Traffic Violations / Speeding Tickets

Unfortunately, offenses involving the operation of a motor vehicle in Massachusetts, don't begin and end with DUI / OUI issues. Someone who has never touched drugs or alcohol in his or her whole life, can end up being charged with a serious motor vehicle offense in Massachusetts, lose their driver's license, and face harsh insurance surcharges and court fines. Motor vehicle offenses in Massachusetts can either be of a criminal nature, or civil. The criminal offenses represent the more serious operating violations, and the civil violations the lesser serious category. There are more than 90 reasons why the state of Massachusetts can suspend or revoke your driver's license, from Failure To Pay Child Support, all the way to driving with improperly tinted windows. Our website doesn't allow for space to discuss or even list all of these potential reasons, but the most common criminal offenses include, but are not limited to, the following:

Criminal Motor Vehicle Offenses:

  • Operating Without a License
  • Operating After License Suspension or License Revocation
  • Operating After License Suspension or License Revocation For Operating Under The Influence
  • Attaching Plates
  • Falsifying or using a False Motor Vehicle Document
  • Operating an Uninsured Motor Vehicle
  • Road Racing
  • Use of A Vehicle Without Authority
  • Leaving The Scene Of An Accident
  • Refusal To Obey A Police Officer
  • Operating To Endanger
  • Causing Serious Bodily Injury While OUI
  • Homicide By Motor Vehicle

Note: A criminal charge of "Operating To Endanger" can be a common one, and often times, very vague. This is a serious crime which leads to a suspension of your driver's license and right to operate. You should know that, unlike with DUI / OUI stops, there are no objective operator tests for determining whether a driver has been "Operating To Endanger." There is no technology or machinery used, such as a radar gun to measure speed. Hence, whether or not you are charged with this serious crime is an entirely subjective assessment based upon the observation of the police officer making the arrest. This only increases your need for an experienced criminal motor vehicle offense attorney to represent you. There are at least ten (10) reasons why a charge of "Operating To Endanger" might be made against a driver, ranging from "Inattention" to "Failure to allow Enough Time or Space To Merge, Leave or Cross Traffic." We know how to successfully challenge the grounds for this charge, and possibly either reduce or dismiss the charges altogether. Contact us for a free initial consultation about your case. You are advised not to respond to this serious charge without the benefit of experienced legal counsel.

As to the other criminal penalties above, each of those criminal offenses also carries strict penalties, legal ramifications and financial consequences, and should not be dealt with, without the advice and counsel of an experienced Massachusetts motor vehicle offenses attorney. Those ramifications can leave you with a criminal record that will follow you for years to come, impacting your entire life. If you or someone you know has been arrested for any criminal motor vehicle offense in Massachusetts contact us for a free initial evaluation of your case. We can minimize or eliminate the legal charges and resulting legal and financial consequences you face. Don't face this alone, or without an experienced Massachusetts motor vehicle offenses attorney. Contact us and we will discuss your legal options, as well as the fees that we would charge you. We practice before all District and Superior Courts in Eastern Massachusetts.

Civil Motor Vehicle Infractions

Of all the areas of legal problems a person could most potentially get caught up in, this is one of the most common. Most people don't realize this, but speeding tickets and traffic crimes can result in the suspension or loss of your driver's license, and cause enormous legal, practical and financial problem. 99% of people think that if they receive a ticket and fine for speeding and they "Just pay the fine and send it in," that's the end of it. Not so.

In Massachusetts, when you receive a speeding ticket or some other similar citation from a police officer, that is known legally as a "Civil Motor Vehicle Infraction," or "CMVI." What distinguishes one offense from being "criminal," and another from being deemed "civil?" Primarily, the presence or absence of what is known as an "arrestable offense." Previously, the law used to state that all motor vehicle offenses carrying a fine of $100 or less that were also not subject to an arrest, were categorized as civil offenses. More recently, that law has been changed to provide that all motor vehicle offenses that do not carry the possibility of an arrest, regardless of the amount of the fine, are now considered civil offenses. This legislative change reflects a trend toward decriminalization of such infractions.

As stated above, there are over 90 reasons why the state of Massachusetts can suspend or revoke your driver's license, ranging from Failure To Pay Child Support, all the way to driving with improperly tinted windows. There is not sufficient space to discuss or even list all of these potential reasons. However, each traffic violation carries with it differing consequences for your driving privileges in Massachusetts. None of these infractions can be ignored. Do so, and we guarantee you, you will regret it. The consequences can be severe and long-lasting.

Among the most serious of consequences for a CMVI, is suspension or revocation of your license to drive. For most all people, this will seriously impact their ability to commute to a job and earn a living. In many instances, we can help you secure a Massachusetts Hardship License. This is otherwise known as a "Cinderella License," and is valid for twelve hours each day (usually 7AM to 7PM). Contact us for a free case evaluation and we can explain the procedure involved and the likely cost to you in terms of our legal fee.

We're often asked, "Should most people hire a lawyer to fight a speeding ticket or other civil motor vehicle infraction? Why not just pay the ticket and be done with it?" Because paying the ticket doesn't make the problem "go away." There are consequences to doing that – and they include serious and costly auto insurance surcharges. The insurance rating system in Massachusetts is designed to reward incident-free drivers, and penalize (i.e., raise insurance rates) on high-risk drivers who have been involved in multiple traffic accidents or incidents. Accidents and traffic violations can produce surcharge points that stay on your record for six (6) years and that are reflected on your insurance statements for up to five (5) years. Surcharge amounts can add up to thousands of dollars in increased insurance premiums.

The cost of a retaining an experienced Massachusetts civil motor vehicle infractions attorney is more than worth the expense – and an experienced attorney's fee is likely to be much higher than the initial fine imposed. The value of retaining an attorney to represent you in a matter like this is reflected in several reasons: First, fighting a speeding or similar ticket is not easy. It demands experience and expertise in this type of legal proceeding. Any lawyer representing you will need to prepare several pleadings and considerable paperwork, and appear personally in court on your behalf. That is time away from his or her office, away from working for other paying clients. Unfortunately, none of this is inexpensive. But as many of our clients would tell you, it's well worth it: A single speeding ticket in one year may cost you nearly $500.00 - $1,000.00 in insurance surcharges per year – meaning a single speeding ticket can cost you $3,000.00 or more in added insurance surcharges. Three speeding fines in one year can result in a complete suspension of your driver's license, completely apart from shockingly high insurance surcharges each year, for several years.

Traffic Violations / Speeding Tickets The following are some brief answers to some common questions in this field of practice:

  • Maybe I can gamble that the officer who gave me my ticket won't show up in court. If the officer who gave me my ticket fails to appear in court, will the action be dismissed? No. Under Massachusetts law, the ticket itself can be considered evidence against you at the initial hearing. Furthermore, most "CMVI" cases are presented by what are known as "police prosecutors," who simply read the complaint to the magistrate hearing the matter. Such personnel need not be the officer who wrote you the citation. Unless you appear with an experienced attorney on your behalf, you will very likely be found responsible by the magistrate hearing the matter.

  • The officer who wrote me the ticket didn't check "Clocked" or "Radar" as the reason I was cited for speeding. Is the ticket still valid? Yes. The only effect such an omission would have, would be to raise questions as to how your speed was calculated.

  • I was cited for speeding – but there was no posted speed limit on the road I was driving on. Can I get the ticket dismissed? Not automatically. Every driver in Massachusetts is required to operate their motor vehicle at a rate of speed that is "reasonable and proper." The law determines "reasonable and proper" in terms of speeds in certain types of geographic areas. The following are considered "prima facie" examples of unreasonable speeds, if no speed limit is posted. "Prima facie" is a Latin term, and it means that your cited speed will be presumed to be unreasonable if you exceed these speeds, and no additional evidence is required by the magistrate to find you responsible:
    • Exceeding 30 MPH for a distance of 1/8 of a mile or more in a "Thickly Settled" area. (This is a business district, or where residential houses are located less than 200 feet apart for at least ¼ mile).
    • Exceeding 40MPH for a distance of 1/4 of a mile or more on an undivided highway outside a thickly settled area.
    • Exceeding 50MPH for a distance of 1/4 of a mile or more on a divided highway outside a thickly settled area.
    • Exceeding 20 MPH in a school zone.
  • I was caught with an Expired Inspection Sticker (the sticker at the lower right corner of the windshield.) Does a ticket for an Expired Inspection Sticker affect either my insurance rates or my driver's license? Yes. Driving with an Expired Inspection Sticker is a "surchargable event," just like a speeding ticket.

  • I was caught driving a car that wasn't yet registered. Does a ticket for having an Unregistered Motor Vehicle affect either my insurance rates or my driver's license? Yes. Same reasons as the immediately preceding question, above.

  • I sent my ticket in and requested a hearing date on the back. I never heard anything back, and now I just got notice that I didn't show up at the hearing date, and that I must pay the ticket, along with an additional fine. Can I still contest the ticket? Unfortunately, once you miss the hearing date, in general you lose the right to a hearing. Excuses claiming that the court had the wrong address for you, or that there were "problems with the mail," usually are ineffective. There is a legal procedure we can usually employ to restore your right to a hearing, separate from our fee to represent you on the underlying infraction. Contact us as part of a free initial consultation, and we can explain this process to you.
  • As you can see from all of the above, "getting a traffic ticket" is not so simple or easy as many people think. Each traffic violation carries with it differing consequences for your driving privileges in Massachusetts. None of these infractions can be ignored, and many of then carry very severe, long-lasting consequences. You don't have to be a 'career criminal' to find yourself in serious trouble in connection with a motor vehicle offense in Massachusetts. Don't face this type of problem alone. Retain an experienced, effective motor vehicle offenses attorney. We can help you. Contact us for a free initial consultation. We practice before all District Courts in Eastern Massachusetts.

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