Massachusetts traffic tickets can have severe consequences, which extend far beyond the payment of a fine. Citations are issued for civil infractions such as speeding, having an expired inspection sticker, failing to stop for a stop sign or red light, failing to stay within marked lanes, following too closely, and a variety of other offenses which can be resolved by either appealing the citation to the District Court or paying the fine by sending in payment to the Registry.
Other Massachusetts traffic citations, are for criminal offenses such as “no liability policy,” operating an uninsured motor vehicle, unlicensed operation, operating after suspension, reckless driving, negligent operation, leaving the scene of an accident, after causing personal injury or property damage, and DUI or “drunk driving.”
In cases where an alleged violator is charged with criminal offenses and not arrested, the citation must be submitted to the Clerk-Magistrate’s Office of the District Court having jurisdiction over location where the offense occurred within four (4) days. Otherwise, the alleged violator will lose his or her right to a Clerk-Magistrate Hearing.
No matter what you are charged with, whether the offense is criminal or civil, it is absolutely critical to make a photocopy of the citation prior to mailing it to the Mass. RMV or sending it to the Clerk-Magistrate’s office of the District Court. Massachusetts law requires that traffic citations be completed in a certain manner and the failure to do so can result in a not responsible decision or dismissal of the charges. I have been able to achieve favorable outcomes in a wide variety of cases because of legal defects with the citations. I have successfully argued motions in numerous courts, after which both Clerk-Magistrates and Judges have agreed to dismiss the charges against my client. I have done this in both civil cases, where my client was charged with speeding, and in more serious criminal cases, involving charges such as operating after suspension and unlicensed operation, both of which count as major offenses for the purposes of the Massachusetts Habitual Traffic Offender law.
If a client submits his or her ticket to the Registry or the Courts, I am unable to analyze the citation, to determine whether it has been completed in accordance with the law and established procedures. In these cases, where the client fails to retain the ticket, I do not get to see it until the client’s hearing. This deprives me of valuable time, which I could use to attack the prosecution’s case. Therefore, please scan or photocopy your traffic ticket prior to sending it in.