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How do I appeal a speeding ticket in Massachusetts?

I wasn't paying attention to the speedometer and was pulled over and given a hefty ticket for speeding. I can afford to pay the ticket but I wonder how much extra I will have to pay in insurance. What is the process and are there any strategies for me to appeal a ticket in MA?

 
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Editor's Response

The actual process to appeal your ticket is spelled out on the back of the ticket or citation.  As for strategy, especially with speeding tickets where the officer used a speed gun, about the best you can hope for is that the officer fails to show up for court, something that happens from time to time.  However, at the initial hearing, Massachusetts law does not require the magistrate to throw out the case if the officer fails to show, because the ticket itself is sufficient evidence.

To challenge any type of ticket, if you believe the officer was wrong, get your evidence together, go to court, and explain your position.  For example, if your were given a ticket for running a stop sign, but the sign was hidden by vegetation, take pictures and bring them to court.  Let's face it, you are right, tickets and resulting insurance surcharges are expensive, so if you can avoid the cost you should do it.  I should mention that, given the way the costs of a ticket can add up, there are MA lawyers who specialize in appealing tickets.

I do not advocate appealing your ticket when you know you have violated the law, but if you do, you need to go to court prepared to raise doubt about the circumstances under which the ticket was issued.  For example, were you driving in heavy traffic that would have prevented the officer from getting an accurate reading on the speed gun, or was the officer positioned in such a way that he or she could not possibly have seen whether the light had changed before you drove through?  For more information or to post a question, visit our MA Driving Law Discussion Forum.  Good luck.

 

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