Massachusetts Legal Developments Blog

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Citations and the Law

In the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, individuals who commit a driving violation will receive a citation that may require an appearance in court, payment of a fine, loss of license, or jail time. However, G.L. c. 90C, § 2 states that a defendant should receive a copy of that traffic citation during the time and location of the violation or within a reasonable amount of time to determine the violation. When an improper or untimely citation is issued by the police, it can be used as a defense by the defendant. In fact, it could establish a motion for dismissal of the violation. If this happens to you, please hire a criminal defense attorney.

G.L. c. 90C, § 2, is commonly known as the "no-fix" law. It was created to reduce the risk of police manipulation of citations and to offer a notice to defendants of possible criminal charges. To use this as a defense or strategy for dismissal, you should consult with an experienced criminal defense attorney, who can outline a distinctive plan for your particular case. He can examine all factors that may result in a dismissal.

Major violations of Massachusetts traffic laws may include citations for driving while intoxicated or leaving the scene of an accident. These two incidents will carry harsh penalties in the Commonwealth. Minor traffic violations that may result in a citation may include driving too fast (speeding), driving too slow. or not observing traffic signs or signals correctly.

If an individual commits an act that warrants a citation, the police officer will not arrest the individual. However, you are required to identify yourself. When the police officer issues a citation, you will have to sign it. Signing a citation is not an admission of guilt. Your signature means that you received the citation and understand its terms. If you do not sign the citation, the police officer can charge you with a refusal to sign the citation.  The citation will also provide information about the time and location of your court appearance. You should remember to remain quiet because any statement you say can be used against you in court.

When receiving a citation, you will often have the option to request a hearing. In these hearings, you may get the opportunity to reduce your fine, create a payment plan or establish a community service alternative. However, if you wish to contest a citation, you can request a contested hearing by which you will contest your case before a judge. You should always speak with an attorney, who can help you in your contested hearing.

If you have been charged with a violation and improperly received a citation or did not receive one at all from the police officer, you should contact a criminal defense attorney to examine your case.  Boston Criminal Defense Attorney, Edward Molari can provide you with legal advice that may help reduce or dismiss your charges if any citation improprieties exist. He cares about your situation and provides personalized legal services in every case.  Contact Attorney, Edward Molari at 617-942-1532 for a free consultation.