One of the unintended consequences of being convicted on criminal drug charges in Massachusetts was that your driver’s license would automatically be suspended. However, thanks to a new law that unanimously passed in both chambers of the Legislature and was signed by Governor Charlie Baker, this automatic driver’s license suspension for drug crimes has been repealed and the five hundred dollar reinstatement fine associated with the suspension has been lifted, too. Luckily, the repeal is effective immediately. Anyone whose license was suspended under the old law will have it reinstated within thirty days of the new bill’s passage, and any records related to the driver’s license suspension will be protected from public access.
The new law, Bill H.4088, eliminates the automatic license suspension associated with most drug crimes. There are several drug crimes that the automatic license suspension still exists for, which include:
- Offenses related to cocaine,
- Offenses related to fentanyl,
- Offenses related to heroin, and
- Offenses related to other opiates.
Additionally, a judge still holds the authority to suspend a person’s driver’s license if they commit a criminal offense related to driving.
How The Old Law Hurt Those Convicted for Minor Drug Offenses
Under the old law, those convicted of even the most minor of drug offenses would lose their driver’s license. The purpose of this suspension requirement for all drug convictions was part of the War on Drugs campaign of the late 80s and early 90s. But the reality of the situation was that life became very hard for those who had been convicted of a drug crime and then served time. Upon being released from jail, these convicts might not have served their full driver’s license suspension or may not have the money to pay the driver’s license reinstatement fee. These individuals would have been left unable to legally drive, making it harder for them to get a job, go to work or school, or basically manage many other aspects of their lives.
Nearly 7,000 people had their driver’s licenses suspended in 2015 on the basis of a drug conviction. Of those, less than half are able to afford the reinstatement fee for their driver’s license upon getting out of jail. Nearly 10% are likely to find themselves arrested again for driving without a driver’s license.
Contact an Experienced Massachusetts Drug Crimes Lawyer
It is wonderful news to learn that many of those who are convicted on minor drug charges no longer face the harsh consequence of an automatic driver’s license suspension. However, there are still many drug convictions and traffic law violations that can cause your license to be suspended. Our Attorney has helped many criminal defendants fight drug charges for over twenty five years. She can help you get the fair treatment you deserve under the law. Our Attorney can help you develop your best possible defense to the drug charges you face. Please do not hesitate to contact Our Attorney immediately reaching out to her online.