In Massachusetts License Suspensions are imposed by the Registry of Motor Vehicles. However, many times they are resolved not at the Registry but at the Division of Insurance Board of Appeals.
It is important to note that the Board of Appeals is not part of the Registry of Motor Vehicles. The best way to think of the Board is to view it as an appeals court. The Board by law has vast authority and can modify any decision made by the Registry of Motor Vehicles. Getting before the Board is a formal application process and unlike the Registry of Motor Vehicles, there are no walk-in hearings. The hearings are on the record and conducted in a formal manner as described below.
About The Board
The Board consists of up to four Members. More often than not there are only three members at any giving hearing. The chairperson of the Board is the Designee of the Division of Insurance, the Attorney General's Office has up to two Designees on the Board and the Registry of Motor Vehicles has a single designee. Most often the panel will consist of a Registry Designee, a single Attorney General Designee and the Chairperson from the Division of Insurance.
Also present at Board is an individual who presents the case on behalf of the Registry of Motor Vehicle. Oftentimes this person is a trained lawyer based out of the Registry's Boston Office of the Driver Control Unit. It is the role of this individual to present your driving record, criminal record, any relevant police reports and the Registry's position about your appeal.
How Does Gilman Law Get Clients Before The Board
As mentioned above, the Board conducts hearings on a scheduled basis. No walk-in hearings are permitted. To get before the Board a formal application will be prepared on your behalf. In addition to filing the formal application, there is a $50.00 filing fee that must be included. Once the application package is submitted to the Board, it can take several weeks or months for a hearing to be scheduled. The longer your license is scheduled to be suspended the longer the wait time is to get before the Board.
What Is The Hearing Experience Like
Every hearing starts the same way and all are open to the public. The Board will ask you to introduce yourself and spell your last name. After which, all the Board Members and the Registrars Attorney/Representative will introduce themselves. After everyone has introduced themselves the Board will ask the Registrars Attorney/Representative to present your record and the Registry's position against you. The Registrars Attorney will provide to the Board your drivers history, criminal history and any out of state driving history. If there are any criminal charges associated with the license suspension the Attorney will often provide the Board with copies of all relevant police reports.
After the Registrars Attorney/Representative has presented their case, you will you have an opportunity to present your case.
How Do We Find Out The Board's Decision
The Board does not issue decisions from the bench. At the conclusion of all of the hearings, the Board retreats and votes in private on each case. The three common decisions issued by the Board are the following:
- Affirm – Board has voted to maintain the suspension or the Registry's Requirements.
- Affirm but Reapply – This most often occurs when the Board feels that you have either applied to early or wants you to serve more of the suspension time.
- Modify – This means the Board is ordering the Registry of Motor Vehicles to do something. This is the language that we all at Gilman Law, P.C., strive to achieve for all our clients.
The decision can take anywhere from 7 to 15 or even more days to be received and processed.
If the Board has voted to modify the suspension in any way, the letter from the Board is not a license. You must take a copy of the Decision and present it to a Hearings Officer at the Registry of Motor Vehicles. The Hearings Officer will process the decision and allow you to pay your reinstatement fee, if any.
If your license is suspended and you are ready to fight to get it back, call us at Gilman Law, P.C., for a Free Case Consultation.