Massachusetts Traffic Violations
The best advice for handling traffic violations in Massachusetts is to avoid getting them. Massachusetts has particularly harsh laws on traffic law offenders, particularly with regard to traffic violation fines and the effects of traffic violations on your insurance.
If you commit a traffic violation you have 3 weeks to decide the next course of action. If you want to pay to simply pay the fine, look on your citation for contact information of the local Massachusetts municipal court with jurisdiction over your traffic violation. Your citation should tell you how to pay in person, online, by phone or by mail. If you pay the fine, you will be admitting guilt and waiving your right to a hearing, and the Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles ("RMV") will assign points against your Massachusetts driving record based on the severity of the traffic violation.
If you want to request a hearing, your traffic citation will also provide you with basic instructions on how to do so. A hearing will then be scheduled for you within the next few weeks after your request is received and you will have a chance to dispute the charges against you in front of a Massachusetts municipal court judge. Alternatively, you may appear in court and plead guilty, and request an opportunity to have the traffic conviction reduced or dismissed in exchange for your participation in some form of Massachusetts traffic school or driver improvement program. If you choose this option, you may want to contact an attorney experienced in traffic violation cases to discuss how to best pursue this course.
Massachusetts Points System
The Massachusetts point system, termed "surchargeable points", applies points against your Massachusetts driving record for each traffic violation you incur. The points system is almost needlessly complicated, so if you have incurred a recent traffic violation you should review the Massachusetts RMV's published specifics of the plan. However, here is a brief rundown
For minor traffic violations like speeding, you will receive two points against your record. For at-fault accidents resulting in less than $2,000 worth of damage, the Massachusetts RMV will assign 3 points against your record. If you are involved in a more serious, avoidable accident, you will receive 4 points. If you are engaged in a serious traffic violation such as a DUI, you will get 5 points on your driving record.
Massachusetts does not stop at points, however. These surchargeable points carry with them mandatory increases to your insurance premiums. For every point assigned to your record, your Massachusetts insurance costs will automatically be increased for the Collision, Personal Injury Protection, Damage to Other's Property, and Compulsory Bodily Injury portions of your insurance premiums. The Massachusetts RMV has estimated that these increases result in 15% higher premiums per point on those portions of insurance coverage for Massachusetts adult drivers who have points on their record, compared to Massachusetts drivers who have not received points. For younger drivers, the premiums are also considerably higher.
Massachusetts does offer some reductions to these extremely detrimental points. If you have a clean Massachusetts driving record for 36 months, then for each traffic violation you receive, the Massachusetts RMV will apply one less point to your record than is normally attached to that type of traffic violation. In other words, if you are caught speeding, but have had a clean Massachusetts driving record in the three years prior to being pulled over and ticketed, the Massachusetts RMV will only apply one point to your Massachusetts driving record and Massachusetts insurance premiums, rather than two.
These points do not come off your record easily, either. If you have surchargeable points against your Massachusetts driving record, you can expect to see them there for five years from the date the Massachusetts RMV placed the points on your Massachusetts driving record.
Suspension of Your Massachusetts Driving Privileges
The Massachusetts surchargeable points system can also lead to a suspension of your driving privileges. If you incur just 7 points in a three year period-less any reductions based on your previous three years' driving history-your Massachusetts driving privileges will be suspended for two months. The Massachusetts RMV will also suspend your license automatically for 30 days if you incur three traffic violations within a year. If you are under 18 years old and incur two traffic violations for "racing," your Massachusetts driving privileges will be revoked for at least six months.
As part of any of these mandatory suspensions, you may be required to partake in a driver retraining program. Further, if you receive only 5 net points against your Massachusetts driving record, the Massachusetts RMV may send you a written order asking you to enroll in a Massachusetts driver retraining program, which may include the prospect of a Massachusetts online traffic school or online driver improvement program.
Attending Traffic School in Massachusetts
Unfortunately, Massachusetts generally will not allow you to have a ticket dismissed or removed from your record simply by attending a Massachusetts driver improvement program. However, you may be able to have this option made available to you if you appear in court and receive permission from a Massachusetts municipal court judge overseeing your current traffic violation.
However, if you are ordered by a Massachusetts municipal court or the Massachusetts RMV to participate in a driver retraining program in order to have your Massachusetts driving privileges reinstated or avoid suspension in the first place, you can likely satisfy the requirements with a Massachusetts online traffic school or online driver improvement program. To take a Massachusetts online traffic school, you will need to contact the Massachusetts RMV or the Massachusetts municipal court and ask if your preferred Massachusetts online traffic school or online driver improvement program will satisfy the requirements attached to your order.
Further, if you are enrolling in the Massachusetts driver retraining program to avoid insurance premium increases or to voluntarily have your insurance premiums reduced prior to receiving a traffic violation, a Massachusetts online traffic school or online driver improvement program will likely satisfy your requirements. You should contact your Massachusetts insurance provider to be sure.
The Benefits of a Clean Massachusetts Driving Record
Massachusetts online traffic school and driver improvement courses are designed to help you become a smarter, safer, more defensive-minded driver by giving you the skills to avoid traffic accidents and resist committing traffic violations. Further, your insurance premiums in Massachusetts are a direct result of the cleanliness of your Massachusetts driving record, and a Massachusetts online traffic school or driver improvement program will help keep your record as clean as possible. Finally, the skills you learn in a Massachusetts driver improvement program will help you avoid traffic tickets in the first place, meaning you will avoid the extremely high fees that accompany them.
Massachusetts Mature and Juvenile Driver Insurance Discounts
Auto insurance carriers often provide special discounts for Mature Drivers, those drivers over the age of 55, and Juvenile Drivers, those drivers under the age of 18, who espouse a desire to improve their safe driving skills. In addition to keeping a clean Massachusetts driving record, you or a driver in your household may qualify for such a discount by enrolling in a Massachusetts online traffic school or driver improvement program. To see if you qualify, you should contact your local Massachusetts insurance provider and ask about available Mature Driver and Juvenile Driver insurance discount courses and programs.
Massachusetts Classroom Traffic Schools
If you are interested in a list of traditional, physical classroom-setting traffic schools, the Massachusetts RMV has provided a very detailed list of professional driving schools and public driving schools that have been pre-approved by the Massachusetts RMV and Massachusetts municipal courts. The classes are organized by city so you can ensure you enroll in a traditional classroom setting that will still be recognized by your local insurance provider or Massachusetts municipal court overseeing your traffic violations.