A criminal charge of operating a motor vehicle with a suspended license is a relatively minor misdemeanor offense, unless you have two or more of them from past history.

If such a charge is your first offense, the best thing to do is to visit the Registry of Motor Vehicles and determine the source of the suspension. If possible, resolve the suspension, keep a paper trail of your efforts and hopefully resolve the suspension prior to your arraignment date or by your first return date after arraignment. Prosecutors appreciate litigants who make a solid effort to become legal. With that work product in hand, a defense attorney can usually dispose of the case in one visit with a dismissal of the crime and a nominal fine ($250 or less).

If you have two or more of these offenses on your record, you should consider hiring an attorney early in the process. Some judges may consider dispositions that involve a sixty day loss of license or a short stay in jail (10 days). An attorney can guide you through the Registry process and prepare and present information to a prosecutor which may persuade the prosecutor to offer resolution where no suspension and no jail are involved.

Finally, you may very well have a legal defense to the crime. The prosecutor has a high burden to prove your license was suspended and that you knew of it. The prosecutor does have a presumption that a Registry mailing was received by you, but that presumption may be overcome by your own testimony, along with any other witnesses or documents that support your testimony.

If you have any questions, please call me at 508-243-4877. Doug Stoddart.