Fighting a Junior Operator (JOL) Citation in Massachusetts can be a necessary evil. If you pay the speeding ticket, the junior operator will receive a lengthy suspension, a hefty fee, driver retraining, and will have to retake the license exam. But appealing the ticket is not a guarantee that those penalties will be avoided. It is important for a Junior Operator to put their best foot forward to try to keep the consequences at bay.
First and foremost, a Junior Operator should consult an attorney. First, the court will see that the minor is taking the matter seriously. Also, an attorney will guide the minor and the parents through the best path at hopefully resolving the ticket favorably.
Second, MAKE SURE TO TIMELY APPEAL THE TICKET. In Massachusetts, you are given 20 days from the date of the citation to appeal the ticket. If you do not do so, you risk late fees and additional suspension.
Third, make sure your parents are involved in the process. The court is much more favorable to minors that come in, presenting to the court that they told their parents immediately and that the parents have been watching out for the minor. It is important for the parents recognize the importance of punishing the minor in some way. I find that in circumstances where the minor has the car taken away, or driving restricted to school/work, the court is much more favorable to the minor. In addition, the parents should observe the minor's driving if possible. Ride with the teenager. Make sure they are sticking to the speed limits, following the signs, and stopping for the traffic signals. A parent that is able to go into the court and say that they are confident the minor understands what went wrong at the time the ticket was issued and that they have been observing the driving to ensure the child understands why the speed limits are in place can be the minor's best advocate.
Fourth, know the JOL statute. The court will want to make sure the minor understands the JOL statute. The legislation behind the statute was developed to protect younger driver's from engaging in risky behavior in order to prevent deadly crashes. This was not made law to punish teenagers. It is important that the teenager understands the reasons behind the JOL Law, as well as why the various punishments have been implemented.
Fifth, take a safe driver class if you are able. The statute requires a Junior operator to take the attitudinal class if convicted of the ticket. Preemptively take and complete this class. Alive at 25 and Scarr are 2 very good classes offered by the RMV.
Finally, make sure you are presented in the best light at the courthouse. Dress up. Bring copies of report cards, volunteer records, awards, and college acceptances. Make sure at least 1 parent is able to come along for the hearing. Hire a lawyer that can speak on your behalf. One of the biggest misconceptions on these hearings is that your parents will be allowed to speak for you. This is usually not the case in the hearings, and often the minor is required to speak on their own behalf. Having an attorney there that can speak eloquently on your behalf make be the difference between a responsible or a not responsible.
For a consultation on a Junior Operator ticket, or any other Civil Motor Vehicle Matter, Call Broadbent Law for your free consultation.