In Massachusetts, a speeding ticket is a civil offense. Unlike criminal offenses, it is not mandatory to appear in court. You have the choice to either accept responsibility and pay the ticket, or appeal the ticket and fight it.
With civil motor vehicle citations, the consequences can vary. It is important to base your decision to fight it on whether the offense will generate any consequenses to your license, your insurance, or both.
- Is the ticket surchargeable? In Massachusetts, violations are either surchargeable or not surchargeable. It is important to determine whether the infraction is surchargeable. If the infraction is not surchargable (for example, a seat belt violation) it will not have consequenses on your license or insurance, and is merely a fine. If the infraction is surchargeable, paying the fine could result in increased insurance costs, losing safe driver discounts, and license suspensions.
- How does your insurance handle this type of ticket? it is a good idea to speak with your insurance company to see what consequence if any it will have on your policy. Some companies offer a freebie where they will not surcharge the first ticket in 6 years. Some surcharge for a first ticket. Some revoke the safe driver discount on a first ticket but do not add in a surcharge. It is important to know how your insurance company handles the ticket.
- How long will it cause your insurance to go up? Not all tickets are weighted the same. It is good to ask your insurance whether it is something that may cause an increase in your policy for 2 years, 3 years, 4 years, or even 6 years.
- Will this ticket trigger a license suspension? In Massachusetts, if you are convicted of 3 speeding tickets in 1 year, 3 moving violations in 2 years, or 7 surchargeable events in 3 years, you could be facing a license suspension. Appealling the ticket can push back the finding date used to determine if you qualify for the suspension. Winning the ticket can keep it from counting towards these suspensions.
- Are you a Junior Operator? In Massachusetts, if you are a junior operator and convicted of a speeding ticket or texting ticket, there is an automatic suspension of your license, a hefty reinstatement fee, and a required driver retraining class you are required to take. Further, for the speeding ticket, you must retake the driver’s test to get your license back. A junior operator should ALWAYS contest the ticket.
If you were cited in Massachusetts and are considering fighting the ticket, contact Broadbent & Taylor at 508-438-1198 to discuss representation. We offer free consultations for all traffic matters.
THIS BLOG WAS WRITTEN BY ATTORNEY KELLY BROADBENT. THIS BLOG IS NOT MEANT TO CONVEY LEGAL ADVICE. IT DOES NOT ESTABLISH AN ATTORNEY CLIENT RELATIONSHIP.