RMV and Mass Courts Launch "E-Conciliation" for Criminal Drivers
(Boston, MA)-Registrar Rachel Kaprielian and District Court Chief Justice Lynda M. Connolly today announced the successful launch of a joint program to electronically transfer criminal dispositions from Massachusetts district courts to the RMV on a daily basis. The automated reporting program is designed to streamline a cumbersome administrative function at the courts and the RMV. It will significantly reduce delays in processing the information used to revoke driving privileges where such action is legally permissible.
“This is an unprecedented collaboration between the RMV and district courts to address a decades old problem in up-dating driver records,” said Registrar Kaprielian. “The automated reporting program we’ve developed will enable the RMV to promptly suspend the licenses of people whose criminal charges mandate such administrative action.”
The electronic transfer of files was launched January 2 and is now in use in 58 District Courts and six divisions of Boston Municipal Court. By the end of the year, the remaining four district courts and five Boston Municipal Court divisions are expected to be on line and equipped to transfer dispositions electronically.
“The Registry of Motor Vehicles and the District Courts exchange over 600,000 pieces of information each year relating to drivers' licenses and their involvement with the courts. The statewide implementation of MassCourts, the Trial Court's automated case management system, allows the courts to interface electronically with external entities such as the RMV promoting the prompt and efficient exchange of information,” said Chief Justice Connolly.
IT experts and programmers from the RMV, the Administrative Office of the Trial Court and the Merit Rating Board (MRB) have been working together since last July to develop IT programming that allows the court’s computer system to interface with the RMV database. The automated reporting program enables court files to be transmitted electronically each day to the MRB which processes criminal citations and enters the dispositions into the RMV database of motorist records.
When a person is convicted of a serious criminal violation or is assigned to an alcohol/drug education program, the RMV enforces mandated license suspensions once the court disposition is received. The electronic transfer will eliminate delays caused by the manual preparation, mailing and data entry previously required. The daily transmission of information will streamline the RMV's process of matching court dispositions to drivers' records.
During the transition to the electronic process, the courts send the MRB a paper copy of the criminal citation before the defendant is scheduled for hearing. This helps the RMV track any citation that has an outstanding court finding. This spring, the RMV will file legislation that shifts the responsibility for sending paper copies from the courts to law enforcement.
Registrar Kaprielian and Chief Justice Connolly noted that the joint working group also developed search criteria and procedures in a labor intensive effort to reconcile past court dispositions for OUI and vehicular homicide cases that were either missing or mismatched in the RMV database.
The first phase of the reconciliation effort targeted records dating back to 2003. As a result, the RMV and the courts found that less than two percent of the 90,000 records showed an outstanding disposition. These records were immediately updated and all OUI and vehicular homicide adjudications which included convictions, dismissals, continued without a finding and acquittals were entered in a driver’s history.
“We felt it important to identify incomplete driver records that resulted from an outdated manual process,” said Registrar Kaprielian. “With this review, the motoring public can feel more confident that the RMV is keeping dangerous drivers from getting behind the wheel.”
The RMV is now determining the status of adjudications on a case by case basis.
In most cases where the driver was convicted of repeat OUI or vehicular manslaughter, the driver faces additional administrative sanctions regardless of the date of the conviction. The RMV and Courts are working to complete the review and reconciliation of both vehicular homicide and OUI cases dating back to 1998.
“We are confident that these efforts will rectify any lapses in updating driver records and make sure future record entries are kept current and sanctions promptly applied to bad drivers,” said Registrar Kaprielian. “The RMV is committed to keeping every unsafe driver off Massachusetts roadways.”