MA Traffic Ticket Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Do you need me to obtain my driving history from the registry?
A: The easiest/free document for you to obtain is called your MRB Operator Summary from your insurance agent.
Q: How can I find out more about insurance surcharges and increases associated with traffic violations?
A: To get more information on insurance surcharges, contact the Commonwealth Merit Rating Agency 857-368-8100
Q: if I hire you to represent me at the magistrate hearing due do I need to be present also?
A: hiring us for the magistrate hearing does not excuse your presence unless otherwise so arranged in advance by attorney Nathan says he has for out-of-state motorists
Q: How do I get the troopers notes made at the stop?
A: Two weeks after your motor vehicle stop call the state merit rating agency 857-368-8100 and ask to be mailed a Copy Civil Motor Vehicle Citation. Have your drivers license number available and the date of the citation when you call
Q: Does your firm represent persons in traffic violations other than speeding?
A: Yes, our firm will handle all traffic-related violations and operating to endanger, drunk driving, reckless driving, immediate threat, and also compliant medical cases.
Q: Will a traffic ticket change my insurance premiums and affect my ability to drive a car?
Yes. A speeding ticket in any state in the US is going to cost you about $1,500 in higher insurance costs in MA. Also, the registry of motor vehicles can suspend your right to drive if you have several traffic tickets.
Q:What is your satisfaction guarantee?
A: If we do not win your case at the magistrate level we will refund 100% of your fee.
Q: Is the police officer required to show up in court? If he does not appear, do I win?
A: Under MA law, the ticket can be considered a form of evidence at the magistrate hearing. The officer who cited you is not required to be at this hearing. The officer who cited you, or a police representative, is required to testify at a judge’s review hearing.
Q: What should I say to the trooper if I have been stopped for a violation?
A: Be honest with the trooper when he walks to your car. Just admit that you were speeding and have an idea how fast you were going. If you don’t know how fast you were going, how well in control of your car are you? Individuals who are honest with the trooper at the initial stop have the best chance of winning in court when the appeal to the magistrate. Motorists who try to BS the trooper or who have no idea their speed usually have a tough time in court.
Q: The officer did not have me sign my ticket. Is the ticket invalidated?
A: No. The law does state that the police officer should have you sign the ticket document. They do not always do so. Courts will rarely throw out a ticket because of this first oversight.
Q: I sent my ticket to a Boston post office box so that I can claim an appeal. Is the hearing going to be in Boston?
A: Your hearing will be in the district court that is closest to where you were pulled over and given a citation.
Q: There was no posted speed on the road on which I was stopped. Can the ticket be dismissed on this basis?
A: The law states as follows:
“No person operating a motor vehicle on any way shall run it at a rate of speed greater than is reasonable and proper”
The law also says that the following standards are ‘prima facie’ evidence of going an unreasonable speed, if the speed limit is not posted:
Exceeding 30 MPH for 1/8 mile in a “thickly settled” area (business district, or where houses average less than 200 feet apart for 1/4 mile).
Exceeding 40 MPH for 1/4 mile on an undivided highway outside a thickly settled area.
Exceeding 50 MPH for 1/4 mile on a divided highway outside a thickly settled area.
Exceeding 20 MPH in a school zone.
“Prima facie” evidence states that your speed is thought to be not reasonable if you go over those limits. No further evidence is needed against you. You can, however, present any evidence that demonstrates that your speed was not unreasonable
Q: Is it possible to change the hearing date. The notice I received states that I cannot change the date.
A: Yes, we can change the date for you one time, although the notice says that this cannot be done.
Q:Will Attorney Nathan show up for every case?
A: No. He manages an excellent network of top-tier attorneys. If you become his client, you are assenting to a ‘reasonable division’ of your fee, according to MRPR 1.5(e).
Q: Let’s say that I send in the ticket that is noted as ‘civil infractions,’ and I request a court hearing. Then I decide against going to court, or I retain you as my lawyer. Will I be penalized if I choose to pay the ticket when I receive the hearing notice?
A: No. Massachusetts does not penalize in this situation. However you do have to pay a filing fee when you send your ticket in, in order to get a court date
Q: How will a ticket for an expired inspection sticker affect our insurance rate and my driver’s license?
A: An expired inspection sticker is similar to a speeding ticket and it can cause your rates to go up, and can end up as points on your license.
Q: Does a ticket for having an uninsured motor vehicle affect my insurance rate and my drivers’ license?
A: Yes. Unregistered violations are serious and treated as a surchargable offense. The fact that the registry mailed the information to the wrong address is not a defense to these violations.
Q: I sent my ticket in and never received a hearing date. But now I am getting notice that the ticket must be paid with an additional fine. Can I still contest the ticket?
A: In general, once you miss your hearing date, you lose the right to a hearing (“problems with the mail ” they had the wrong address etc” do not matter). We can restore your right to a hearing (for a $950 flat rate- apart from the fee to handle the underlying ticket). We advise anyone who gets a ticket they wish to contest make a copy of it and be sure to send it with proof of mailing
Q: How will a speeding ticket affect my insurance rates?
A: Answer is below…
Excellent Driver Discount Plus (99):
The Merit Rating Board (MRB) will assign the 6-year credit code to you if:
(1) you have 6 years of driving experience, and
(2) you have no surchargeable incidents in your 6-year policy experience period.
Excellent Driver Discount (98):
The MRB will assign the 5-year credit code to you if:
(1) you are not eligible for the Excellent Driver Discount Plus (99) 6-year credit,
(2) you have at least 5 years of driving experience, and
(3) you have no surchargeable incidents in the 5 years immediately preceding your policy’s effective date.
Excellent Driver Discount (98):
5-year credit with 1 (one) incident
The MRB will assign the 5-year credit code to you if:
(1) you have at least 5 years of driving experience,
(2) you have exactly 1 surchargeable incident in your 6-year policy experience period,
(3) this 1 surchargeable incident is a minor traffic law violation with a disposition of non-criminal, and
(4) this 1 surchargeable incident has a surcharge date at least 3 years before your policy’s effective date.
The value of surcharge points assigned to 1 (one) or more surchargeable incidents may be reduced for an operator as follows:
Surcharge points reduced by 1 – “Clean in 3” provision
The value of surcharge points for each surchargeable incident is reduced by 1 point if:
(1) you have 3 or fewer surchargeable incidents on your driving record in the 5 years immediately preceding your policy’s effective date,
(2) the most recent surcharge date is at least 3 years before your policy’s effective date, and
(3) you have at least 3 years of driving experience.
No surcharge points for incidents in the sixth (oldest) year
No surcharge points are assigned to any surchargeable incident in the sixth (oldest) year of the policy experience period.
No surcharge points for the first minor traffic law violation in five years
No surcharge points are assigned to your first minor traffic law violation in the 5 years immediately preceding your policy’s effective date (determined by the surcharge date) if:
(1) it is the first traffic law violation in the five year period, and
(2) the disposition of the violation is non-criminal
Note: Any operator with a revoked or invalid license is not eligible for SDIP incentives.
Check with your insurance company or agent to find out more about the merit rating plan your company is using to rate your auto insurance premium.
For more information about the Safe Driver Insurance Plan, call the Merit Rating Board’s Customer Service Section any weekday from 8:30 AM to 5:00 PM at 857-368-8100.
Q: Where is your office? What is your mailing address?
Nathan Law Offices
132 Boylston Street
Boston MA 02216
The office overlooks the Boston Common and is about one block from the Registry of Motor Vehicles headquarters where all license hearings are held. We are accessible on the Boston MBTA Red Line “Park” Street or Green Line “Boylston Street” or Orange Line “Chinatown” Valet Parking is available at the Ritz Carleton, 4 Avery St. or self-parking Boston Common Garage.
For a map of Boston and our precise location click here.
Q: What is your fax number?
A: (928) 395-7789, please be sure to include your name and phone number with your fax.
Q: How should I get reimbursed by AAA for legal fees?
A: AAA states that it will reimburse you for a percentage of your incurred legal fees. This amount will depend upon the status of your membership. You need to send the receipt and the notice of the court finding to: Attn: Reimbursement at Question Pertaining to Getting Reimbursed Through AAA, 110 Royal Little Dr., Providence RI 02904. You must get a not responsible or not guilty at the hearing in order to collect from AAA.
Q: My Massachusetts drivers’ license was suspended because of violations in another state. Can you help me?
A: Yes, we provide representation for NDR issues throughout the United States.
Q: What is the Board of Appeal?
A: The 3-member Board reviews RMV decisions and can annul, modify or affirm RMV license suspensions.
Q: I live in Florida (or out-of-state) and want to know if my motor vehicle citation will carry over to my jurisdiction and affect my insurance?
A: The national driver registry (NDR) allows interstate communication of speeding tickets and other major infractions but not minor violations like red light or failure to signal or lane violation. A note to out-of-state clients: MA is not a driving school state therefore your appearance is required we cannot excuse your presence like FL so under most circumstances each case has to be handled individually. For this reason our clientele is largely corporate, and consists of individuals who for reasons outside of insurance cannot tolerate a responsible finding on a motor vehicle violation.
Q: You list an answering service phone number on your web site, why is that?
A: This is intentional; we are pleased to answer any questions which come in over the phone, but have to schedule times to do this and cannot take direct phone calls regarding citations matters.