From time to time, Massachusetts police officers will send you a citation in the mail. You open the ticket, have no recollection of the day or the violation. In fact, you were never even stopped by the police.
What can you do to defend yourself from this type of ticket?
Massachusetts has what is called a “No Fix Statute” which governs this type of violation.
M.G.L. 90C Section 2 states in relevant part: “A failure to give a copy of the citation to the violator at the time and place of the violation shall constitute a defense in any court proceeding for such violation, except where the violator could not have been stopped or where additional time was reasonably necessary to determine the nature of the violation or the identity of the violator, or where the court finds that a circumstance, not inconsistent with the purpose of this section to create a uniform, simplified and non-criminal method for disposing of automobile law violations, justifies the failure. In such case the violation shall be recorded upon a citation as soon as possible after such violation and the citation shall be delivered to the violator or mailed to him at his residential or mail address or to the address appearing on his license or registration as appearing in registry of motor vehicles records. The provisions of the first sentence of this paragraph shall not apply to any complaint or indictment charging a violation of section twenty-four, twenty-four G or twenty-four L of chapter ninety, providing such complaint or indictment relates to a violation of automobile law which resulted in one or more deaths.”
What does this mean to the operator that received the ticket in the mail?
1. At the clerk hearing, you can raise a defense under this statute. It shifts the burden to the police department to establish a reason under the statute for not citing the motorist when the violation occurred.
2. At the judge appeal, you may again raise a defense under this statute. At this level, the officer, must, under oath, testify as to why the ticket was sent in the mail rather than given in hand.
3. You may have a basis for an appeal to the appellate division as a matter of law, since there is a statutory defense to this type of citation.
Your best bet to beat a citation is to hire an attorney that is experienced in the local courts and who is familiar with the laws surrounding this citations.
Broadbent & Taylor offers free consultations with all traffic matters. Contact us today to discuss your case.