Massachusetts Traffic Tickets, including a Massachusetts speeding ticket, can have serious and long-lasting consequences. In addition to the fine, a motor vehicle violation will likely increase your automobile insurance rates and count towards a license suspension. It has been estimated that a single speeding citation can cost you as much as $1,500.00 in increased insurance rates. Even violations such as operating an unregistered motor vehicle or driving with an expired inspection sticker will result in a surcharge on your driving record and count towards a license suspension. Given these consequences, it might make sense to hire a Traffic Violation Attorney to appeal your Massachusetts speeding ticket.
THE APPEAL PROCESS FOR CIVIL MOTOR VEHICLE INFRACTIONS
The speeding ticket appeal process begins with the issuance of a citation, otherwise known as a “ticket.” In Massachusetts, tickets fall into 2 categories, they are either “civil” or “criminal.” If a police officer observes or has brought to his attention the occurrence of a civil motor vehicle infraction, the officer may issue a written warning or a civil motor vehicle citation. This is an example of a civil citation:
You will see that the “All Civil Infractions” box is checked. If you receive a civil citation, within 20 days of the date of the citation you must, for each civil motor vehicle infraction alleged, either pay the scheduled assessment or contest responsibility for the infraction by requesting a hearing before a magistrate of the district court. You must decide whether to pay or appeal the citation. If you pay the citation, you are admitting responsibility, and the violations will count against you for insurance and license suspension purposes.
You may contest responsibility for the citation by signing the back of the citation, checking off the “hearing” box on the back of the citation, and mailing it to the RMV at the address indicated on the citation within 20 days of the date of the citation. The Court will then schedule a speeding ticket appeal.
At the hearing before a magistrate or justice, the citation is admissible and is prima facie evidence of the facts stated therein. This means that at the Clerk-Magistrate level, the police officer who wrote the ticket does not have to appear for you to be found responsible. The citation itself is considered evidence against you.
At the conclusion of the hearing, the magistrate or justice will announce a finding of responsible or not responsible. The magistrate or justice will enter a finding of responsible only if it was shown by a preponderance of the credible evidence that you committed the infraction alleged; otherwise, the magistrate or justice must enter a finding of not responsible. No other disposition is permitted. Winning a traffic ticket or speeding ticket appeal means that not only do you not have to pay the citation, but also your insurance will not increase because of it, and the violations will not be counted against you for license suspension purposes. Because of this, it might make sense to hire an attorney to represent you.
Attorney Paul B. Watkins, a former police officer, has an excellent record of achieving not-responsible findings at Massachusetts speeding and traffic ticket appeal hearings. He uses his years of police knowledge and experience in defending motorists cited for speeding, marked lanes, defective equipment, red light violations, and other civil motor vehicle infractions, as well as criminal offenses such as operating after suspension, uninsured motor vehicle, and more serious offense such as operating under the influence.
Massachusetts traffic tickets and speeding citations can cost you thousands by increasing your insurance rates and they can result in license suspensions. You can avoid these serious consequences by getting a not-responsible finding or a dismissal of the charges. Call or e-mail today for a no-cost review of your case.
Traffic tickets can count towards 30-day suspensions for 3 speeding tickets, 60-day license suspensions for 7 Surchargable Events, and 4-year license revocations for being a Habitual Traffic Offender. Also, if you have a Junior Operator’s License (JOL) and you are found responsible for speeding, your license will be suspended for up to one (1) year. Motor Vehicle Citations may also cause you to have to complete the National Safety Council Driver Re-Training Course. Certain traffic violations might also result in the loss of a Commercial Driver License. Contact a traffic violation attorney to discuss your options.