Ticket Fines and Penalties in Massachusetts
Massachusetts Traffic Ticket Fines and Costs
Traffic fines are uniform throughout the state. But ultimately it's the circumstances (driving record, severity of infraction) that determine the fine. A speeding ticket fine, for example, will vary depending on how many miles per hour over the posted speed limit you were driving. The exact fine amount will be listed on your citation.
Massachusetts assesses a $50 surcharge on all speeding tickets which goes to the Head Injury Treatment Services Trust Fund.
(Plead Guilty or No Contest)
- Pay the fine.
- Option to plea bargain penalties.
- Incur points on your driving record (could lead to license suspension/revocation).
- Possibly incur increase on auto insurance rates.
Learn more about Paying your Traffic Ticket »
(Plead Not Guilty)
- Contest traffic ticket via trial.
- Choose to represent yourself or hire an attorney.
- No penalties if found not guilty, but must pay court/attorney fees.
- Be found guilty, pay fine and court/attorney fees and incur penalties.
Learn more about Fighting your Traffic Ticket »
Auto Insurance Rate Increase
Depending on the policies of your car insurance provider, a traffic violation may prompt a jump in your car insurance rates. You always have the option to counter rate increases by shopping around online to compare car insurance rates from different auto insurance providers.
Massachusetts Traffic Ticket Penalties
Penalties, like fines, are determined by a variety of factors, including severity of infraction, license type (CDL, Learner's permit, etc.) and driving record. Having surchargeable events added to your driving record and having your MA driver's license revoked or suspended are the two most common penalties.
Instead of demerit points, Massachusetts has surchargeable events. All motor vehicle violations and at-fault accidents are considered surchargeable events that, in most cases, will appear on your driving record. If you accumulate too many, you will be penalized in the following manner:
- 3 speeding violations within a span of 12 months: Automatic suspension of 30 days.
- 3 surchargeable events within a period of 2 years: Mandatory enrollment in a Driver Retraining course; failing to complete the course within 90 days of being notified will prompt the RMV to suspend your Massachusetts driver's license
- 7 surchargeable events within a period of 3 years: Automatic suspension of 60 days.
Read more about surchargeable events in our MA Points page.
Other Suspensions and Revocations
There are many other ways to have your MA driver's license suspended or revoked, and these include:
- Habitual Offender: Automatic suspension of 4 years if you're convicted of 3 major violations (OUI, reckless driving, etc.) or any combination of 12 violations within a period of 5 years.
- Out-of-State Suspension: Your license will be suspended for an indeterminate amount of time if it has been suspended or revoked in another state
- Immediate Threat: The RMV may suspend your Massachusetts drivers license if it deems you a threat to other drivers
- Improper Operation: The RMV may suspend your driver's license if you have driven your vehicle improperly
- Fake ID: Your license may suspend from 6 months to 1 year for any type of ID infraction, including carrying a false ID, defacing a license or using false information when applying for an ID or license
- OUI First Offense: Automatic suspension of 180 days if you are over 21 years old.
- OUI Second Offense: Automatic suspension of 2 years.
- OUI Third Offense: Automatic suspension of 8 years.
In addition, there are many violations unrelated to driving that can also mandate a license suspension. Some of these include failing to register as a sex offender, failing to pay MA income tax and any drug offense conviction. Consult chapter two in the MA Driver's License Manual for a complete list of suspendible violations.
Penalties for Junior Operators
If you're between the ages of 16 1/2 and 18 years old, your MA driving privileges will be suspended for the following violations:
- Driving Without a Licensed Driver: 60 day for first offense; 180 days for second offense
- Driving at Night During Curfew Hours: 60 day for first offense; 180 days for second offense
- Speeding: 90 days for first offense; 1 year for second or subsequent offense
- Drag Racing: 1 year for first offense; 3 years for second or subsequent offense
- Use of a Mobile Electronic Device: 60 day first offense; 180 days second offense
- Negligent Operation and Injury From Mobile Phone Use: 180 days first offense; 1 year for second of subsequent offense
The state also imposes strict penalties for drinking and driving. Any driver younger than 21 years old with a blood alcohol count (BAC) of 0.02% or higher will face an automatic suspension of their Massachusetts learner's permit or driver's license. In addition, permit and junior operator license holders convicted of OUI must complete a State Courts Against Road Rage (SCARR) course.
Penalties for Massachusetts Commercial Drivers
You should notify your employer within 30 days of being convicted of a traffic violation. This applies to all vehicles, regardless if you were cited in Massachusetts or out of state.
You will lose your MA CDL for 1 year if convicted of any of the following offenses:
- Driving any vehicle with a blood alcohol count (BAC) of 0.08% or higher.
- Driving a commercial motor vehicle (CMV) with a BAC of 0.04%.
- Refusing to submit to a sobriety test.
- Leaving the scene of an accident.
- Using the vehicle to commit a felony.
- Driving a commercial motor vehicle (CMV) with a suspended, revoked or canceled CDL.
- Causing a fatality through negligent driving.
These violations include:
- Speeding 15 MPH over the posted speed limit.
- Reckless driving.
- Improper lane changes.
- Following a vehicle too closely.
- Driving a CMV without holding a CDL.
- Driving a CMV without having your CDL in your possession.
- Driving a CMV without the proper CDL endorsement.
- Violating a state law of texting while driving.
A second conviction of any combination of these violations within 3 years will lead to the loss of your driving privileges for 60 days, or 120 days for a 3 serious violations or more or subsequent convictions of any combination of these offenses.
You CDL will be disqualified from anywhere from 90 days to 3 years for the following convictions:
- Violating a driver or vehicle out-of-service order while transporting nonhazardous materials.
- Violating a driver or vehicle out-of-service order while transporting hazardous materials required to be placarded, or while driving a vehicle designed to transport 16 passengers or more.