Discretionary/Public Safety Suspensions


Discretionary/Public Safety

Under Massachusetts General Laws, Chapter 90, Section 22(a), the Registrar has the authority to suspend or revoke your learner's permit, license, right to operate, or vehicle registration in some instances without prior notice. In most cases, it is the local and state police that will notify the Registrar of an incident and request action. Below is a list and brief description of these types of suspensions and revocations:

  • Immediate Threat: If the Registrar determines that your operation of a motor vehicle poses an immediate threat to public safety, the Registrar can revoke your learner's permit, license, or right to operate immediately for an indefinite period.
  • Immediate Threat Medical: If the Registrar determines that you pose an immediate threat to public safety because you have a medical condition which hinders your ability to operate a motor vehicle safely, the Registrar can suspend your learner's permit, license, or right to operate immediately for an indefinite period.
  • Complaint Medical: A person with a medical condition that may affect a driver's ability to safely operate a motor vehicle.
  • Complaint of Improper Operation: Pending a court hearing, law enforcement may request the RMV's support in removing a driver from the roadways.
  • Complaint Fraud License: You were found to have used false information and/or documentation to obtain a driver's license or you were caught using a fake ID.
  • Complaint General: Miscellaneous police complaint.
  • Complaint Regulatory: Action used by the RMV to notify a person of a scheduled hearing.

The Registry of Motor Vehicles (RMV) is required to send a suspension notice to the address of record. In some cases, this notice will require that you see a Hearings Officer who will review the complaint and take appropriate action. For more information, please refer to the Hearing Sites and Schedules webpage.

If the offense is license fraud, you will be required to resolve the matter with the RMV's Enforcement Services Division. To make an appointment, please call 857-368-9500.


When the RMV is required by statute to take adverse action relative to a learner's permit, driver's license/right to operate, and/or registration, it is considered to be a mandatory suspension. By statute, the enforcement of a mandatory suspension is not optional or subject to the RMV's discretion. The RMV is required by law to suspend/revoke your learner's permit or driver's license/right to operate in the following cases:

  • Conviction of a criminal motor vehicle violation (e.g. operating under the influence of alcohol or drugs or leaving the scene of an accident involving personal injury or property damage)
  • Administrative actions involving chemical tests for alcohol or drugs
  • Conviction of a Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 94C drug offense (e.g., possession of a Class B substance with intent to distribute). This is a non-motor vehicle offense, which means that a motor vehicle does not need to be involved.
  • Suspension/revocation or conviction of a violation in another state or as defined in Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 90 Sec 22(c)
  • Accumulation of multiple responsible findings, guilty findings, and/or surchargeable accidents

Please Note: The above list is not inclusive of all mandatory suspensions/revocations.

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