The Weather Outside Is Frightful!!

It’s December! It looks like Massachusetts is a winter wonderland.  with all of the snow, make sure you clean your car off properly.  A failure to clean the snow off of your car, including off the license plate and headlights, can result in a ticket. Or worse, you could cause an accident from snow flying off of your car.
If you are involved in an accident, call Broadbent & Taylor with assistance with your claim.  We handle citations related to accidents, surcharge appeals, and personal injury claims. Call today for a consultation!

Automatic Defense in MA to traffic ticket with MGL 90c S2

In Massachusetts, an officer is required to provide you a copy of the citation at the time of a motor vehicle stop.

MGL Chapter 90 c Section 2 outlines the requirements of the officer to give the ticket in hand:

Notwithstanding the provisions of any general or special law, other than a provision of this chapter, to the contrary, any police officer assigned to traffic enforcement duty shall, whether or not the offense occurs within his presence, record the occurrence of automobile law violations upon a citation, filling out the citation and each copy thereof as soon as possible and as completely as possible and indicating thereon for each such violation whether the citation shall constitute a written warning and, if not, whether the violation is a criminal offense for which an application for a complaint as provided by subsection B of section three shall be made, whether the violation is a civil motor vehicle infraction which may be disposed of in accordance with subsection (A) of said section three, or whether the violator has been arrested in accordance with section twenty-one of chapter ninety. Said police officer shall inform the violator of the violation and shall give a copy of the citation to the violator. Such citation shall be signed by said police officer and by the violator, and whenever a citation is given to the violator in person that fact shall be so certified by the police officer. The violator shall be requested to sign the citation in order to acknowledge that is has been received. If a written warning is indicated, no further action need be taken by the violator. No other form of notice, except as provided in this section, need be given to the violator.

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.

In the instance a defense is raised under MGL 90 c Section 2, the officer or representative must then meet a test as to whether a) the violator could not be stopped; b) where additional time was needed to determine the nature of the violation or the identity of the violator; or c) the court deems some other circumstance was present that may justify the faulure.

If you were mailed a citation by the police in Massachusetts, contact our office for a consultation as to whether this defense may pertain to your case.  Broadbent & Taylor offers a free consultation to all clients at (508) 438-1198.

 

 

 

Fight A Massachusetts Speeding Ticket

In Massachusetts, speeding and other violations can affect not only your wallet for the fine, but your insurance premiums and even your right to drive.

Most offenses are known as surchargeable offenses.  If you choose to pay the citation, your insurance company can raise your insurance premiums for each offense on the ticket.  In addition, the Registry of Motor Vehicles keeps track of the number of surchargeable offenses on your driving record, and can suspend your license if they accumulate over certain time periods.

The Appeals Process

If you choose to appeal the ticket, sign the back, and check off the box requesting a hearing.  Mail the ticket within 20 days to the address listed.  It is wise to keep a copy of the citation.  The RMV will send you a notice that the citation was received with a request for a $25.00 filing fee.  Pay the fee within 20 days or you could lose your right to a hearing.  Once the fee is paid, the RMV will send the paperwork to the court, who schedules you for a clerk magistrate hearing.

The clerk magistrate hearing is your first chance to have the ticket disposed of.  The clerk will listen to the information on the ticket, and then allow you or your attorney to speak as to your version of the facts.  The clerk will make a decision as to the outcome, which will either be responsible, with some fine attached, or not responsible.

If you receive a not responsible, the police prosecutor has the right to appeal to a judge hearing.  If he does not, the matter is finished.  You will not have to pay the fine, and the events will not count as surchargeable on your driving record.

If you receive a responsible finding, with the full fine or a reduced fine, you may either choose to accept the finding or appeal to a judge hearing.  If you accept the finding, you will have 20 days to pay the ticket, and the event will be recorded as a surchargeable event.  If you choose to appeal, you must pay the court a $50.00 appeal fee, and the matter will be scheduled for a judge hearing.

In Massachusetts, there is no way to pay a fine and eliminate the surcharge from your record.

If you elect to have a judge appeal, the officer that cited you will be summonsed to court.  If he fails to appear, you win by default..  If the officer does appear, a full trial is held on the merits.  The officer must show by a preponderence of the evidence (more likely than not) that you violated the statutes that you were cited under.  The officer is allowed to testify.  You or your attorney have the right to cross examine the officer. Then you have the right to testify on your own behalf.

The judge will make a determination that you are responsible at some fine, or that you are not responsible. If the clerk offered to reduce the fine for you, the judge still may impose the full fine, or may find you not responsible.  He is not bound by the clerk’s decision.  

Most cases end after the judge appeal, however, you may have a case that can be appealed to the appellate division.  To excercise this appeal, you must argue that the judge made an error of law in your case.  An argument that he made a factual judgment error is not enough to proceed.  This is a costly appeal and will most likely not be successful.