Immediate Threat License Suspensions In Massachusetts

Immediate Threat License Suspensions In Massachusetts

It can be easy to lose your right to operate a motor vehicle in Massachusetts. Law enforcement has the option to request that the RMV revoke your driving privileges for an indefinite period of time. This little-known suspension which is well-known by police departments across Massachusetts and can have a devastating impact on you if you are not familiar with its’ consequences. The suspension is known as an immediate threat suspension. These suspensions are governed by G.L. c. 90 22(a) and (b).

How Are Immediate Threat Suspensions Imposed?

Police officers can recommend this type of suspension if they feel your continued operation of a motor vehicle is a danger to public safety. All the police have to do is fill out a short form and fax it to the Driver Control Unit of the Registry of Motor Vehicles.

Immediate threat suspensions are indefinite suspensions of your right to operate a motor vehicle in Massachusetts. Indefinite means there is no specific date that your license will be reinstated.

Typically, these types of suspensions begin by a police officer or medical professional sending a request to the Registry of Motor Vehicles. The RMV will review the request and suspend or revoke the driver's license. For this suspension the RMV must find that there has been an automobile law violation and that continued operation is a threat to public safety.

Does The Registry Ever Deny The Suspension Request?

Far more often than not, the RMV will support the police officer's request and immediately suspend your right to operate a motor vehicle in the State of Massachusetts. The immediate threat license suspension will go into effect before you as the driver get to contest the suspension and tell your side of the story. You are deemed to be an immediate threat before any RMV hearing officer even meets you. To make matters worse, you will receive notification of the suspension both by regular mail and by hand delivery when a police officer comes knocking on your door to serve you with a copy in hand. Only after you have already been suspended can

you take any steps to contest the suspension. While these suspensions were meant to protect the public from serious and imminent dangers, even minor traffic violations are being met with attempts to immediately suspend driving privileges. If you or someone you love is facing this type of license suspension, take action right away to protect your rights and retain your license.

In some cases, the RMV may afford you just a little bit of flexibility and give you a notice before the suspension starts. Remember, whether you are immediately suspended or afforded 10 days advance notice, your right to operate a motor vehicle in Massachusetts will be suspended for an indefinite period. If the incident which gave rise to the police making the initial request involves any criminal charges, the RMV will oftentimes not consider your reinstatement appeal until the criminal matter has been resolved.

Reinstatement conditions will not be determined until the criminal case is resolved. This delay can often take many months to sort out, during which your license is suspended. It is critical to have an attorney who can handle both the criminal matter and license suspension matters. In addition to having to potentially resolve any criminal matters and to meet any of the RMV reinstatement conditions, there is also a mandatory $500 reinstatement fee.

Starting Your Case To Get Back On The Road

Many Massachusetts drivers are unclear about their rights. There are no hardship licenses on immediate threats. These are public safety suspensions with no specific end dates. These suspensions and how to get them resolved can be a complicated and confusing process. The RMV in many cases will continue to change requirements time and time again.


When you appear before the Board be aware the process is being recorded. The Board will address you first and explain the process. They will notify you that they have the authority to overturn the RMV’s decision, uphold the decision or hold the matter open for a period of time so that you can come back.

You will be seated at a table before the Board. A representative will be seated at another table. The representative from the RMV will speak first. They will outline the facts that lead to your suspension, if there is a police report they will read from that. They will then tell the Board if you have appeared at the RMV and what decision the RMV made. Next, they will tell the Board about your overall driving record. Lastly, they will make an argument explaining why the Board should uphold your suspension.

You will then be given the opportunity to present evidence on your behalf including letters from treatment programs or therapists and you may present witnesses. If you have an attorney representing you they will argue on your behalf and explain to the Board that you are not an "immediate threat to public safety" and that your license should be restored.

The Board may ask you questions about how the incident occurred and what steps you have taken to remedy any underlying issues. This is an important part of the hearing and it is recommended that you have an attorney with you who understands what type of information the Board is looking for.


The Board of Appeals has the authority to modify or over turn most RMV decisions. They can also choose not to act on your appeal and ask you to come back after a certain period of time. The Board will hold a matter open when they believe that not enough time has passed between the suspension and the appeal or when they want to offer you more time to file paper work or complete driving or treatment programs.

The Board will not make a decision on the date of your hearing. They will mail you the decision later that week. If you are still unsatisfied with the Board's decision you must appeal to the Superior Court within thirty days.

Getting back on the road can be done with my help. I have helped clients throughout the Commonwealth get through these devastating suspensions and get back on the road. At the Law Office of Kerri Reed, I offer practical advice and a clear plan of action. Call me, today at 978-792-5035 or contact me online at for a free consultation.

From her Amesbury office, attorney Kerri Reed represents clients all over the state of Massachusetts. Fill out the form on this page or call the office today to connect with her and set up a free consultation. Kerri will discuss your case in the office or even online and determine the best way forward for your unique situation.