Traffic Tickets in MassachusettsPage Overview
Traffic tickets in Massachusetts are expensive in ways that most other states only dream about. First, you have to pay the fines, which are substantial. Then you get points on your license, which result in mandated insurance surcharges, which are also substantial. Finally, if you get enough "surchargeable events" on your license, you can face license suspension.
Massachusetts has a graduated fine system, meaning you can pay a base fine and then have more charges added on top.
For example, the base fine for speeding is $50. But that's just the start. If you're convicted of going more than 10 MPH over the speed limit, add $10 for each additional mph you were traveling over the base 10. For example, say you're convicted of going 85 in a 55 mph zone. You get a free pass up to 65, but then you get fined an additional $200 for the extra 20 mph from 65 to 85.
There's also a $50 surcharge on every speeding ticket, with money going to a trust fund for treating head injuries.
Massachusetts is one of the few states in the U.S. where the state sets insurance rates together with the auto insurance companies doing business in the state. The state's Safe Driver Insurance Program is a result of this collaboration.
The SDIP is designed to put more expenses on the drivers who pose the greatest risks and give breaks to safe drivers. This means that if you get a traffic ticket (or have an accident with more than $500 in damages), you get points on your license that add up to immediate insurance surcharges.
Even worse, once these surcharges are on your record, they stay there for a long time. The only way to remove them from your record is to have a safe driving record for three years or more. Even then, you can only reduce 1 point from each violation every 3 years.
See our point system page to find out more about the SDIP and surchargeable events in Massachusetts.
Get enough surchargeable events on your driving record and your wallet isn't the only part of you that's going to suffer. Accumulate five or more in within three years and you'll be facing a choice of driver retraining school or immediate license suspension. Get seven incidents in three years, and you automatically lose your license.
So you get a ticket for a moving violation. You have some options, none of them great:
- You can waive your right to a hearing before a judge and pay the fine by mail or online. By paying the fine, you accept a guilty plea for the violation, which will go on your RMV driving record. The RMV will also notify your insurance company.
- You can ask for a hearing before a municipal court judge. At the hearing, you can make an argument that the ticket was wrongly issued and the judge can dismiss the case. The judge can also order you to pay the fine, plus court costs, if he or she thinks your case is frivolous.
Either way, you have to make a decision within 20 days. Don't ignore the ticket. If you do, you'll face extra fees, and a possible arrest warrant and license suspension.
Parking tickets are not considered traffic violations and are due to the municipality where the violation occurred. You need to pay the traffic tickets or face problems with the RMV when you want to renew your driver's license or registration.Other Topics in This Section