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A Va. Man Visited Friends in Boston. Now He's Facing a License Suspension Over His Out-of-State Plates

Last fall Ben visited friends in Boston for a month, and someone reported his out-of-state plates to an RMV tip line

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A Virginia man is facing a driver's license suspension if he doesn't register his vehicle in Massachusetts by tomorrow. The problem is, he doesn’t live here.

"It's so simple," said Ben, who lives in Virginia and doesn't want to use his last name. "It would take a human being 30 seconds to realize there's been a mistake."

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Last fall he visited friends in Boston for a month. He said someone called the Registry of Motor Vehicles tip line reporting his out-of-state plates, and now he said the Massachusetts RMV is forcing him to dual register his car here.

"I thought this was silly," said Ben. "Naively, I thought, 'Wow, this will be really easy to demonstrate that this doesn't apply to me because I don't live in Massachusetts, work in Massachusetts, or have a Massachusetts address. I'll just get on the phone with someone for 30 seconds, give them my documents showing that I have the right insurance to drive in Massachusetts and I live in Virginia, and that will take care of it.' And I wish that had been the case, but unfortunately, it didn't go that way."

After making dozens of calls, sending documentation, proof of his Virginia residency, and filing an appeal, Ben says he was told if he doesn't register the vehicle in the Bay State by Friday, his license would be suspended, and Virginia will be notified. The DMV there told Ben they will then suspend his license as well.

"It'll be a huge hardship," said Ben.  "And one of the only avenues I have is appealing this case, which can't happen before I lose my license.  And in order to do that, I have to attend an in-person hearing in Massachusetts. I don't know how I'm going to get there if my license is suspended and I can't drive myself to Massachusetts or from the airport to the hearing."

Ben said he did get a call from a supervisor in the enforcement services unit who told him under Chapter 90,  Section 3 of the Mass Code, anyone who operates a motor vehicle for thirty days in a calendar year is required to register the vehicle.  And he says he heard from the Department of Transportation ombudsman’s office.

"Which told me that there's nothing they can do, and I'll just have to wait and see what happens. There's nothing they can do to review it," he explained.

NBC10 Boston contacted MassDOT and the RMV on Ben’s behalf this week to get the situation escalated before he loses his license.

Thursday afternoon, he said he heard from the DMV that they are postponing his suspension for 60 days while they investigate further.

The Registry said it is currently thoroughly researching the case and will provide information as soon as it becomes available.

He also heard from his insurance company’s Massachusetts policy office today, which told him he can’t register his vehicle here because he's not a Massachusetts resident and therefore can not obtain an auto insurance policy needed to register. They recommend he calls the RMV for help.

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