I-Team: People Without License Drive To Court To Ask For It Back

By Kathy Curran, WBZ-TV I-Team

BOSTON (CBS) – Even if your driver’s license has been taken away for driving drunk or racking up too many traffic violations, there’s a state board where you can go to ask for it back.

The question is – how do you get there?

The I-Team found that for many people without driver’s licenses the answer is simple.

You drive.

For example, the I-Team caught Grace Carvajal sliding into the driver’s seat, but she doesn’t have a license to get behind the wheel.

WBZ-TV’s Kathy Curran reports

What’s even more troubling is where our cameras found her – in the parking lot at the courthouse where minutes earlier she stood before the state’s Board of Appeals, pleading to get her license back.

Carvajal has a 10-year habit of not paying her traffic tickets and, as a result, she has no license to drive.

“You’re disturbing my privacy so get out, get that out of my face,” said Carvajal when we tried to talk with her in her car outside the courthouse.

Carvajal is one of about 350,000 Massachusetts drivers with suspended or revoked licenses.

Drunk driving and other offenses have cost them their driver’s licenses, and they don’t know when, if ever, they’ll be getting them back.

Carvajal was still pacing the parking lot when we left a few hours later.

But the I-Team found a denial at the Board of Appeals doesn’t stop some of them from walking out of the hearing with keys in hand and hopping right back in the driver’s seat.

This is how it’s supposed to work:

The Registry of Motor Vehicles suspends or revokes your driver’s license and, under the law, you have the right to petition the three-member Board of Appeals to get your license back or get a temporary license so you can drive to and from work.

Hugh Gibbs is another driver we caught breaking the rules.

He’s one of the nearly 2,700 drivers who appealed their cases in the last nine months.

Fifty-nine percent were denied.

Gibbs, who has a seven-page driving record that includes drunk driving, stashed his pickup truck in a parking lot behind a building, out of view, right across the street from the courthouse.

When we approached Gibbs after his hearing, sitting behind the wheel of his pick up truck, he said, “I’m sorry,” and quickly drove away.

“It never ceases to amaze me the egregious nature of some people’s behavior,” said Registrar of Motor Vehicles Rachel Kaprielian.

“When people are driving unlicensed, whatever the reason, they are subject to sanction. And we rely on our partners in law enforcement to go after those people.”

So what is law enforcement doing about this?

A spokesman for the Marlborough police said they’re aware of the problem — they’ve actually caught some unlicensed drivers outside the courthouse — but don’t have the manpower to be out there every week.

As for the two unlicensed drivers caught by the I-Team, Carvajal lost her appeal, but later paid off all her delinquent fines and got her license back.

Gibbs’ case was continued.

  • tsal

    Did it dawn on Kaprielian that having an officer of the court sit in the parking lot or patrol the area might catch some of these people? Comments by those who can’t move from behind their desks to do a complete job never cease to amaze me.

  • DAN


    • Manny

      Dan, how do you know half of the poeple are Spanish? what about all of those drunk Irish poeple? I’m Spanish and most of my friend are Irsh at least half of them, are here in the US with Expired Visas and pssports. the’re here illegal and nobody says anything about them, why? becuase they have their Irish friends who are politicans, or police officers who will help them. What an idiot you are.

      • Stanley11

        Manny, I agree with your point, but how do you know all of the Irish people are drunk?

      • tsal1

        Hi Stanley11 – that half the Irish are drunk wasn’t funny but I had to laugh at your comment because I had the exact same thought.

  • DAN


    • Manny

      Dan,did you see the report. all of the poeple inside the Court waiting for a hearing were white.

  • web

    10 years and not paying traffic tickets? I’ve been driving for a loooong time and don’t have a traffic ticket. Maybe she should be forced to take driving school again.

  • FireGuyFrank

    tsal, you are on the ball. It makes me wonder if the bureaucracy of driving licenses is worth it? You could enter plate numbers in for people who lose their license, but they can switch plates or cars. Police would have to run license plates all the time to catch just one person — maybe.

    • tsal

      I have a neighbor who switches plates all of the time. It’s ridiculous. Keeps him from paying insurance on all cars and keeps our insurance rates going up.

      • tsal

        I hear them run plates all of the time when (and if) I have my scanner running but it’s for someone stopped. The police are correct that Marlboro is short staffed – all of the PDs are since they are still not hiring and not taking attrition into consideration

      • web

        tsal, if you know of a neighbor doing this, why don’t you at least report it? I thought there was an anonymous hotline tip number available?

  • Denise

    Laws are only therre for those that will obey them – after all the gun laws don’t stop the criminals from having them – speed limits don’t stop people from speeding – if the easy laws aren’t enforced then why should people obey them? It’s a catch me if you can world – but obviously even when caught – they don’t worry to much about breaking another law after the fact and driving!

  • Willow

    So, how did this turn into the Spanish vs. Irish? Give me a break! What good is it if the I-Team is out there finding people breaking the law, when no one cares to even enforce it? Why should any of us pay for a license, registration or even insurance when you can easily continue driving without any of them.

    • tsal

      I was a bit confused about the Irish/Spanish thing too. First I thought it was being pointed out that it was more than a bit prejudiced to say the Spanish and then it went to the Irish so who knows.

  • emom

    What about that lady that didn’t want to talk to the I TEAM. She is pregnant, what a piece of work..Wonder if she is also on welfare, Just a thought, If the courts were serious in stopping these people they would have 2 cops sitting in unmarked cars around the parking lot ,, Walking around as if they were going in to get their license back and then walk out to catch these abusers of the law.
    I remember when growing up you would hear about someone getting busted for drunk driving , and they went to jail for 30 days did community service and paid a hefty fine, they learned a lesson , Not enough cops, OK hers a thought,, stop using them on details, place them were they are far more needed, UPHIOLDONG the law catch these abusers of the laws. Not to bash a cop, but in the last two weeks in one town , I Have seen 10 different details spots, and only 3 the cops directed traffic. 2 cars almost got into a head on collision because no one was stopping traffic,,, and it was on a hill so it was hard for either to see the other with out a look out at the top of the hill.. JUST SAYING.
    Take the cops of details put them back on the streets or in this case in the parking lots of the courts to catch criminals of the law, in this report I see they could have caught at least 4 or more offenders… Priorities have been thrown out the window these days. criminals get privileges and the innocent get taken advantage once again.

    • tsal1

      the towns do not have enough on the force to have two police just sit in the parking lots. They basically haven’t been hiring for about four years. The detail police are working OT.

    • Jose Zaldana

      EMOM: Why would she be on welfare? You are being extremely pregidous. So you know 49.5% of Welfare benefits are paid to white american population. STOP BEING IGNORANT PEOPLE!

  • AK

    If you don’t pay your tickets —tow away the car until the tickets are paid for.

    If you are found driving with a revoked license – tow away the car until the license is reinstated. If driving another person’s car they should have to pay a hefty fine to get it back. They should not be loaning their car to a person who does not have a license.

    The laws in this state are not strong enough! Someone was caught the other DUI after 7 times……??? What is stopping him????

  • Willow

    If there aren’t enough people to enforce the laws, then hire more, or just do away with rules and regulations. There doesn’t appear to be any punishment for those who don’t obey the rules, so what will it take to stop them. I like AK’s idea to tow away the vehicles, and any subsequent ones the offenders are caught driving. Better build a big parking lot!!

  • taxedout

    If the jerks in the statehouse, instead of raising our taxes every chance they get, how about slapping big fines on these people?? 3 time drunk drivers Lose your car and the state sells it. Illegal sent back to his home and we pick up the tab, how about anything he owns sold and the money used for roads,etc??? Nah keep raising the taxes, it takes No Brains which is what this state is known for!!!! Any Pol convicted of a felony, loses his pension and the money goes to inferstructure…Nah

  • emom

    Do away with police details. That should give the courts a few extra cops. Lets face it, we need them where it counts, some just stand there anyways, put them where we need them the most, at the courts busting those that buck the laws and refuse to pay… regardless if they have not hired any cops, there are far better places to use them than at details where they stand , chat and drink coffee.. And oh please do not try and tell me none do it, when so many drive by and see it and watch them not doing their job in directing traffic, is that what they are to be doing ..send them to the courts , problem solved,

  • SupaTrupa

    Such intelligent comments! First off, many people with suspensions get busted driving all the time. Whether it’s at the lot of this board or 2 miles down the road doesn’t really matter. The board members can’t walk them to their car and ask them if they’re going to drive it. Get serious.

    Second, there’s thousands of illegals getting busted driving without a license each day who never go to court or to this appeals board because we don’t know who they really are. They simply acquire a new fake ID and do it all over again. That’s the real story the I Team should be focusing on.

    Third. Any cop on a detail is working on his own time and providing additional police duties at no cost to the department (in most cases). To place a cop in a court to catch a few unlicensed drivers wouldn’t be cost effective or logical.

    Fourth. You all smell.

    • Jose Zaldana

      All the people above : you all talk without knowledge or common sense, why would someone be at the court of appeals if “she has not paid tickets in 10 yrs” One thing is to pay late and a completely different is to not pay . More likely that is the case, CBS is well know of stating TRASH in their stories and some people who read it can not see it.

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