Traffic & Speeding Ticket Lawyer Serving Lowell, Tewksbury, Middlesex County, MA
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 (such as leaving the scene of an accident or operating with a suspended license), you must return the ticket to the court that has jurisdiction within four days with the appropriate fee.
Why is it Important to Appeal?
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:
- Three Speeding Tickets: If you are found responsible for three speeding tickets within twelve months, you lose your license for thirty days. This period is calculated from the most recent finding or conviction date. An operator facing this suspension is currently not entitled to apply for a hardship license during their suspension.
- Three Surchargeable Events: If you are found responsible or guilty of three surchargeable events within twenty-four (24) months, you will be required to complete a Driver Retraining Course within ninety (90) days of receiving a notification from the Registry of Motor Vehicles. If you fail to take this course, you will lose your license indefinitely until the course is completed. A “surchargable event” includes both traffic citations (both civil and criminal) and accidents in which you are deemed to be at fault. Massachusetts includes out-of-state violations when calculating the amount of surchargeable events. An operator with a suspension/revocation for three surchargable events is NOT eligible for a hardship license.
- Five Surchargeable Events: Effective September 30, 2010, the five surchargeable event category previously utilized by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts was replaced by the three surchargeable event category. Any driver who was revoked or suspended under this category prior to the change must completed the National Safety Council course to be eligible for reinstatement. Until the course is taken, an operator’s license will be suspended indefinitely. An operator with a suspension/revocation for five surcharrgeable events is NOT eligible for a hardship license.
- Seven Surchargeable Events: This suspension is triggered by an accumulation of any combination of moving violations and/or surchargeable events within a three- year period. If you meet this qualification, you will receive a sixty (60) day loss of license. After serving your suspension, if you receive another surchargeable event and have six of the previous violations occurring within a three-year period, you may incur an additional suspension under this category. There is no limit to the amount of roving suspensions under this category. An operator with a suspension/revocation for seven surchargeable events is NOT eligible for a hardship license.
- 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 can result in a significant four (4) year loss of license.
As a habitual traffic offender, an operator is eligible to apply for a hardship license. The granting of a hardship license is at the “reasonable” discretion of the Registry of Motor Vehicles. To qualify for a hardship license, an operator will need to show:
- There has been no operation of a motor vehicle by the operator during the period of suspension.
- A minimum of one year of the suspension has been served.
- All other suspensions have been served with the exception of other habitual traffic offender suspension periods that may be running simultaneously so long as there has been no new incidents occurring after the first habitual traffic offender suspension date.
- Completion of the National Safety Council Driver Retraining course within a three years of the request.
- A documented and legitimate hardship.
- Proof of the unavailability of public transportation.
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 the penalties for these suspensions, challenging each citation is important to ensure both your present and future right to drive are not affected!
What Should I Do?
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 represent you in an appeal.
What Happens at the Appeal?
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.
What Happens if I Lose the Appeal?
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.
How I Can Help Drivers Charged with Traffic Tickets and Infractions
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.
More Information About My Traffic & Speeding Ticket Legal Matters:
What Our Clients Are Saying About Paul King
I was terrified when I was arrested for the first (and last) time, a couple of years ago. (It was a driving-related infracture). Paul King was a professional and matter-of-fact as a lawyer; but also there at any time to answer any questions and concerns throughout the process. My calls were never ignored or left unanswered. He was a true confidante, and thanks to him, i recieved a fair deal for my first (and last) ever incident. He was tough and honest, but also made me feal that I was not alone.
Avvo Review 5 Stars – anonymous