For Immediate Release - January 06, 2016

AG Healey Applauds House for Passing Driver's License Suspension Legislation

BOSTON – Calling the legislation an important piece of smart and fair criminal justice reform, Attorney General Maura Healey today issued the following statement thanking House lawmakers for their vote to repeal the automatic suspension of a driver’s license for those convicted of drug offenses.

“This outdated state law is an unnecessary barrier and burden for thousands in this state trying to rebuild their lives and stay out of the criminal justice system. The current license suspension policy makes it impossible for many to get a job and support their families. A person whose license has been revoked can’t drive their children to school, go grocery shopping, take a family member to a doctor’s appointment, or assist an elderly relative.  I want to thank the House for passing this bill in their first formal session of the year, along with our partners in law enforcement for their continued efforts to help individuals make a safe and successful transition back into our communities. We look forward to a final bill making it to the Governor’s desk.”

In July 2015, AG Healey testified before the Joint Committee on Transportation pdf format of Testimony on the Repeal of Automatic License Suspension
in support for An Act Relative to Motor Vehicle License Suspension (Senate Bill 1812, House Bill 3039), filed by Senator Harriette Chandler and Representative Liz Malia. The Senate unanimously approved the bill in September.

Since 1989, Massachusetts has automatically suspended the driver’s license of any person convicted of a drug offense, even if the offense is unrelated to driving. The suspension can last up to five years, and the individual is assessed a reinstatement fee of at least $500 to regain their driving privileges. The legislation approved by the House today would not change the license suspension rules for those convicted of operating a vehicle under the influence of drugs or alcohol.