Do I Need an Attorney to Fight My Traffic Ticket in Massachusetts?
You recently received a traffic ticket. Once you put a check in the mail, you are pleading guilty to that offense. While this may seem like a harmless event, even minor violations can have unanticipated consequences if they add up over a short period of time. In Massachusetts, a "surchargeable event" is added to your record for any moving violation, such as speeding or an accident where you are judged to be at fault. Aside from an increase in your automobile insurance, accumulating multiple surchargeable events may lead to the suspension of your license. For example:
- 3 speeding violations within 12 months results in an automatic 30 day suspension of your license.
- 7 surchargeable events within 3 years results in an automatic 60 day suspension of your license.
- If you are a junior operator (under the age of 18), 2 speeding violations results in a 180 day suspension of your license.
- If the court considers you to be a habitual traffic offender, you could face a 4 year suspension of your license.
After you receive a traffic ticket, you have two options. First, you may plead guilty to the violation (also known as pleading "no contest"). In this case, you will pay the amount of the fine that is written on the ticket, incur points on your driving record, and possibly suffer an increase on your automobile insurance. In the alternative, you can choose to fight the ticket by pleading not guilty. This means that you will appear before a judge in traffic court, in the city or town where the violation occurred, and state your case, either representing yourself or choosing to hire an attorney to represent you. If the judge determines that you are not guilty of the violation, you will not have to pay the fine, nor will you incur points on your driving record or an increase on your automobile insurance. You may, however, have to pay court fees and attorney fees if you choose to hire one. If the judge decides that you are guilty of the violation, you will suffer the same penalties as pleading no contest, plus the additional court fees and/or attorney fees.Pay Attention To The Deadlines
You must notify the court within 20 days after receiving the traffic ticket by checking Box 1 (guilty plea) or Box 2 (not guilty plea) and sending the ticket to the indicated address. If you fail to respond before this time, the RMV will assess a late fee to the violation, and ignoring the late fee could lead to the suspension of your license. If you choose to contest the ticket by entering a not guilty plea, the RMV will send you a letter confirming your request and provide further instructions to pay a $25 filing fee. The letter will also list a deadline for paying the filing fee.Hire An Experienced Traffic Attorney
The Boston traffic lawyers at Bellotti Law Group, P.C. have decades of experience in helping to minimize the harm that traffic tickets can cause. With the representation of an attorney at your hearing in traffic court, you have a significantly greater chance of avoiding a suspended driver's license, fines, jail, or an increase on your insurance. Contact our Boston, Cambridge, or Quincy traffic ticket attorneys today at 617-225-2100 for a FREE evaluation of your case.