What If I’m At-Fault in an Accident With a Suspended License in Massachusetts?
Driving with a suspended license puts you at risk of traffic infractions, fines and even license revocation just for getting behind the wheel. If you cause a car accident while driving with a suspended license, you could face elevated charges. You may also be liable for the expenses related to the car accident, including a victim’s medical bills and property damages. Driving with a suspended license is not worth the risk.
What Is a Suspended License?
If a driver in Massachusetts violates too many traffic laws or commits a single severe offense, such as driving under the influence, the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) can temporarily suspend that driver’s license. License suspension removes the driving privileges for a specific amount of time. Common infractions that can lead to license suspension include DUI/DWI, too many points on a driver’s record, reckless driving charges, failure to appear in court and failure to maintain insurance coverage.
License revocation is another potential penalty for a driver who commits certain offenses. Revocation is the permanent removal of the driving privilege. With a suspended license, the driver can eventually earn his or her privileges back by waiting the appointed period, paying reinstatement fees and fulfilling other requirements. With a revoked license, however, a person can only drive again if he or she obtains permission and goes through the process to get a new driver’s license from the beginning.
What Are the Penalties for Driving With a Suspended License?
If the DMV suspended your driver’s license, you cannot operate a motor vehicle until your suspension ends and you reinstate your license. Operating a motor vehicle on a suspended license, even for a quick trip to the store or for work, is against the law. If a police officer catches you driving with a suspended license, you could face severe penalties. This offense could escalate the sentence that is already in place, such as extending your license suspension. You could also face hefty fines and the possibility of license revocation.
What If You Cause an Accident Without a Valid License?
Causing a car accident while driving with a suspended license increases the penalties you could face for both infractions. If you were at fault for the accident due to a broken law such as texting and driving or drunk driving, the county could escalate criminal charges against you from a misdemeanor to a felony for driving with a suspended license. If you caused serious bodily injuries, the DMV may revoke your driver’s license as well.
Your auto insurance should still cover your damages if you cause a crash with a suspended license, as long as you did not allow your insurance coverage to lapse. If you still had valid car insurance at the time of your accident, your insurer should pay for your property damages and medical bills. Under Massachusetts’ no-fault laws, you must carry personal injury protection insurance as a driver. This type of insurance will pay for your damages after an at-fault accident. Note, however, that your insurance premiums will likely increase after filing a damage claim. Your insurance company may also drop you as a client after covering your damages for causing an accident with a suspended license.
Note that while your suspended driver’s license and the cause of the accident are two separate issues, the injured victim could use the fact that you legally should not have been behind the wheel as proof of your negligence or unreliability as a defendant. If the injured crash victim files an injury lawsuit against you in pursuit of financial compensation for serious injuries, his or her attorney may use your suspended driver’s license as evidence that you are an unsafe or negligent driver. Speak to a Boston car accident attorney as soon as possible for assistance with a crash you caused in Boston. You could be facing serious repercussions as an at-fault driver with a suspended license.