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What Are Massachusetts Traffic Court Records?

Massachusetts State traffic court records are the legal documents and case files created, from the proceedings of the traffic courts in the state of Massachusetts. These include records related to moving violations and non-moving under the motor vehicle code of the state of Massachusetts.

Are Massachusetts Traffic Court Records Public Records?

Under the public access to information law, Massachusetts traffic court records deemed public may be accessed and viewed by members of the public. However, public disclosure of these documents may be restricted if they are deemed confidential per state statute or judicial order.

Getting a Traffic Ticket in Massachusetts

A Massachusetts traffic ticket or Massachusetts Uniform Citation is a ticket issued for a traffic violation within state limits. It is a five-page computer-generated document issued by law enforcement officers, with copies for the courts, agency, Registry of Motor Vehicles, offender, and officer. It includes the officer's sworn statement regarding the violation, as witnessed by the officer, and may be filled in by the officer at the location of the violation.

The ticket may contain the alleged violator's details, including full name, social security number, date of birth, and address. It may also include details of the motor vehicle involved in the violation and information on the offender's license. The ticket may also include a description of the alleged offense and the monetary assessment for the offense. It may list the date, time, and location of the alleged violation.

Massachusetts traffic violations and infractions can be described as either civil or criminal, and these may be identified on the ticket for each violation cited. Civil violations may not require a court appearance, but criminal violations typically do. Information for responding to the citation, whether civil or criminal, is available on the reverse of the ticket. Upon receipt of the citation, the motorist may be required to sign the ticket to acknowledge the charges against them before receiving a copy. This may not be viewed as an admission of guilt.

Civil violations may be considered minor traffic infractions and can be resolved by fine payments. Criminal violations are typically more serious offenses, can include misdemeanors and even felonies, and are usually settled in court. Convictions for criminal violations may be seen as criminal convictions.

Traffic tickets in Massachusetts, whether civil or criminal, are accompanied by fines and can include added penalties and court fees depending on the choices made. Massachusetts utilizes a driving record points system, so penalty points may be added to your record for each conviction, which can lead to a license suspension or possible revocation by the Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles (RMV). Fines are pre-determined by local laws and statutes for civil offenses but are set by the court for criminal offenses, so there may be differences in the fines. The ticket may also include information about contesting the charge (civil or criminal).

Traffic violations are also differentiated into Moving and Non-Moving Violations. Non-moving violations are infractions that occur while the vehicle is not in motion, such as faulty vehicle equipment, while moving violations include all infractions and crimes committed while the car is moving.

What to Do When You Get a Traffic Ticket in Massachusetts?

Actions taken when you receive a traffic ticket in Massachusetts may depend on whether the offense is classified as civil or criminal. If you receive a ticket, and the checkbox for "All Civil Infractions" is marked, then your offenses are classified as civil offenses, and you may choose to:

  • Pay the traffic ticket.
  • Appeal Ticket

If you choose to pay your ticket, it may be considered conceding to all the charges, accepting responsibility for the violation, and agreeing to all associated penalties, including all fines, fees, and surcharges that may accrue. You also waive your right to challenge the ticket in court. Instructions on how to proceed are available on the reverse of the ticket, and you should do this within 20 days of receiving the ticket to preserve your right to appeal and avoid extra consequences. The ticket can be paid in person at the RMV office or via mail, using the instructions on the back of the ticket or the RMV website. You may require the citation number, your driver's license, proof of insurance, and the amount that would have been filled in by the officer.

Contesting a Traffic Ticket in Massachusetts 

If you choose to contest or appeal the ticket, you can mark the appropriate checkbox, sign the citation, and mail it to the address on the back of the ticket to request a hearing. You may need to include payment for court filing fees. You can also appeal the ticket on the RMV website. A hearing may be scheduled, and you may be duly informed. You may get to plead your case in front of a clerk magistrate. It is advisable to seek professional assistance. If you are found responsible, then you may be liable for the ticket fines and any added penalties. This may be seen as a conviction and result in points added to your driving record. If you are not responsible, you may be freed of all liabilities and refunded your court filing fees.

If you receive a ticket and the "Criminal Application" checkbox is marked, then you can sign the citation and return it to the Magistrate clerk of the court named in the citation within 4 days of issuance of the ticket to preserve your right to appeal. A hearing may determine whether a criminal complaint should be set against you. If there is no cause for a complaint against you, the charges may be dismissed. If it is decided there is probable cause against you, then you may be arraigned before a court to answer the charges. Fines and penalties accruable may be set by the judge. Retaining an attorney if you are cited with a criminal violation is most advisable.

If you were given a warning by the officer (checkbox designated Warning above the officer's signature is marked), then this means that the officer has let you go and nothing needs to be done.

How Do I Find Massachusetts Traffic Court Records?

Traffic court records in Massachusetts are generally available on the county court's website or third-party websites. Physical access can be granted to the general public, but the interested person would need to request access from the office of the county court clerk. One can receive access to physical traffic court records from any court if the applicant visits the court clerk's office where records are filed. If copies are needed, the applicant may be required to pay court fees but may be able to view the records free of charge.

Publicly available records are accessible from some third-party websites. These websites offer the benefit of not being limited by geographical record availability and can often serve as a starting point when researching specific or multiple records. To find a record using the search engines on these sites, interested parties should provide:

  • The name of someone involved, providing it is not a juvenile
  • The assumed location of the record in question such as a city, county, or state name

Third party sites are not government sponsored websites, and record availability may differ from official channels.

What Information is Required to Obtain Massachusetts Traffic Court Records?

Persons interested in obtaining traffic court records may be required to provide necessary information about the traffic court records being requested such as the full name of the person, social security number and date of birth. Where needed, payments might be requested to facilitate the provision of the records. Persons interested in obtaining traffic records may also need to provide a valid ID for verification before receiving the records.

Are all Traffic Violations Handled the Same Way in Massachusetts?

The processes associated with responding to a citation for a traffic violation differ for civil and criminal violations. However all civil traffic violations are handled in the same way and all criminal traffic violations are also handled in the same manner, regardless of the offense in the citation. Criminal violation charges may or may not result in your arrest.

Can Massachusetts Traffic Records be Sealed or Expunged?

Massachusetts clerk magistrate hearings do not appear on the Massachusetts Criminal Offender Record Information (CORI), so civil traffic violations do not appear on your record and have no need to be expunged or sealed.

Criminal traffic violations do however appear on CORI. Misdemeanor criminal convictions require a 3-year waiting period, before an application to seal the record can be made. Felony criminal convictions require a 7-year waiting period, before an application to seal the record can be made. Applications to have records sealed can be denied. If you had your case dismissed, you are eligible to ask for the record to be sealed.

Expungement of criminal records in Massachusetts requires you show a serious error or fault, such as a case of mistaken identity, which has led to you being charged with a crime or a fraud was perpetrated by the court. This is a highly unusual occurrence.

What to Expect in Massachusetts Traffic Court

Motorists end up in a Massachusetts state traffic court if the officer issuing the ticket indicates there is a criminal application on the ticket. This occurs when the offense is serious, and you may need to appear in court to resolve the charges. You can also end up in traffic court if the ticketing officer indicates the charges are civil violations, but you wish to appeal the charges. A court appearance may be required to enter the plea, as it should be done before the magistrate clerk.

Which Courts in Massachusetts Have Jurisdiction to Hear Traffic Violation Matters?

In Massachusetts, civil traffic case hearings are assigned to the Magistrate clerk of the municipal district or county court where the violation was alleged to have occurred. Criminal case hearings are also assigned to the Magistrate clerk, but if probable cause is found against you, the case may be heard by the municipal district or county judge.

How to Prepare for Traffic Court in Massachusetts

To prepare for traffic court in Massachusetts, start by reviewing the citation you received and understanding the alleged violation. Research Massachusetts traffic laws relevant to your case and any potential legal defenses. If you plan to contest the ticket, gather evidence to support your argument, such as photographs or witness statements. Consider seeking advice from a traffic attorney familiar with Massachusetts' judicial processes.

Massachusetts Traffic Court Records
  • Criminal Records
  • Arrests Records
  • Warrants
  • Driving Violations
  • Inmate Records
  • Felonies
  • Misdemeanors
  • Bankruptcies
  • Tax & Property Liens
  • Civil Judgements
  • Federal Dockets
  • Probate Records
  • Marriage Records
  • Divorce Records
  • Death Records
  • Property Records
  • Asset Records
  • Business Ownership
  • Professional Licenses
  • And More!