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RMV violated my due process rights – how do I get my rights back?

Tewksbury, MA |

I received a traffic citation last October, requested a hearing through RMV to challenge the citation, called twice asking about delay and hearing nothing – told to wait “it will come.” Recently, informed by a friend on police force that my license is suspended. Never received notice of hearing or suspension, now told it’s too late to appeal for a new hearing date and there is no avenue to appeal the lack of appeal.

Don’t I have a right to be heard? Don’t I have a right to take an administrative determination to a civil court when my constitutional rights are being abridged? What court do I take it too? Do I sue the RMV?

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Attorney answers 3


I'm not familiar with MASS administrative law, but if RMV is anything like DMV in California then Due Process is the last of their concerns. Driving is a privilege not a right, and while DMV does have to follow its administrative procedures, they can often steamroll right over Due Process and yank your license without ever informing you. In fact, they can and do suspend drivers licenses for those charged with DUI even if the defendant is never convicted of DUI.



Thanks - Is there any way to hold their feet to the fire? Can I appeal to the Courts? State or Federal?

Peter D. King

Peter D. King


It depends what their procedures are and what remedies are made available. Look to the procedural rules set out by RMV and any state statutes that govern what authority the agency has to suspend licenses without a hearing. They may be acting within their power. It all depends on what protections you are granted in the administrative rules and state statutes. The federal courts will not intervene here because there is no right to drive, so 5th and 14th amendment due process are not applicable, unfortunately. Issuing and revoking driving privileges is within the Police powers of the individual states and the federal government cannot get involved unless there is a conflict with federal law. Your best bet is to call RMV, explain the situation, and ask if you have any recourse. Contacting an attorney in your state who is familiar with RMV proceedings is actually an even better idea.


You should contact an attorney for assistance.

Do you want accurate, personalized, legal advice that you can rely on? You will have to hire an attorney, not ask on Avvo. I am not your attorney and am not creating an attorney-client relationship by this post. I am therefore giving only general advice. This advice may not apply to you or your situation; may not take account of all possibilities, and may not match the advice I would give to a client. DO NOT rely on this advice or any other advice on Avvo to make your legal decisions. If you want an answer to a legal question you should retain an attorney who is licensed in your state.


First, I recommend you hire an attorney who is familiar with RMV and Board of Appeal of the Division of Insurance procedures. If you were, in fact, not provided notice, then you are correct that your due process rights were violated. Regardless of whether the appeal period has run, you may still be able to appeal the suspension by arguing a lack of notice and asking the RMV to waive the appeal period for good cause. If you fail at the RMV, you might then be able to seek redress from the Board of Appeal of the Division of Insurance. Before proceeding, however, I strongly recommend hiring an attorney.

Law Office of Stephen P. Kelly (508) 983-1479--Criminal Defense, Military Law, Divorce & Family Law, Appeals. DISCLAIMER: Answers to posted questions are for general interest only and do not constitute legal advice. No attorney-client relationship is established by virtue of any answer posted by the attorney.

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