In Massachusetts, when you are stopped for a traffic violation and issued a citation, most moving violations are civil motor vehicle offenses. In certain instances, however, an officer may give a motorist a criminal citation. Typically, criminal citations are written for offenses including OUI/Drunk Driving; Negligent Operation; Reckless Driving; Driving on a Suspended License; Driving without a License; or other such offenses.
The officer has 2 options with a criminal violation. First, the officer may arrest the motorist, take them into custody, and have them arraigned. The second option is to give the motorist a paper citation.
The paper citation gives the motorist the chance to deal with the violation prior to the arraignment, which can result in the matter not appearing on his/her criminal record. The instructions on the rear of the citation indicate that the motorist should check the box for the criminal offense, make a copy of the ticket, and return the original to the court listed on the front of the ticket within 4 days. Typically, if this is done, a summons will issue for a show cause hearing, which is a preliminary hearing prior to the arraignment. If the matter is dismissed at the show cause, the criminal violation will not appear on the driver's criminal history. If the matter is not dismissed at the show cause, or the motorist does not appear at the show cause hearing, the matter will be scheduled for an arraignment. In instances where the matter is advanced to an arraignment, the motorist will receive a notice in the mail summonsing the driver in for the arraignment.
In many cases, there is an issue where the driver does not have the correct address on the license, or with the Registry, or the driver moves from the address indicated on the ticket. In both of these instances, the court does not have the proper address to send the notice, and the motorist does not discover that he/she missed the hearing until after a warrant has issued. The issuance of the warrant results in a suspension of the driver's license with the MA Registry of Motor Vehicles.
For many years, a lot of these warrants were issued to out of state residents who failed appear for the arraignments. Until recently, these warrants went unknown by those motorists. With the advancements in technology, it has become a common occurrence for the home state to now either suspend the license of a motorist with a warrant for this type of infraction, or to prevent that motorist from renewing his/her license when it comes to be time.
It is possible to remove the warrant and resolve the underlying criminal charges quickly with the aid of an Attorney. Attorney Broadbent handles the removal of the warrant and in many cases is able to resolve the matter all in one court appearance. If you find yourself with a warrant out of Massachusetts, contact Broadbent & Taylor to resolve this matter quickly.