You win your OUI case; you have the judge allow a motion to reinstate their license. The client is relieved; they are back on the road. But not so fast, the hearing officer says that they will consider the reinstatement and get back to the person in ten days.
Why won’t the RMV reinstate the license?
The RMV will only honor a motion to reinstate if all of the charges under 90 Section 24 are dismissed, meaning if you had the client accept a plea of a CWOF on the negligent operation, the RMV will deny the request for reinstatement, despite the judge’s order. You can appeal this decision to the Board of Appeals. We have an appeal pending on this issue.
Lately, when the negligent operation is weak, I have been taking that charge to trial as well in light of the RMV’s new position on this issue. On a first offense OUI, in many cases the refusal suspension is almost done by the time the case goes to trial. In many courts, it is hard to get a trial prior to six months. The RMV position is more detrimental in a second offense where the refusal suspension is three years. In a 2nd offense, the time remaining on the suspension can be substantial.
What is the basis of the RMV’s position?
The RMV claims that the statute allowing the judge to approve a motion to reinstate the license after a not guilty verdict requires that all charges under Chapter 90 Section 24 have been dismissed. Technically, negligent operation and leaving the scene of property damage both fall under 90 Section 24 so the RMV takes the position that all charges have not been dismissed under the Section. At the Board of Appeals, a defense lawyer would have to argue that the statute intended that section to refer to the OUI charge and that the negligent operation charge is really not part of the OUI section of the statute. If the client accepts a CWOF, it could be argued that after the conclusion of the CWOF that the statute has been complied with and the RMV should enforce the motion at that time. This would apply to a second offense OUI where the client took a CWOF on the negligent operation.