraud, even if you aren’t convicted in court.
- Have failed to pay required child support.
Suspensions for Multiple Violations
Several mandatory suspensions are based on the accumulation of multiple traffic violations, also called “surchargeable events.”
Suspension periods for drivers with multiple violations are listed below:
Reason for Suspension Length of Suspension/Revocation 3 speeding tickets within 12 months 30 day suspension 7 moving violations in 3 years 60 day suspension Habitual offender (3 major violations or 12 violations within 5 years) 4 year revocation*
* You have to re-apply for a driver’s license after a revocation, which means taking all the exams and paying the applicable fees.
Violations result in points against your license. To learn more about these points, visit our page on the DMV Point System in Massachusetts.
Driver Improvement Courses
You will have to complete a driver re-training course if you accrue 3 moving violations in 24 months.
You will be notified and given 90 days to complete this training. If you do not complete the course within 90 days, your driver’s license will be suspended until you do complete it.
Drivers between 16 ½ and 18 years old are considered Junior Operators in Massachusetts. Junior Operators have additional driving rules and restrictions, and violating those rules will result in suspensions. In an effort to educate Junior Operators, Massachusetts created the State Courts Against Road Rage (SCARR) program which is mandatory for certain violations.
In addition to mandatory classes, suspensions are longer and reinstatement fees are higher for Junior Operators than for other drivers.
The RMV provides a full list of violations and penalties as they relate to teen drivers.
Check Your Driver’s License Status
You can see how many moving violations or surchargeable offenses that you have by ordering your Massachusetts driving record. You’ll also be able to see if you have any suspensions or revocations.
Because your car insurance rates can be affected by your driving record, it’s smart to make sure you know the state of your record.
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Operating under the influence (OUI), also known as driving under the influence (DUI), results in mandatory driver’s license suspension.
Your driver’s license will be suspended immediately if you:
- Fail a blood alcohol content (BAC) test with a BAC of:
- 0.08% or higher if you are 21 years old or older.
- 0.02% if you are under 21 years old.
- Refuse to take a test for BAC.
NOTE: Your driver’s license can be suspended under the OUI laws by the RMV for illegal, prescription or non-prescription (OTC) drugs.
For detailed information on OUIs and their penalties, please see our DUI & DWI in Massachusetts page.
If your Massachusetts driver’s license is suspended by the RMV, you have the right to have a hearing with an RMV Hearings Officer.
Your notice of suspension may list a scheduled hearing. If a hearing has not been scheduled and you want one, they are held on a walk-in basis.
If you have questions about hearings, check your suspension notice or contact the RMV at:
- (857) 368-8000.
- From Massachusetts area codes 339, 617, 781, 857.
- From outside of the state.
- (800) 858-3926.
- From all other MA area codes.
NOTE: To reinstate your driver’s license after certain convictions, you MUST see a hearings officer. Please see our “Reinstate Your License” section for more information.
If your Massachusetts driver’s license has been suspended, you may be able to apply for a hardship license that allows you to drive with restrictions.
Drivers must meet all criteria and bring all required documents to an RMV hearing in order to apply for a MA hardship license. The RMV provides a list of forms that show all the criteria you must meet to apply, based on the type of offense.
NOTE: No driver is guaranteed a hardship license. Hardship licenses are granted at the discretion of the Massachusetts RMV.
In order to reinstate your MA driver’s license, you will have to pay a fee. See our “Reinstatement Fees” section below.
In some cases, you may also need to apply for a new MA license, which means taking the written and road tests.
You can reinstate your driver’s license at any full-service RMV office.
If your driver’s license was suspended for any of the following reasons, you MUST see a hearings officer before your driver’s license can be reinstated:
- Vehicular homicide or manslaughter.
- Habitual traffic offender that includes an OUI.
For more information about suspension hearings, please see our “Hearings and Appeals” section above.
Reinstatement fees in Massachusetts range from $100 to $1,200, depending on the offense leading to the suspension.
Reinstatement fees for Junior Operators are higher than for those drivers over 21 years old.
NOTE: Criminal fines and licensing fees may also apply.
Reinstatement fees can be paid:
- In person.
- By mail.
- By phone.
To pay your reinstatement fees in person, go to a full service Mass RMV branch.
Each branch office accepts different forms of payment, so be sure to check with your local office for payment options.
To pay your reinstatement fees by mail, send a check made payable to “MassDOT” to:
Driver Control/ Court Records
Registry of Motor Vehicles
P.O. Box 55896
Boston, MA 02205-5896
To pay reinstatement fees by phone with a major credit card, call:
- (857) 368-8000 from MA area codes 339, 617, 781, or 857, and from outside of MA.
- 800-858-3926 from MA area codes not listed above.
- TTY: 877-768-8833.
The RMV Telephone Center is staffed on weekdays (except holidays) from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m.
If you have a commercial driver’s license (CDL), your license can be suspended whether you commit an offense while driving a CMV (commercial motor vehicle) or your personal vehicle.
All states exchange information about CDL drivers, so violations, suspensions, and other details of your driving history will follow you from state to state. Also, violations committed outside of Massachusetts will be reported to the RMV.
For more information about CDL suspensions, please see our section on MA Commercial Drivers.Other Topics in This Section