Fatal Accident Preliminary Revocations

FAPWhenever a person is involved in a fatal motor car accident, the investigating police department is required to promptly notify the Driver Control Unit of the Registry of Motor Vehicles. When the Registry receives this “fatal accident preliminary” notification, after a review of the facts and circumstances, pursuant to G.L. c. 90 § 29, the RMV has the right to summarily and indefinitely revoke your Mass. Driver’s license. This revocation occurs immediately without any advance notice. In these cases, MassDOT usually faxes the revocation letter to your hometown police department and requests that a police officer hand-deliver the letter to you at your home address. A copy of the indefinite revocation letter is also mailed to current address on file with the Registry.

Under the law, unless an initial investigation shows that the driver may not have caused the accident, the Registry is required to indefinitely revoke the driver’s license. Anyone who has his or her license revoked under the fatal accident preliminary law, has the legal right to a hearing before a Registry Hearings Officer on the question of whether or not the driver who lost his license was at fault in the accident. The driver must be afforded an adequate opportunity to demonstrate that the accident occurred “without serious fault” on his part. However, this opportunity is provided after the revocation notice is issued and the driver’s license is indefinitely revoked. The best location for a Fatal Accident Preliminary hearing is the Driver Control Unit of the Registry of Motor Vehicles at 136 Blackstone Street, 3rd Floor, in Boston, Massachusetts.

Because a fatality occurred, the Registry is often hesitant to reinstate the driver’s license of someone involved in this type of accident. Often, the Registry will wait for completion of the accident reconstruction and investigation. This could take many months, a year, or even longer. Absolutely no hardship or Cinderella license is available for this type of suspension. However, if you are unsatisfied with the outcome of the RMV hearing, you have the right to appeal the decision to the Division of Insurance, Board of Appeal.

An experienced lawyer who specializes in these matters may be able to help you get your driver’s license reinstated, without having to wait for the conclusion of the accident reconstruction, investigation, and a decision from the District Attorney’s Office regarding criminal prosecution.