Speeding tickets and other moving violations may have civil court or criminal court implications. Even a relatively minor citation should be taken seriously. Points on your driving record can accumulate faster than you think, and before you know it you could be facing steep increases in insurance premiums and possibly be in danger of losing your driving privileges. That is why it is important to seek advice from an experienced lawyer about how best to proceed.
Concord criminal defense attorney Peter G. DeGelleke has been practicing law in Massachusetts since 1977. He understands how important it is to defend against motor vehicle citations. To schedule a free initial consultation to discuss your situation, complete an online contact form or call 781-275-0800.
How To Respond to a Traffic Offense Citation
Motor vehicle citations can involve either criminal or civil charges, or both. If you have not been arrested, but the box marked criminal application is checked, you must follow the instructions on the back of the citation in order to request a hearing before the Clerk-Magistrate. It is ALWAYS advantageous to request a hearing because some cases can be resolved at that stage without going before a judge.
If all civil infractions are checked, you have the option to either pay the listed fines or request a hearing. If you want to contest the civil charges, you must follow the instructions on the back in order to get a hearing. IN EITHER SITUATION, IF YOU REQUEST A HEARING, BE SURE THAT YOU MAKE A COPY OF THE CITATION AND SEND IT IN BY CERTIFIED MAIL TO THE PROPER ADDRESS WITH A RETURN RECEIPT REQUESTED. Criminal applications are sent to the local District Court and civil citations go to the Registry. Both addresses are on the citation.
Contact an Attorney If You Have Been Accused of a Traffic Violation
Attorney Peter G. DeGelleke is committed to providing excellent personal service to help his clients navigate the criminal justice system. When you hire him to defend you, he will devote his full attention to your case. Attorney DeGelleke will never delegate responsibility for your defense to a paralegal or a less-experienced attorney without your permission. Complete an online contact form or call at 781-275-0800 to set up a free initial consultation. Civil citations must go to the address on the back of the citation.
If you decide to pay the civil citation (one containing only civil charges that shows an amount that can be paid), you do not get a hearing and most charges will automatically result in an insurance surcharge for a "moving violation"; if you are found "responsible" (for civil infractions the "guilty" or "not guilty" do not apply). Accruing 3 moving violations in one year causes a 30-day license suspension. Sometimes there are ways to delay a new citation so it comes outside of one year. I always advise clients to download a copy of their driving record directly from the Registry of Motor Vehicles; Google the terms "MA REGISTRY MOTOR VEHICLES" (make sure you are on the official state website; there are lots of companies who say they will do this for you — you don't need them); be patient and navigate to "check my own record". For a $6 online payment, you can instantly get a printable PDF of your record for the last 10 years (you do NOT need the "attested" $22 version). I advise doing this because I sometimes find a charge that does not "belong" to the client, and the sooner that is corrected, the better. You have to swear that you are the person who is requesting your own record, and the RMV claims the record the IP address of your computer, so you can not check the record of anyone else, and I cannot check your record either. Notices from the RMV are VERY difficult; for instance, after a certain number of violations, you may get a letter stating that your license will be suspended on a certain date; keep reading - some suspensions will not take effect if you attend a National Safety Council or other class (sometimes online). You should always take the required course as soon as possible, and be certain that notice of your attendance is received by the RMV; if you are suspended before you take the course, you will have a hefty "reinstatement fee.