Traffic citations have become a large source of revenue in Massachusetts. Both the state police and the local police have been out patrolling roads to find violators. Have you been one of the unlucky drivers that has received a speeding violations ticket in Massachusetts? What do you do once you get that ticket? How does it affect your insurance or your license?
First, you need to know what your options are. Basically you have two. The first option is to pay the speeding ticket fine. If you do so, you simply send the payment amount to the address on the ticket within 20 days. Failure to do so could result in increased fines and a suspension of your driver's license. While this is the easiest solution, keep in mind that paying the ticket is an admission of fault. You lose any right to appeal or beat speeding ticket, at a later date and will be surcharged on every citation listed on the ticket. Also, depending on your driving record, paying the ticket can result in a suspension of your license.
Option two is to appeal the ticket. If you choose to do this, make a copy of the ticket for your records. (You will want this to prepare you or your attorney for the hearing). Once you have a copy of the speeding ticket record, sign the back and check off that you are requesting a hearing. You must send in the request within 20 days. (If you are late, don't despair. Go into the nearest RMV with a hearings officer, explain that you wanted to request a hearing, and they can do so manually. Just DO NOT pay the ticket, or you lose your right to a hearing).
Once the hearing request is processed, you will receive a hearing date from the speeding ticket court. Typically, the date will come within 3 to 6 weeks, however some courts are MUCH slower and it can take several months to get the date. The date will be for a clerk magistrate's hearing. In Massachusetts, you have the right to 2 hearings. The first, the magistrate's hearing, is an informal hearing where the officer is not present. This is your chance to convince the clerk to find you not responsible. If you do not like the clerk's decision, you can appeal to a second hearing, a judge's appeal. At the second hearing, it is a formal hearing in front of the judge where the officer must be present. This is your chance to cross examine the officer and find out if he did everything correctly. Also, it is your chance to convince the judge that you did everything correctly and it was the officer who was mistaken. The court charges a $25.00 fee for the clerk's hearing and a $50.00 fee for the judge's appeal. These fees must be paid, even if you win. (The $50.00 fee only gets paid if you appeal to the second hearing.)