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A man in Massachusetts got a letter to notify him that he was having his driver’s license suspended for operating under the influence (OUI) in Maine. That OUI case, though, happened in 1981.
When he was 18 years old, the driver was pulled over while driving his VW van through Maine. He was arrested for drunk driving and went through the court process, which was much less intensive back then. He did not go to jail and only had to pay fines.
Apparently, he also had to take an alcohol education course. For whatever reason – whether he didn’t do it because he was from out-of-state or he was not notified of the requirement – the course was never completed.
Now, the Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles (RMV) is suspending his license until he completes the required course he never took, nearly 40 years ago.
The man, now 57, hasn’t had a traffic ticket in nearly two decades.
The situation is one of many in the fallout from a fatal OUI accident that happened in New Hampshire. That accident involved a Massachusetts commercial driver whose license should have been suspended after an OUI arrest in Connecticut. Weeks after the OUI arrest, the driver caused another crash that killed seven motorcyclists.
The oversight at the RMV led to the resignation of its head and forced it to review its data sharing policies with other states. That review has uncovered more than 1,600 license suspensions for Massachusetts drivers for out-of-state violations that had not been processed. They dated back to 2011 and were found in bins in the RMV office.
We discussed the underlying problem of having conflicting databases of driving records before. Most states use the Driver License Compact to share information about license suspensions, arrests, and convictions.
Massachusetts, however, is not a member of the Compact.
This means the RMV must take alternative steps to share information about license suspensions for out-of-state drivers that happened in Massachusetts. It also has to open up another avenue for other states to tell the RMV about violations committed by Massachusetts drivers in their locale.
Because nearly all other states in the U.S. are a part of the Compact, their communication with non-Compact states is often faulty. Cases fall between the cracks or, as in the present case, get left in a bin in the RMV office.
When those cases are rediscovered, there are bound to be surprises like this OUI offense from 1981.
If you have been charged with an OUI in Maine, you need legal assistance. The penalties of an OUI conviction have gotten far more severe in the nearly four decades since 1981, making it far more important to raise defenses to the accusation and defend your rights.
Call the OUI defense attorneys at Maine Criminal Defense Group in Portland at (207) 571-8146 or contact us online if you have been accused of OUI in Saco, Portland, Biddeford, or elsewhere in Maine.
If you are facing criminal charges in Maine, the attorneys at The Maine Criminal Defense Group are here to help. Call our office to speak with
one of our team members, who will discuss your case with you and set up a consultation with one of our attorneys
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