Controversial Massachusetts Law Suspending Driver's License of Those Convicted of a Drug Crime Repealed
Date:  04-01-2016

Law was seen as a major barrier of successful reintegration

Anyone who lost their license because they were convicted of a drug crime in Massachusetts can now get their license back.

Gov. Charlie Baker signed a law on Wednesday repealing the automatic license suspension of anyone convicted of a drug crime and the fine that goes along with it. The repeal is effective immediately.

"One of the big problems we face in criminal justice is reentry, the ability for people who made a mistake, who paid their dues, to find their way back into a productive life with purpose," Baker said. "The lack of a driver's license, it should be obvious to everybody, is a huge impediment to somebody's ability to find work and find purpose."

State Rep. Carlos Gonzalez, D-Springfield, called the law one of the most important bills he has voted on in his first year in the Legislature. "It's going to help so many people try to reinvent their lives, to regenerate their thoughts and actually make something successful for themselves," Gonzalez said. The automatic license suspension was established in 1989 as part of the national War on Drugs. Under that law, anyone convicted of a drug-related crime, whether or not it related to a motor vehicle, had his license suspended for up to five years. The offender had to pay a license reinstatement fine of at least $500. Read more