Why fight it?

Traffic Enforcement

 

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.

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. Will this ticket trigger a license supension? 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 usedto determine if you qualify for the suspension. Winning the ticket can keep it from counting towards these suspensions.
  5. 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.

 

#FIGHTSPEEDINGTICKET #MASSACHUSETTS #CDL #JOL #LICENSESUSPENSIONS

 

 

Leaving the scene of an accident is a crime!

In Massachusetts, if you are involved in an accident and there is any evidence of property damage or personal injury, you are responsible for making your identity known to the other parties.

In most cases, what that involves is stopping, exhanging your telephone numbers, license information, and insurance information, then contacting your insurance company.  But what do you do if it is not a typical accident situation?

In many cases, a person will strike an object such as a telephone pole, a building, curbing, a fence, a parked car or something similar.  There isn’t any identifying markers saying “If you hit me please call.”  If it is a parked car, some people will leave a note with contact information.  That isn’t a viable option in cases of a pole or a fence.

If you are involved in an accident with an object, call 911 and immediately report the matter to the police.  They will come, fill out an accident report, and you will be on your way.  If you do not, you risk being cited with leaving the scene of property damage, which is a criminal matter.  You can expect to receive a summons from the police for an arraignment or show cause level hearing.

If you hit a car with passengers and you do not stop to exchange information, you are subject to being charged with leaving the scene of personal injury.  Because there are victims that are physically hurt, rather than property that was damaged, these cases are treated very seriously.  If you leave the scene of a person that was injured without exchanging information or calling the police, you can expect to be charged under this statute.

If you are charged with leaving the scene of property damage or personal injury, you should contact an attorney immediately.  Make sure your insurance company is aware so that any damage can be covered as soon as possible.

Contact Broadbent & Taylor if you have been charged with these crimes.  Broadbent & Taylor represents clients across Massachusetts in motor vehicle matters.

 

 

THIS BLOG IS WRITTEN BY ATTORNEY KELLY BROADBENT.  IT IS NOT INTENDED AS LEGAL ADVICE.

 

 

 

 

 

Navigating a Criminal Citation in MA

In Massachusetts, there are 2 types of citations that are handed out: civil and criminal.  If you receive a citation for a criminal violation, it is important to take the steps to best defend the citation.

With any criminal matter, it is important to contact an attorney at your earliest oppurtunity.  While a criminal citation may seem trivial, they can in fact impact your criminal history.

Read the citation.  In MA, you have 4 days to return the criminal citation to the court that has jurisdiction.  While it is not necessary to do so, it gives you the added benefit of the scheduling of a show cause hearing.  A show cause hearing is a preliminary hearing in front of a magistrate where the magistrate has the chance to NOT ADVANCE THE MATTER.  If the matter is disposed of at the show cause level, it will not appear on your criminal history.

As with any criminal matter, anything you say can be used against you.  This goes for any statements made by you at the show cause hearing.  Because of this, it is strongly advisable to have an attorney with you at the show cause level to speak on your behalf.

Broadbent & Taylor handles the criminal citations at every level, from the show cause, to the arraignent, up to the trial.  Contact us if you have received one of these citations to discuss how you should proceed going forward.

 

THIS POST IS WRITTEN BY ATTORNEY KELLY BROADBENT.  IT IS NOT INTENDED AS LEGAL ADVICE.

Defending CDL Traffic Violations

While a speeding ticket is an expensive nuisance for most drivers, a driver with a CDL license has added consequences when dealing with a moving violation.

If you receive a ticket in Massachusetts and you have a CDL license, you should strongly consider appealing the ticket.

  1. Your employer may suspend or terminate you because of the citation.
  2. Costs for insurance may skyrocket.
  3. The DOT considers number of miles over when dealing with points or suspensions.  If you are driving a CDL vehicle and are cited, the number of miles over the limit can greatly impact the consequences on your license.

If you have received a citation in Massachusetts and you have a CDL license, contact Broadbent & Taylor  at (508) 438-1198 to schedule a free consultation.Having an attorney to represent you and guide you through the options with these tickets increases your chances of a favorable outcome.  .  We represent commercial drivers across Massachusetts.

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.

 

 

 

Be Careful of License Suspensions

Often, Massachusetts motorists receive tickets and pay them, not thinking of the consequences. Sure, there is a fine of $50.00 or $100.00, but that is it, right? WRONG!

In Massachusetts, almost all moving violations are characterized as “surchargeable events”. What does that amount to?

First, with a moving violation, if it is surchargeable, your insurance company has the right to suracharge your insurance. What that amounts to is an increase of approximately 10% of your premium per year for 3 to 6 years. So it amounts to a lot of cash that comes out of your pocket.

The penalties do not end just in your purse. Most Massachusetts motorists are not aware that the number of surchargeable offenses can also amount to suspensions on your license.

The following is a breakdown of suspensions for surchargeable events:

1. 3 speeding tickets in 1 year- If you are found responsible (or pay the fine) for 3 speeding tickets within a 1 year period, there is an automatic 30 day suspension.

2. 3 surchargeable events in a 2 year period- if you are found responsible (or pay the fine) for 3 moving violations, including accidents, within a 2 year period, you are required to take a safe driver course. If you do not take the course within a prescribed time, you will receive a suspension until the course is completed.

3. 7 surchargeable events in a 3 year period- if you are found responsible (or pay the fine) for 7 moving violations, including accidents, within a 2 year period, there is an automatic 60 day suspension on your license.

4. 12 surchargeable events in a 5 year period (Habitual offender) – if you are found responsible (or pay the fine) for 12 moving violations, or if you are convicted of 3 major violations within a 5 year period, there is a 4 year suspension on your license. Accidents are not included in the habitual offender suspension.

Because of the possibility of the suspensions, it is important to always fight your Massachusetts traffic tickets. Your best chance for success on these tickets is by using an experienced traffic attorney.

If you have received a ticket and wish to speak with an attorney, contact Broadbent & Taylor for a free consultation.

Do out of state tickets affect my auto insurance?

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.