Got arrested over RMV negligence, can I sue?
May 11, 2014 9:20 AM   Subscribe

Hi MeFi, This past Friday I was pulled over by Brookline PD for speeding (doing 42 at 35) -- they told me my license was suspended and immediately put the cuffs on me and took me in. I told them this has to be a mistake, but they didn't want to listen. My license was briefly suspended in November when I was laid off from my job and was unable to pay for one of my tickets. I rectified this once I got my first unemployment check and have proof of payments via my bank statement. When I went to the RMV to get my license reinstated, they charged me $140 and told me I was all set. This very same day I bought my auto insurance via Progressive and we all know you cant buy insurance unless your license is valid. The cops at Brookline PD are saying my RMV record shows nothing about my license being reinstated and they believe that someone at the RMV made a clerical error and did not do their job properly. My questions are as follows; - Can I sue this RMV branch for negligence? - How can I get this stupid shit off my record? They took my photo and all. I don't want this lingering on my record! I've never been arrested before.

I am due to see their probation office on Monday at 830 and I have all of my bank statements showing that I indeed did pay RMV in December to get my license reinstated.

They also took my current license away and told me it had to be 'destroyed'.

I really need my license back so I can drive to work so I am a little nervous over how long this process may take. The officers at Brookline PD said the probation officer may very well fix this right away but they are not sure. They said 'we wish you luck, sir.'

Do you folks have any suggestions/comments/tips in regards to this? I am baffled that this is how the police handles these situations. I understand its not their fault since they have to go by what the computer says but I am livid over these RMV retards who charged me to get my license reinstated but did not update my file. Because of them, I ended up in jail and can't even imagine how much it will cost to get my car from the impound.

Any comments and tips are greatly appreciated.

Many thanks!
posted by bostonhill to Law & Government (5 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I cannot imagine that this situation wouldn't be improved by paid legal help. Please get a lawyer-- an arrest is serious enough to warrant it.
posted by jetlagaddict at 9:45 AM on May 11, 2014 [10 favorites]

Best answer: Also note:
posted by Consult The Oracle at 10:58 AM on May 11, 2014

Best answer: I've been through something similar in broad respects, though in Illinois. IANAL, TINLA.

Your first priority here is to get your license and your car back. Don't throw yourself on the mercy of the probation officer here; they may be sympathetic, or they may not, and in any case may not have the authority to solve these problems in a practical and immediate sense. If you were given a criminal charge, you are almost certainly still going to need to show up in court. (I assume you were already arraigned and released on some sort of recognizance bond. You'll also probably need to show up in court to get the bond cancelled.) I really cannot recommend enough that you find an attorney and make time to see one as soon as possible. Try to get a recommendation from a friend of a competent, experienced traffic court attorney, someone who knows not just the procedures and the law, but the judges and other officials. This will improve your chances of solving your practical problems quickly more than you imagine.

(When I was in court, it was quite apparent the difference in outcomes between those who acted as their own attorney, like me, and those who paid someone to do that job for them. Night and day. I avoided a driving-while-suspended charge thanks to the intervention of my then state senator, who got the office in Springfield to process my paperwork in time for court, but I willingly sucked up a speeding 11-over-limit as the price I paid in place of paying for an attorney, not necessarily an ideal strategy. I also sucked up the insults from the prosecutor who basically chalked up my corrected paperwork to quid pro quo Chicago corruption. As if.)

Getting your records cleared and any possibility of monetary recovery is a distinct secondary priority and long-term goal, but you really don't need to be worrying about either of those right now. Your attorney will be able to advise you on how and when you should pursue these (e.g. within statutory filing deadlines, etc.). Start calling.
posted by dhartung at 1:07 PM on May 11, 2014 [3 favorites]

This is one of those situations that could get much, much worse in a hurry. Imagine your license suspended indefinitely while the paperwork meanders through the system. Or worse, imagine ending up in jail for several weeks over this and losing your job.

You need a solid lawyer with experience with these issues, ASAP.

Take a taxi to work in the meantime.
posted by zug at 12:44 PM on May 12, 2014

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