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Traffic Ticket FAQ in Massachusetts

What happens if I get 3 speeding tickets in one year?

You’re MA driver’s license will be suspended for 30 days.

How long do surchargeable events remain on my driving record?

Major violations (DUI, reckless driving, etc.) will usually remain permanent. Learn more about the Massachusetts point system.

Why should I periodically check my driving record?

It’s always wise to check for accuracy, verifying that the surchargeable events on your driving record are correct. Because an accumulation of points and traffic violation convictions could cause your MA driver’s license to be suspended or revoked and spur a rise in your car insurance rates, make sure the state's record is correct.

Do points go on my driving record for violations outside of Massachusetts?

No, but this does not mean the violations go unreported. The violations (not points) will appear on your driving record, which could affect your car insurance rates and have bearing on the status of your MA driver’s license.

Do I have any driving options if my Massachusetts driver’s license gets suspended?

Depending on the situation, you may apply for a Massachusetts hardship license or restricted license. This will allow you to legally drive to and from work, or to and from school.

Are parking tickets considered moving violations?

Parking tickets are not considered moving violations and do not appear on your driving record. They must be settled like a traffic ticket or you will not be allowed to renew your MA driver's license or vehicle registration.

What if I have a scheduling conflict with my hearing date?

Call the clerk-magistrate's office and request a new hearing date. Some clerks may ask that you provide your request in writing, along with any documents verifying why you cannot attend your hearing date. There is no guarantee that the clerk will honor your rescheduling request.

Can I cross-examine police officers during the hearing

The court will allow, within reason, the cross-examining of police officers and witnesses.

How much time do I have to respond to my citation?

You must respond to a civil citation (non-criminal) within 20 days, while criminal citations (OUI, leaving the scene of an accident) have only a response window of 4 days.

What happens if I ignore my traffic ticket?

If you were cited for a civil citation, the RMV will assess a late fee. If you fail to pay the late fee and the ticket fine the RMV will then suspend your MA driver's license.

If you were issued a criminal citation, you will receive a court summons. If you ignore this, the court will issue a warrant for your arrest, suspend your Massachusetts driver's license, levy fines and deny you from receiving unemployment, workers' compensation and public assistance benefits and state tax refunds. In addition, the court may also suspend or deny any professional licenses or permits.

Can I ask the magistrate to reduce my MA citation to a warning?

No. Only the citing officer has the authority to decide between a citation and a warning.

Can I appeal a civil violation?

Complete a "Claim of Appeal" form, which you can obtain from any clerk-magistrate's office, and submit it along with a non-refundable $25 filing fee.

Why should I hire a traffic ticket attorney?

Legal counsel will advise you on how to plea. If you opt to fight your traffic ticket, a traffic ticket lawyer will use his or her legal experience to organize your defense, improving your chances for reduced charges or dismissal.

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