For RD, a sixty-two year old California real estate broker, life was good until in 2011 the California Department of Motor Vehicles refused to renew his driver's license because RD's driving privileges in Massachusetts were suspended. It turns out that in 1983 (yes, 28 years ago) RD was arrested for DUI in Massachusetts. Back in 1983 he went to Westborough District Court (Massachusetts), pleaded guilty, was placed on probation for one year and ordered to complete a first offender drunk driving program. Before beginning the program RD's then employer moved his job to California. RD "blew off" the probation and the DUI Program and moved to California. RD got a California license and for the next 28 years life was good. Meanwhile RD's case in Westborough District Court went into default status, a notice of probation violation was issued, a warrant for his arrest issued, and the Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles suspended his driving privileges in Massachusetts. Unfortunately for RD, over the years the computer tracking systems dramatically improved and in March of 2011 the California Department of Motor Vehicles notified RD that he could not renew his California license until he got reinstated in Massachusetts. On Friday, March 4, 2011 RD contacted Attorney Lewin. Attorney Lewin contacted the Westborough District Court and confirmed that RD was in default of his probation and that there was a warrant outstanding against him. The Chief Probation Officer at the Court took the position that RD had "blown off" his probation and therefore they were unwilling to do anything for him unless he returned to Massachusetts. And then Probation's position was that RD should suffer a 1 year loss of his driving privileges in Massachusetts (the typical penalty in Massachusetts for persons who are either kicked out of the program or fail to attend). This would have meant a one year loss in of license in California. On Saturday, March 5 RD wired a retainer to Attorney Lewin. Over the weekend Attorney Lewin did a one-hour phone conference with RD and gathered all the necessary information from RD so that an effective written and oral presentation could be made to the Judge on Monday and Attorney Lewin prepared a Motion to get the matter cleared up. On Monday afternoon, March 7, 2011 Attorney Lewin appeared in Westborough District Court. The Chief Probation Officer's position had not softened. After a full hearing on the Motion that Attorney Lewin presented to the Judge, the Judge took the following action: (1) The Judge excused RD's appearance in Court and allowed Attorney Lewin to appear in his behalf. (2) The Judge removed the default that had entered back in 1983. (3) The Judge ordered the Warrant cancelled. (The cancellation of the warrant is the first required step in getting the driving privileges reinstated.) (4) The Judge found that RD was in violation of his probation because he left the state without permission, because he failed to complete the DUI program, and because he had failed to report to probation. (5) The Judge then reprobated RD and extended his probation for 5 months and ordered that he could now do the First Offender DUI Program in California. (Over the weekend Attorney Lewin had downloaded information on the California First Offender DUI Program and furnished it to the Judge anticipating that the Judge might take that course.) Attorney Lewin left the courthouse late that afternoon and called RD in California. Attorney Lewin told RD that Attorney Lewin still had to go to the Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles to complete the process. On Tuesday morning, March 8, 2011 Attorney Lewin went to the Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles with the Notice of Warrant Cancellation from Westborough District Court. After a hearing the Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles cancelled the suspension of RD's driving privileges. This information was then entered (electronically) by Masscahusetts into the National Driver Register (NDR) System. Attorney Lewin left the Registry of Motor Vehicles building and called RD in California and told RD to get over to the California Department of Motor Vehicles and get his license. RD told Attorney Lewin "If you were standing in front of me I would give you a big hug!!!!" RD got his California License that same afternoon. Within 48 hours of being hired Attorney Lewin was able to clear up this 28 year old problem.
March 2011 Archives
Carlos F, a thirty year old laborer, was arrested in Malden, Massachusetts in 2004 with a small amount of cocaine in his sock. He was living in Massachusetts at the time and went to Malden District Court where he was charged with possession of cocaine. Before his case was finished Carlos left Massachusetts for greener pastures in Virginia. As a result of his leaving, Carlos was defaulted in Malden Court and the Court issued a warrant for his arrest. As a result of the warrant the Msssachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles suspended Carlos's license. Meanwhile Carlos had obtained a Virginia license and lived and worked in Virginia from 2004 to 2011. In late 2010 Carlos received a notice from the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles that his Virginia license was being suspended because he was under suspension in Massachusetts. Carlos wrote letters to the Masssachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles and he wrote to the Malden District Court trying to resolve the case without coming to Massachusetts; his letters fell on deaf ears. In early March 2011 Carlos retained Attorney Lewin. Attorney Lewin immediately contacted the District Attorney's Office to see if they would be willing to dismiss the case without Carlos coming to Massachusetts. At first the DA was adamant that they wanted Carlos to come to Court to face the cocaine charge. The arresting officer was still on the force; the drugs were still in the evidence locker; the state could easily prove its case. Attorney Lewin suggested to the DA that the state could use money - given the difficult economic times. Atorney Lewin suggested dismissing the case upon the payment of $500 in Court costs. The DA bit the bait and when the horse trading finished an agreement was reached to dismiss the cocaine charge on the payment of $1,500 in Court costs. Carlos needs three months to make payment and the DA agreed to a payment schedule of $500 per month. We still needed to get the presiding Judge in Malden Court to adopt this agreement. Judge Johnson is not an easy Judge in this type of case; he does not like people who "take off" and then when their driving privileges get suspended in some other state come back here lookling for relief. He often requires the people to come back to Massachusetts to "face the music". On Monday morning, March 7, 2011 Attorney Lewin went into Malden Court and presented a written Motion seeking relief. After a hearing in which the DA joined in a request to dismiss the case upon the payment of $1,500 over three months the Judge granted Attorney Lewin's request. The Judge excused Carlos's appearance, the Judge removed the default, the Judge cancelled the warrant (the cancellation of the warrant is the first step in getting the driving privileges reinstated), and the Judge ordered the case dismissed upon the payment of $1,500 in three months. Attorney Lewin left court and called Carlos in Virginia and gave him the good news. Attorney Lewin told Carlos that Attorney Lewin was going to the Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles to try to get his driving privileges reinstated. The next day Attorney Lewin went to the Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles and had a hearing with a hearing officer to get Carlos's driving privileges in Massachusetts cleared. It turned out that Carlos had two Massachusetts Licenses. This took a little doing to unravel but by the end of the day on Tuesday, March 8 Carlos's driving privileges in Massachusetts were reinstated. Attorney Lewin called Carlos with the news; Carlos then went to the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles and got his Virginia license reinstated.