Fight Traffic Ticket in Massachusetts

SUMMARY: Fighting a Massachusetts Traffic Ticket

To fight a civil traffic ticket, you must send your request by mail. To fight a criminal traffic ticket, your request can be submitted in person or by mail. Be sure to respond to a civil traffic ticket within 20 days or criminal traffic ticket within 4 days. For specific information about your particular situation, you'll need to contact the appropriate traffic court directly, or the Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles (RMV).

Continue reading this page to learn more about how to fight traffic tickets in Massachusetts.

NOTE: If you decide to simply pay your traffic violation, see our Paying Traffic Tickets page.

Fight a MA Civil Traffic Ticket

To fight your traffic ticket marked “ All Civil Transactions," you must submit a request for a civil hearing by mail within 20 days of the date on your citation.

NOTE: You may wish to hire a traffic ticket attorney to help your case.

You'll need:

  • To check “Box 2" on the back of your traffic ticket.
  • A check or money order for the $25 filing fee.
    • Include your driver's license number and citation number.
  • To send the ticket and payment in the provided envelope (select “hearing request" on the envelope) to:
  • Citation Processing Center
    P.O. Box 55890
    Boston, MA 02205

You may want to keep a copy of your traffic ticket for your records.

Upon receiving your request, the court will mail you the date and time of your hearing. If the MA RMV does not receive your payment or has difficulties processing your payment, they will send you instructions to pay the filing fee by mail or online.

NOTE: If you do not respond to your traffic ticket before the deadline date, you will lose your right to a court hearing AND have to pay the full traffic ticket fine plus late fees. If the fine and late fee isn't paid within 30 days, the MA RMV will suspend your license and/or vehicle registration.

After Your Civil Hearing

If the clerk-magistrate clears you of the violation after your hearing, no further action is required.

If you are found guilty, you must pay your fines to the Massachusetts RMV by check or money order within 20 days. For more details on how to pay your ticket fines, please visit our page about Paying Traffic Tickets.

NOTE: You have the right to appeal the decision.

Fight a MA Criminal Traffic Ticket

If you have a " Criminal Application" traffic ticket, you can request a “show cause hearing" to fight that you committed a crime.

The court must receive your request within 4 days of the violation date. You must:

  • Check the appropriate box on the back of your traffic ticket.
  • Sign the ticket.
  • Return the citation by mail or in person to the traffic court.
    • DO NOT use the pre-addressed envelope provided by the court.

Upon receiving your request, the court will mail you a notice with the date and time of your hearing.

For more information, contact the MA RMV or the traffic court in the county where you received the ticket.

NOTE: If you were arrested or your criminal offense is a felony, you are not entitled to a show cause hearing.

At your hearing, if there is evidence to support the criminal complaint, the magistrate will give you an arraignment date.

Appeal Your Hearing Ruling

To request an appeal after you're found guilty of a civil ticket in a court hearing, you must inform the clerk-magistrate before you leave. You'll need to pay a $50 filing fee.

You cannot appeal the magistrate's ruling for a criminal violation. You will need to wait until your next court date to try to dismiss the criminal complaint.

Appeal a Massachusetts Parking Ticket

The appeal process for a parking ticket in Massachusetts will depend on where you were ticketed, and who issued it (e.g., police officer or parking enforcement officer). In most cases, you can contest your parking ticket:

  • Online.
  • In person.
  • By mail.

For more details about fighting your MA parking ticket, contact your city's Office of the Parking Clerk directly.

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