I am regularly contacted by clients who are either out of state, or have gotten tickets outside of Massachusetts to determine whether they should appeal the ticket to prevent the points on the insurance.
There are several factors to consider when deciding whether it is worth it to appeal an out of state ticket.
1. Will the ticket affect my insurance? Whether the ticket will affect your current insurance is an obvious consideration. The best way to find out whether it will effect your insurance is to contact your insurance agent. They are familiar with the terms of your policy and should best be able to tell you if it will impact your insurance. If they tell you that it would but because it is a first ticket, its a freebie, I would still suggest appealing the ticket, because why waste your freebie on something that you could get dismissed.
2. Are you planning on moving? If you live in State A and are moving to State B, you may not be out of hot water. While certain states may not count out of state citations, other states may. It is definately worth fighting the ticket if moving to a different state is in the foreseeable future.
3. How much does it cost to appeal the ticket? What are the realistic costs to appeal the ticket. You should look at any court costs, travel costs, attorneys costs, and weigh it against the cost of your insurance premiums. Most likely the rise in your insurance premiums will outweigh the out of pocket costs to fight the ticket. If that is the case, you should appeal.
4. WIll I have to travel to the state to appeal? Every state has different rules with whether you would have to personally appear at the hearing. In Massachusetts, it varies court by court as to whether the clerk magistrate would permit you to proceed without appearing personally with an attorney representing you. If you have to appear for the hearing, you would have to make travel arrangements to do so.
5. Should I contact an attorney? Absolutely. An attorney practicing traffic law in the jurisdiction will know the answers to many questions, including whether they may proceed on your behalf. If you have a ticket in Massachusetts and are looking to appeal, I would be happy to give you a consultation based on the facts of your ticket.