You do need to appeal the MV suspension. From what you have said and what MA law says, it would appear that the suspension is a mandatory administrative suspection by the Registrar of MV - it was not court ordered, it was statutorily ordered (see below, #23) by the MA law, upon 'conviction.' If the judge did not find you guilty but dismissed the charges, you need to bring the court papers indicating that the matter was dismissed by the judge, if in fact it was, without a conviction. Keep in mind, it may be that the MV was informed (or somehow misunderstood), that your case was closed with a finding of guilt by the judge, thereby causing the mandatory MV administrative suspension. Now, if your words to the judge that you wanted it resolved that day, meant to her that you were pleading guilty then she slapped you with the fine and nothing else, but the non-court-sentencing part of tthe law may have properly kicked in. Not having an attorney, and if you didn't research tthe penalties for driving without a valid license, you may not have realized that 60 days is par for the course - mandatory, if you accept being convicted (which is what a plea amounts to). You do need to appeal if you think you are right! That is why we have appeals. I include the laws here for you:
Chapter 90: Section 10. Operation of motor vehicle without license; members of armed forces; nonresidents; suspension or revocation of license
Section 10. ...No other person shall so operate unless licensed by the registrar ...
Notwithstanding the foregoing provisions, no person shall operate on the ways of the commonwealth any motor vehicle, whether registered in this commonwealth or elsewhere, if the registrar shall have suspended or revoked any license to operate motor vehicles issued to him under this chapter, or shall have suspended his right to operate such vehicles, and such license or right has not been restored or a new license to operate motor vehicles has not been issued to him. Operation of a motor vehicle in violation of this paragraph shall be subject to the same penalties as provided in section twenty-three for operation after suspension or revocation and before restoration or issuance of a new license or the restoration of the right to operate.
HERE IS 23:
Chapter 90: Section 23. Operation of motor vehicle after suspension or revocation of license; concealment of identity of motor vehicle
Section 23. Any person convicted of operating a motor vehicle after his license to operate has been suspended or revoked, or after notice of the suspension or revocation of his right to operate a motor vehicle without a license has been issued by the registrar and received by such person or by his agent or employer, and prior to the restoration of such license or right to operate or to the issuance to him of a new license to operate, and any person convicted of operating ... shall,..., be punished for a first offence by a fine of not less than five hundred nor more than one thousand dollars or by imprisonment for not more than ten days, or both, and for any subsequent offence by imprisonment for not less than sixty days nor more than one year, ...In no case shall a person be prosecuted for operating after suspension or revocation of a license upon a failure to pay an administrative reinstatement fee without a prior written notice from the registrar mandating payment thereof.
Upon a conviction of operating after suspension or revocation of license or right to operate under the first paragraph, the registrar shall extend said suspension or revocation for an additional sixty days. Upon a conviction of operating after suspension or revocation of license or right to operate under the second paragraph, the registrar shall extend said suspension or revocation for an additional year.
S. Joy, Legal Expert
OK, the suspension is mandatory upon the conviction. It appears that the court notified the MV that you were convicted. However, what is interesting is that the judge underfined you, apparently, as the min. fine is $500. Is it possible that the judge amended the charge to something OTHER than 34J? Could she have allowed you to plea to the statute noted above, which, although it also provides for loss of license for 60 days, also allows for a lower fine? You may want to get a copy of you abstract to see what you were convicted of. You may also want to be very careful of rocking this boat. Your fine could be corrected and/or jail time for driving without insurance. I'd hate to see you argue the license deal, only to get nailed worse. Good luck here.
Chapter 90: Section 34J. Operating motor vehicle without liability policy, bond or security deposit
Section 34J. Whoever operates or permits to be operated or permits to remain on a public or private way a motor vehicle which is subject to the provisions of section one A during such time as the motor vehicle liability policy or bond or deposit required by the provisions of this chapter has not been provided and maintained in accordance therewith shall be punished by a fine of not less than five hundred nor more than five thousand dollars or by imprisonment for not more than one year in a house of correction, or both such fine and imprisonment; provided, however, that any municipality that enforces the provisions of this section shall retain such fine. This section shall not apply to a person who operates a motor vehicle leased under any system referred to in section thirty-two C without knowledge that the lessor thereof has not complied with the provisions of section thirty-two E relative to providing indemnity, protection or security for property damage.
In proceedings under this section, written certification by the registrar of motor vehicles that the registry of motor vehicles has no record of a motor vehicle liability policy or bond or deposit in effect at the time of the alleged offense as required by the provisions of this chapter for the motor vehicle alleged to have been operated in violation of this section, shall be admissible as evidence in any court of the commonwealth and shall raise a rebuttable presumption that no such motor vehicle liability policy or bond or deposit was in effect for said vehicle at the time of the alleged offense. Such presumption may be rebutted and overcome by evidence that a motor vehicle liability policy or bond or deposit was in effect for such vehicle at the time of the alleged offense.
Any person who is convicted of, or who enters a plea of guilty to a violation of this section shall be liable to the plan organized pursuant to section one hundred and thirteen H of chapter one hundred and seventy-five in the amount of the greater of five hundred dollars or one year's premium for compulsory motor vehicle insurance for the highest rated territory and class or risk in effect at the time of the commission of the offense. Said liability shall be in addition to all other liabilities imposed on the person so convicted or so pleading whether civil or criminal. The said plan shall apply any sums collected hereunder, to defray its costs of collection and to defray in whole or in part its expenses for preventing fraud and arson. Furthermore, any person who is convicted of, or enters a plea of guilty to a violation of this section shall have his or her license or right to operate a motor vehicle suspended for sixty days by the registrar of motor vehicles upon the registrar's receipt of notification from the clerk of any court which enters any conviction hereunder or which accepts such plea of guilty. The clerk of any court which enters any conviction hereunder or which accepts such plea shall promptly notify the registrar of motor vehicles and the Commonwealth Auto Reinsurers pursuant to section one hundred and thirteen of chapter one hundred and seventy-five or any successor thereto of such entry of acceptance of such plea. For any second or subsequent said conviction or plea of guilty within a six year period the offender's license or right to operate a motor vehicle shall be suspended for one year by the registrar upon the registrar's receipt of such notification by the clerk of any such court.
I added additional funds here. I assume they go to you. Thank you for the advice. I followed your lead and not rocked the boat by going to Motor Vehicles and risking additional funds or jail time. Instead I went to the Clerk's office in the Court room where I appeared. The judge instructed me that the case is closed and her ruling is done. I paid the $200 that she asked last week and they are contacting Motor Vehicles to let them know that this issue is concluded. The Court Clerk didn't file in time for Motor Vehicles to send out the letter that they did but it is now in the computer. All in all, I think I got lucky here because of a screw-up from the Court's on where I was supposed to appear. Without your advice I would have appeared at Motor Vehicles and had to submit my license and plates.
There were not additional funds, but your original transaction of $48 did go through to JA. Thank you for the "accept."
Please be careful to make sure your license stays intact, because sometimes suspensions happen even if you don't physically hand in your actual license (which only represents your license to drive) and or your plates. I would hate to see you get stopped for driving when suspended - as indicated, regardless of the court's sentence, the MV can and must suspend if it has word of a conviction, regardless of what the judge does, so I am still concerned here. If that happens you DON'T want to get caught driving until it is reinstated.
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