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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2009

    Default Challenging a Refusal Suspension After Not Guilty Verdict

    State = Massachusetts

    I was found not guilty on an oui 2nd offense by a jurty trial. The judge did not hold a formal hearing on the reinstatement of my license but refused to sign the request motion as he feels my driving would cause an immediate threat to public safety. I have been charged 4 times with oui with 1 CWOF, 2 not guilty and a dismissal obtained over the last 12 years. The last offense prior to my recent arrest occured 6 years ago. All arrests were a routine traffic stop in response to marked lanes violations with no accident. I have no other arrests or tickets on my record.

    Do I have the right to challenge the judges decision on a civil matter and has anybody else been in a similiar situation after a dismissal or not guilty verdict?

    The statute wording (mgl 90/24) is as follows:

    .......however, that the defendant may immediately, upon the entry of a not guilty finding or dismissal of all charges under this section, section 24G, section 24L, or section 13 1/2 of chapter 265, and in the absence of any other alcohol related charges pending against said defendant, apply for and be immediately granted a hearing before the court which took final action on the charges for the purpose of requesting the restoration of said license. At said hearing, there shall be a rebuttable presumption that said license be restored, unless the commonwealth shall establish, by a fair preponderance of the evidence, that restoration of said license would likely endanger the public safety. In all such instances, the court shall issue written findings of fact with its decision.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Behind a Desk

    Default Re: Challenging a Refusal Suspension After Not Guilty Verdict

    Your refusal probably helped you achieve your acquittal - odds are, you considered that when you refused to cooperate with testing. But being acquitted of drunk driving does not excuse your entirely separate conduct in refusing testing, nor does it lift the penalty for that choice.

    The statute you cite does indicate that you're entitled to a hearing; I don't know if you properly applied for one. But let's assume that you did and the judge refused the hearing anyway. Your lawyer may be able to formally petition for the hearing and convince the court to hold it, after which I would expect the court to issue a ruling that amounts to "I was right the first time." Or you could appeal the denial, and if the appellate court finds that you were entitled to a hearing obtain one on remand, again likely with an "I was right the first time" decision from the judge. Talk these issues over, along with the costs involved and the likelihood of getting meaningful relief, with your lawyer.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2009

    Default Re: Challenging a Refusal Suspension After Not Guilty Verdict

    Thank you for the quick response.

    I agree that if an appeal only generates the formal hearing in front of the same judge it is unlikely that he will change his decision. I am curious if his decision can be appealed to a different judge or panel.

    I am wondering if anyone else has been denied during the original hearing and if/how they were able to have the decision reversed regarding the public safety classification.
    Arrest is not evidence of guilt so how can a court use my previous acquittals as the basis for their opinion that reinstatement would be a risk to public safey?

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