Why You Should Appeal Your Speeding Ticket In Massachusetts

boston-speeding-ticket-attorneyGetting a speeding ticket is never fun and all your options stink.  If you procrastinate, you will be assessed a late fee after 20 days. You cannot ignore this ticket.

If you pay the ticket on time you will avoid a late fee but will be found responsible by the Registry of Motor Vehicles (RMV) and assessed 2 points on your driver’s license.  Points on your driver’s license will result in your insurance rates going up.  Massachusetts is one of those states that ties insurance rates to insurance companies selling auto insurance in Massachusetts due to our state’s Safe Driver’s Insurance Plan.  What this means to you is that for each point you are penalized on your driver’s license you will be subject to a mandatory insurance surcharge of 15 percent in four areas of insurance coverage (bodily injury liability, property damage liability, personal injury coverage and collision coverage).

Points can add up quickly too and even make auto insurance unaffordable.  A minor at-fault accident (a claim of $500-$2000) will result in 3 points.  A major at-fault accident (a claim over $2000) will result in 4 points, and a major traffic violation such as a DUI will result in 5 points.  It takes 3 years to get a point off your license.

A speeding ticket can also carry a costly fine because Massachusetts utilizes a graduated fine system when calculating speeding tickets.  What that means is that if you were caught speeding, you will be fined $100 for the first 10 miles above the posted speed limit and then $10 dollars for every mile per hour (mph) over the first 10 miles after that.   In other words, if you were caught speeding 80 in a 55 mph zone, your fine will be $100 for the first 10 miles above 55 mph, then $10 for each mph over 65 mph up to 80 mph (which is 15) or another $150 for a total of $250.

Finally, a traffic ticket such as speeding or a red light violation is considered a surchargeable event.  If you receive enough surchargeable events then you will be subject to a license suspension.  In Massachusetts for example, three speeding tickets within one year will subject you to an automatic 30 day loss of license.  Three surchargeable events within a two-year period, will result in the RMV suspending your driver’s license unless you enroll and complete a Driver Retraining course within 90 days; Seven surchargeable events within a three-year period will result in an automatic 60-day suspension; Twelve (12) surchargeable events within a 5 year period will make you an Habitual Traffic Offender and subject you to an automatic 4 year loss of license.

If you are stopped by a police officer and receive a traffic ticket, Boston Traffic Ticket Attorney Steven J. Topazio, www.topaziolaw.com , an experienced Massachusetts traffic ticket lawyer, advises his clients to appeal their tickets.  Attorney Topazio is aware that Magistrates, even Judges, have little tolerance for traffic offenders but knows that a clean driving record can create sufficient leverage to get a ticket dismissed.

To request a hearing, you must sign the back of the ticket, check the box #2 requesting a court hearing, and mail your ticket in the envelope provided to the Citation Processing Center within 20 days.  The address for the Citation Processing Center is Box 55890, Boston, MA 02205.  Make a copy of the ticket for your records.  Requesting a will cost you a $25.00 filing fee.  If you do not include the $25.00 fee to appeal at this time don’t worry, the RMV will send you a letter telling you to pay the $25 otherwise you will not be granted a hearing.

At the Magistrate hearing, you should know that you will not confront the officer who gave you the ticket.  Rather a prosecuting officer from the police department will handle all the cases that day and only be required to read the ticket to the Magistrate.  According to Massachusetts law, a copy of the ticket is prima facie evidence of the violation.   If you lose at the Magistrate level you have the right to appeal again, this time to a Judge, where the citing officer is obligated to appear.

To learn more about traffic ticket defense or to get help with your speeding ticket, visit Boston Traffic Ticket Attorney Steven J. Topazio at http://www.topaziolaw.com/criminal-practice-areas/traffic-violations for a free consultation.

Source: www.topaziolaw.com