About Civil Citations
A civil citation in the state of Massachusetts is a non-criminal offense, that includes such infractions as speeding. Other civil citations involving motor vehicles include driving an unregistered vehicle, or driving with an expired inspection sticker. The consequences for civil citations, while not as severe as criminal citations, are still considerable and you will want to try to avoid being found responsible, if possible.
Consequences of a Civil Citation
For a civil citation such as a speeding ticket, you will receive a fine of $75-250 or more, and you will likely receive higher rates on your car insurance. Also, in Massachusetts, you can get a surcharge on your driving record which can result in higher insurance and eventually a license suspension if you continue to incur citations.
How To Appeal a Civil Citation
The speeding ticket you received by the police is going to be noted as either civil or criminal. On your ticket, you will see that the ‘All civil infractions’ box is checked off. If you do get a civil citation, you have 20 days from the date on the ticket to either pay the fine, or to contest the responsibility for the citation by asking for a hearing in front of a magistrate of the district court. If you decide to just pay the citation, you are admitting that you are responsible and the violation can count against you for insurance and license suspension reasons.
If you decide to contest your ticket, you should sign the back of the ticket and check off the ‘hearing’ box. You mail it to the Registrar of Motor Vehicles to the address on the ticket within 20 days. The court will then contact you and schedule the hearing for appeal.
At the Hearing
In court, you should know that the citation is fully admissible as evidence against you. At the clerk magistrate level, the police officer does not need to appear for you to be found responsible. The citation is sufficient evidence.
At the end of the civil citation hearing, the magistrate will announce if you are responsible or not responsible. the magistrate will enter a ‘responsible’ finding if there is enough credible evidence that you did commit the infraction. No other decision can be made at this hearing.
Being found not responsible for a civil citation such as a speeding ticket will save you both the cost of the fine and the possible hiked insurance costs, which can run several thousand dollars over five years. This is why you are wise to consider hiring one of the Commonwealth’s top speeding ticket attorneys to win your case – Attorney Geoffrey Nathan.