Massachusetts Court Records
What are Massachusetts Traffic Tickets?
Massachusetts traffic tickets are notices that are issued to motorists following a traffic violation. These tickets detail information regarding the offense, including the penalties that the driver faces. Driving records are maintained by the Registry of Motor Vehicles, while law enforcement is responsible for issuing traffic tickets. Interested persons can request and view traffic tickets and driving records by contacting the registry, local traffic courts, or local law enforcement agencies.
Records that are considered public may also be accessible from some third-party websites. These websites often make searching more straightforward, as they are not limited by geographic location, and search engines on these sites may help when starting a search for a specific or multiple records. To begin using such a search engine on a third-party or government website, interested parties usually must provide:
- The name of the person involved in the record, unless said person is a juvenile
- The location or assumed location of the document or person involved
Third-party sites are independent of government sources and are not sponsored by these government agencies. Because of this, record availability on third-party sites may vary.
What Does a Traffic Citation Mean?
A traffic citation is a notice given to a motorist indicating that a traffic or road law has been violated. A traffic citation typically includes a court summons for the offending driver to appear in traffic court. Although the terms “ticket” and citation” are often used interchangeably, a ticket typically requires a fine to be paid. In contrast, a traffic citation requires that the offender makes a court appearance, in some cases, with legal representation.
How Do I Pay a Traffic Ticket in Massachusetts?
Motorists in Massachusetts have 20 days to pay the fine associated with a traffic ticket issued to them. If there is no response to the traffic ticket in 20 days, the driver’s right to a hearing is forfeited, and the driver will receive a letter stating that they are now in default and have 30 more days to pay the fine in full. If the fine is not paid within 30 days of receiving the letter, the driver may have their license suspended. Fees can be paid online, in person, by phone, or by mail to the district court.
It is important to note that paying the fine associated with a traffic ticket in full is an admission of guilt and may result in points accumulating on the individual’s driving record. If the motorist wishes to plead not-guilty, it is necessary to attend the court hearing listed on the ticket.
Can You Pay Massachusetts Traffic Tickets Online?
Yes, a Massachusetts traffic ticket can be paid online to the Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles. This service does not require individuals to register if the party wishes to pay a single traffic ticket. If there are fines from multiple tickets or citations, it is necessary to create an account.
How Do I Pay a Ticket Online in Massachusetts?
To pay a traffic ticket online in Massachusetts, create an account with the myRMV online portal. Payment must be no less than ten days after receiving the traffic ticket because the Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles needs to have time to process the traffic ticket. To pay online, parties must prepare the following information:
- The traffic ticket number
- The date of the violation
- Email address and other contact information
What is the Massachusetts Traffic Ticketing System?
The Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles (RMV) maintains the traffic ticketing system in Massachusetts. The RMV does not use points to track traffic violations, but insurance companies have point systems. Traffic tickets, and the accumulation of traffic violations, may result in multiple fines, loss of driving privileges, court appearances, or jail time. Instead of showing up as points on an individual’s driving record, the violation itself is listed, and points are added to the insurance account using the Safe Driver Insurance Program (SDIP). There are four types of traffic violations in Massachusetts:
- Major traffic violations are the most severe type of traffic offense and can incur five SDIP points. Major traffic violations can include operating a vehicle under the influence of drugs or alcohol (OUI), fleeing the scene of an accident, refusing to stop for a law enforcement officer, operating a vehicle without a valid license, reckless driving, or vehicular manslaughter.
- Minor traffic violations are typically met with tickets and fees and add two SDIP points to an insurance record. Examples of minor traffic violations are speeding, failure to stop, and driving without proper registration.
- Major at-fault traffic violations are determined by the amount that each insurance company or person pays for an accident that was decided to be the fault of one party. If the insurance company covers more than 50% of the total cost, and the amount comes out to over $2,000, four SDIP points are incurred.
- Minor at-fault traffic violations are typically smaller car accidents where the at-fault driver’s insurance company pays less than $2,000 in damages or medical fees. This type of offense adds 3 SDIP points to an insurance record.
How Do I Know if I Have a Traffic Ticket in Massachusetts?
Driving records are maintained by the Registry of Motor Vehicles, while law enforcement is responsible for issuing traffic tickets. After being ticketed for a traffic violation, the driver will be sent another ticket via mail. If the document is missed, individuals can request and view traffic tickets and driving records by contacting the Registry of Motor Vehicles, local traffic courts, or local law enforcement agencies. These records can be requested by mail, in-person, online, or over the phone.
How Can I Find a Lost Traffic Ticket in Massachusetts?
If an individual has misplaced a traffic ticket, there are options for finding another copy of it. The party involved can contact the Massachusetts RMV, local state or county law enforcement, or the district court with jurisdiction to hear the case.
How Long Does a Traffic Ticket Stay on Your Record in Massachusetts?
In Massachusetts, points generally stay on an individual’s driving record for six years. There are, however, ways to lower the scores on a driving record. Parties can either contest the offense to get points removed or abide by the “Clean in 3” rule. To qualify for “Clean in 3,” drivers must have three or lower offenses in the last five years, the previous violation must be over three years old, and the driver must have three or more years of driving experience. Every year that the above criteria are true, one SDIP point will be removed from the record. To find out how many points are currently on a record, contact the insurance company that provides coverage.
Is a Summons Worse Than a Ticket in Massachusetts?
Yes, typically, a summons is worse than a ticket in Massachusetts. A court summons requires a court hearing and typically given to repeat offenders with multiple offenses in a short amount of time. Penalties will most likely be more severe for a summons than for a traffic ticket.