What You Need: License Reinstatement for Prior Drug Offense Suspension

by Christina

Fri, 04/01/2016

Courtesy of the Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles:

Pursuant to Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 94, Section 22, the Registry of Motor Vehicles (RMV) historically was required to suspend/revoke your permit/license or right to operate upon receiving notification of a conviction for a drug violation from a court.

"An Act Relative to Motor Vehicle License Suspension" was signed by Governor Baker on Wednesday, March 30, 2016. The law allows for the immediate license reinstatement for operators with certain prior drug convictions.

Since the late 1980s, the law called for the RMV to impose an automatic license suspension for convictions under Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 94C. The new legislation eliminates suspensions for all drug offenses except for trafficking in a controlled substance.


In order to serve the customers who may now be eligible for reinstatement, the RMV intends to mail letters to provide certain impacted individuals with personalized actions steps toward license reinstatement. The steps for license reinstatement will vary depending upon each individual’s record.

An individual with any active, non-drug related suspensions may not be eligible for reinstatement. In order to be reinstated, customers must visit a RMV Branch offering suspension hearings and meet with a hearings officer. Hearings are held on a walk-in, first come first serve basis; please note that service hours vary by location, which include: Boston, Braintree, Fall River, Lawrence, Pittsfield, South Yarmouth, Springfield, Wilmington and Worcester.

The legislation waives reinstatement fees only. Customers seeking reinstatement will be required to pay permit and road test fees, if the customer has been suspended for more than two-years.

As a matter of public safety, and accordance with existing Registry policy, all operators who have been suspended for more than two-years or have had an expired licenses for more than four-years, are required to take the written permit test at a branch location as well as a road test.

License duplicate or license renewal fees also apply to all customers seeking reinstatement.

The following forms of payment are accepted for all the transactions listed below: Cash, check (payable to MassDOT), money order, or credit/debit card

Permit/Written Test $30

Road Test $35

Class D/Passenger Duplicate License $25

Class D/Passenger License Renewal $50 (customers may renew up to one year in advance of expiration)

Customers also must address any outstanding financial obligations such as any state or excise taxes, child support payments, parking tickets, or E-ZPass violations.

The legislation does not provide for reimbursement, or a refund, of reinstatement fees previously paid on 94C offenses.

Shielded Records

The legislation requires the RMV to shield from public release any drug offenses, expect for those convicted of trafficking in a controlled substance, as well as any expired warrants or expired child support obligations. The legislation provides the RMV with 6 months to complete this technical phase of the project. If you wish to obtain a shielded record, it will not be available until October of 2016. Any driving record ordered prior to October 2016 will contain drug offenses and both historical and current warrant and child support obligation information.