In Massachusetts, you have 20 days from the date the ticket is issued to appeal. Make sure that you check off the box to appeal the ticket. If you pay any amount of the fine, the Registry deems it an admission and you will not be entitled to a hearing.
Examine the Ticket
Examine the ticket. Are their inconsistencies on the ticket? Does the ticket correctly identify your sex, color, the road, the date and time? Any of these can be a possible defense to the ticket.
Practice makes perfect. Its a good idea to practice what you are going to say in your hearing. That way, you will be more comfortable during the hearing and less likely to miss a key detail.
Understand the Ticket
Learn what statute you were cited under. Determine if your conduct falls under the statute, or whether you have a defense. Were you cited for speeding? If so, what method was used to determine your speed? In Massachusetts, speed in measured by lidar, radar, estimated, posted and clocked. On many occasions, the officer will check multiple boxes. Lidar, for instance, is the most accurate tool for measuring speed, while estimated is much less reliable.
Appeal a Responsible Finding
In Massachusetts, you are afforded 2 hearings, a clerk magistrate's hearing and a judge's hearing. Often, the clerk magistrate will offer to reduce the ticket. In this instance, you will still be found responsible, and accordingly will be assessed insurance surcharges. In this instance, you may pay a $20.00 fee and get a second hearing, at a subsequent time. For this hearing, the officer is required to be present. If the officer does not appear, in all likelihood, the judge will dismiss the citation. If the officer does appear, you will be afforded a full hearing where you can cross examine the officer and offer any evidence on your behalf.
Both the clerk magistrate and the judge will appreciate it if you show the court some respect and dress nicely.
Contact a Traffic Attorney
Consider contacting a traffic attorney to represent you or to discuss your situation. Traffic attorneys are familiar with the laws, the procedure in the local courts, and the likelihood of success on a particular citation.
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