Suspensions & Hearings: Criminal Defaults

If you fail to appear for a criminal court hearing, the court will issue an Arrest Warrant, or, previously, the court may have submitted a Criminal Citation Default to the RMV. In both cases, your license or right to operate would be revoked indefinitely until you appear at the court to resolve your issue. It is important to note that many criminal offenses carry mandatory revocation periods. Even though you resolve the Warrant or Citation Default, if you are found guilty of the underlying charge, your license or right to operate may be suspended or revoked for that particular offense. Specific information regarding your license status can be viewed by visiting the Online License Inquiry transaction page. Under the "Check My" section, select License/Permit Status.

Criminal Warrants

If you fail to appear for a criminal court hearing and the court has issued an Arrest Warrant, the RMV is required to suspend your license or right to operate until you appear at the court to clear the Warrant. The RMV will send you a letter indicating the intent to suspend your license in 90 days if the Warrant is not cleared. In most cases, the courts will electronically notify the RMV that the warrant has been cleared. If a court is unable to electronically notify us, you will need to obtain and present to a Hearings Officer either a Warrant Recall Notice, Notice of Cancellation, or Notice of Next Event. It is your responsibility to ask the court the manner in which they notify the RMV. If your license or right to operate has been revoked, you will be required to pay a $100.00 reinstatement fee.

Criminal Citation Defaults

If you defaulted on a criminal citation and the court has issued a Criminal Citation Default, the RMV is required to suspend your license or right to operate until you appear at the court to clear the Default. When the court notifies the RMV of a court default, the RMV is required by law to send a notice of suspension to the address of record.

Once you contact the court and clear the Default, the court must forward an Amended Court Abstract to the Registry. Most often, it's your responsibility to hand carry this to a full service RMV. There is a $10.00 filing fee to remove each default. In addition, you must pay a $100 reinstatement fee to have your license or right to operate restored.

NOTE: In some cases, a court may have issued both an Arrest Warrant and a Criminal Citation Default for the same incident. This would generate two separate indefinite suspensions that stay in effect until resolved with the court. Once cleared with the court, you may need to submit a Warrant Recall to the RMV and pay a $100 reinstatement fee. Specific information regarding your license status can be viewed by visiting the Online License Inquiry transaction page. Under the "Check My" section, select License/Permit Status.


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Massachusetts Department of Transportation

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