What to Do If You Get a Speeding Ticket or Traffic Ticket in Massachusetts: Essential Steps to Minimize Consequences
Nobody likes receiving a traffic ticket, plain and simple. They are costly, nerve-racking, time consuming, and often have negative effects that can persist for years down the road. Unfortunately, nearly all of us will be issued a traffic ticket at some point, for speeding, failure to yield, lane violations, running red lights or stop signs, and a plethora of other moving violations.
What makes traffic tickets in Massachusetts especially difficult is that there are potentially three penalties for offenders—First, the face value of the fine must be paid, which are expensive. Second, "surchargeable points" are added onto your license, which result in insurance surcharges, which are often substantial and can last for many years. Third, if you accrue enough "surchargeable events" in a certain time frame, you will face having your license suspended, often for lengthy amounts of time. In short, traffic tickets alone present problems, but their collateral effects can be a nightmare for many drivers and their families.
The Boston traffic lawyers at Bellotti Law Group, P.C. offer the following tips if you've been issued a traffic ticket. Above all, contact an experienced Boston traffic lawyer at Bellotti Law Group, P.C. today at 617-225-2100 as soon as possible to develop an individualized plan to suit your needs.
1. Decide the best course of action based on your needs — You have the right to appeal your ticket and be heard before a judge. You can also choose to pay the fine by mail or online. Note, though, that if you decide to pay the fine outright, you are accepting a guilty plea for the violation. This will go on your RMV driving record, your insurance company will be notified, and you will face insurance surcharges and potential license suspension, depending on your individual circumstances. If you choose to attend a hearing in front of a municipal court judge, at the hearing, you and/or your attorney can advance arguments as to why you should not have been issued the ticket and the judge can dismiss your case. The judge can also order you to pay the fine, plus court costs. This is why it is essential to bring the most compelling, well-prepared argument to court with you.
2. Don't ignore the ticket — You have 20 days to respond to your ticket, either by paying the fine or requesting a hearing. If you let too much time elapse, your problem will only be compounded and you'll be facing more fines, possible arrest, and license suspension.
3. Check your driving record often — Checking to make sure your driving record is accurate and knowing the number of surchargeable events and points will help you avoid potentially erroneous charges down the line and will force you to be cognizant of what you might be facing.
Avoid speeding, which is an especially costly ticket: Speeding ticket fines are exponentially worse the faster your speed over the limit. Speeding tickets have a "base fine" and additional fine increments for every 10mph you were traveling over the limit, in addition to other surcharges.