Providing representation to clients in Lowell, Tewksbury, Middlesex County, Essex County & Beyond
Client’s often ask “I was pulled over and received a ticket, what should I do?”
The answer is usually “Appeal the ticket immediately!”
Every state has a different process and time deadlines that must be followed. In Massachusetts, if you wish to appeal a civil citation, you must request a hearing and pay a hearing fee within twenty days. For a criminal infraction (e.g. leaving the scene of property damage, operating with a suspended license), you must return the ticket to the court that has jurisdiction within four days with the appropriate fee.
Depending on the number of civil and criminal infractions that you have either been found guilty or responsible for, you could lose your license for a short to long period of time.
In Massachusetts, the following suspensions apply in these situations:
Habitual Traffic Offender (HTO): This suspension is triggered by an accumulation of a total of three major moving violations or any combination of 12 major or minor moving violations within a five-year period. If another state reports an event, it will be included in the calculation. Surchargeable accidents are not part of HTO calculations. Being deemed a habitual traffic offender results in a significant four (4) year loss of license.
It is important to appeal any and all citations to avoid accumulating offenses that could result in up to a four-year loss of license and insurance surcharges. These suspensions and the terms related thereto are subject to change. A good resource to review the current regulations for suspensions can be found on your State’s Registry of Motor Vehicles website. In Massachusetts, this website can be found at: http://www.massrmv.com/SuspensionsandHearings/CitationsSurcharges/AccumulationofOffensesSuspensions.aspx
Given the sometimes evolving nature of these suspensions, challenging each citation is important to ensure both your present and future right to drive are not affected!
Send in the appeal! Once you send in the appeal, obtain your complete driving record to determine if you may be at risk of having your license suspended. Once you do this, call me to find out how I can help you.
During the initial appeal, you will have to appear before a clerk magistrate. The officer who cited you will not necessarily be present, but a police prosecutor from that police department will be present. Generally, a clerk magistrate will ask the police prosecutor to recite the facts that gave rise to the ticket, and then give you a chance to respond about why you feel you should not have been cited or should be found not responsible.
If you lose the appeal before the clerk magistrate, you have the opportunity to appeal and be heard in front of a judge. This does require an additional filing fee. At this hearing before a judge, the actual police officer who gave you the ticket must be present at court to provide evidence and testimony against you. During this hearing, you will have an opportunity to cross-examine the police officer and present evidence in your defense.
I have appealed many tickets on behalf of clients with an overwhelming success rate. While I cannot guaranty a positive outcome, I can help you review your driving record and present the best defense on your behalf.