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Traffic Violations Search

Traffic Violations in Massachusetts

Road users, including motorists, motorcyclists, cyclists, pedestrians, etc., are subject to traffic guidelines. When a road user disregards the rules and laws that guide road safety and usage, such a person commits a traffic offense or violation. A traffic violation could result in severe losses. These losses could range from mild injuries to more severe ones, including damage to private or government properties and, in some cases, fatalities. Records of these offenses are included in the offenders Massachusetts traffic records.

In Massachusetts, a traffic violation could either be civil or criminal. Civil infractions include speeding, disobeying traffic signs, not signaling a turn, etc. The penalties are not so severe and include speeding tickets, payment of fines, community service, loss of license, and other non-incarceration sentences.

Criminal violations are either misdemeanors or felonies. Unlike civil violations, criminal offenses usually include elements of bodily harm, including death or death threats. Examples are driving with a suspended license, driving under the influence (DUI), or fleeing an accident scene. The penalties include jail, permanent suspension of permits, and hefty fines.

Sometimes, a driver may be pulled over and issued a ticket for violations like crossing a red light, disobeying traffic lights, or speeding. However, for more severe offenses like DUI, the driver will be arrested on the spot.

Types of Traffic Violations in Massachusetts

As previously stated, the State of Massachusetts categorizes traffic violations into civil and criminal infractions, depending on the severity. Another way to classify traffic offenses is according to the state of motion of the vehicle. Did the vehicle commit a violation while it was moving? If yes, it is called a moving violation. But if not, then it is called a non-moving violation.

Motion traffic violations in Massachusetts are primarily misdemeanors, and they include overspeeding, non-adherence to traffic signs, driving recklessly, hit-and-run, failure to maintain lane (MGL c.89, § 7C), eluding an officer, racing, lights on vehicles violation (MGL c.85, § 15), etc.

Non-moving violations, on the other hand, usually involve wrong parking or vehicle malfunction. Such violations include:

  • Using faulty vehicle equipment: Such as broken headlights or taillights, broken windshield wipers, no light on the license plate, defective brakes, accelerator pedals, tires, airbags, etc.
  • Parking in a no-parking or illegal zone: No parking zones include the front of a fire hydrant, too close to the curb, in front of an expired meter, a handicap spot without a valid permit, etc.
  • Excessive muffler noise.
  • Unregistered, expired, or incomplete vehicle documents: These include insurance, vehicle registration, and licenses.
  • Non-use of a seatbelt.

Because moving vehicles present a higher risk of bodily harm and loss of life, the penalties for moving violations supersede those for non-moving transgressions. Hence, apart from the general penalties that follow such offenses, law enforcement may further charge the driver ticketed for a moving violation. The driver may have to contend with reckless/negligent operation, which could, in turn, lead to a loss of license for sixty days if the case results in a conviction.

Massachusetts Traffic Violation Code

"Law of the Road" (Part 1, Title XIV, Chapter 89) of The Massachusetts General Laws outlines the various traffic regulations for the state. It also provides the rules governing possession, registration, parking, and operation of vehicles on Massachusetts roads and highways, exceptions and restrictions, in addition to the penalties for the violation of these codes.

Massachusetts Felony Traffic Violation

A felony is any criminal conduct that could attract a penalty of prison time in the state. Depending on the jurisdiction, a criminal traffic violation may be categorized as a misdemeanor or as a felony. Every traffic offense counts as a crime regardless of the circumstances. However, law enforcement may ramp up some otherwise traffic misdemeanors to felonies in the presence of certain inflammatory factors, such as:

  • The driver is a recurring perpetrator.
  • Property damage ensues.
  • Injuries or permanent disfigurement.
  • Wilfully neglecting the safety of other road users.
  • Vehicular homicide.
  • Fleeing the accident scene.

Felony traffic violations carry a minimum punishment of one year in prison and additional hefty fines in some cases. Some examples of such violations are:

Massachusetts Traffic Misdemeanors

In Massachusetts, a misdemeanor is an unlawful act which cannot be punished by state jail time. Typically, misdemeanors in Massachusetts are punished by probation periods or incarceration in a House of Correction. The significant difference between a traffic misdemeanor and a felony is the severity of casualties. Some examples of traffic misdemeanor offenses are:

  • Misdemeanor Hit and Run.
  • Misdemeanor Resisting Arrest or Evading a Police Officer.
  • Misdemeanor Driving Under the Influence
  • Drag or Road Racing Misdemeanor
  • Misdemeanor Reckless Driving
  • Unlawful Use of Accessible Parking Placard
  • Driving With Expired, Invalid, Or No License
  • Refusal to Appear in Court
  • Driving Across A Divided Highway
  • Vehicle Loading or Overweight Violations

Massachusetts Traffic Infractions

Infractions in Massachusetts are minor offenses, less severe than misdemeanor or felonies, and do not lead to jail time. Usually requiring the perpetrator to pay a fine or community service, infractions do not become a part of a person's criminal record. Other penalties include negligent operator points or mandatory driver retraining courses.

Some examples of traffic infractions in Massachusetts include:

  • Lights on Vehicles
  • Non-adherence to Lane Change When Approaching A Stationary Emergency Response, Highway Maintenance Or Recovery Vehicle.
  • Child Passenger Restraints
  • Violation Of One-Way Traffic
  • Violating The Right Of Way At Intersection
  • One-Way Traffic Violation
  • Lane Change When Approaching A Stationary Emergency Response Vehicle, Highway Maintenance Vehicle, Or Recovery Vehicle
  • Pedestrian Crosswalks Violation
  • Motor Vehicle Violation
  • Running A Red Light
  • Overspeeding (three speeding tickets within 12 months)
  • Driving While Smoking Marijuana Or Drinking Alcohol
  • Jaywalking
  • Driving Without A Seatbelt
  • Driving On A Bicycle Lane
  • Parking Violations
  • Improper Passing
  • Faulty Vehicle Equipment
  • Use Of Mobile Devices While Driving
  • Illegal U-Turn
  • Illegal Use Of accessible Parking Placard

A traffic infraction might be elevated to a misdemeanor due to the offense's severity and the accused's criminal history.

Massachusetts Traffic Violation Codes and Fines

A motorist who gets a traffic ticket in Massachusetts has a 20-day period to either pay the ticket, contest it, or risk suspension of their driver's license. The amount of the fine payable would depend on the violation committed.

Massachusetts's Table of Citable Motor Vehicle Offenses and Violation Codes Tables give a comprehensive outline of offenses that involve the "operation or control" of a motor vehicle as described in the General Laws( G.L. c.90C, §1), on a public way. This definition extends the definition of motor vehicles to include recreation vehicles, snow vehicles, motorized bicycles, and scooters.

The minimum fine for overspeeding is $100 - $50 charge plus a $50 surcharge. In addition, the violator gets an additional fine of $10 for every 10 miles per hour (10mph) faster than the posted limit (GL c90C. 17).

Civil Motor Vehicle Infractions (CMVIs) citable under G.L. c.90C, § 3(A), vehicle operation (G.L. c.90, §10, 1), Operating After Suspension or Revocation (G.L. c.90, §23), Refusing to Stop for an Officer (§25) and Uninsured Motor Vehicle (§34J) have different penalties.

How to Pay a Traffic Violation Ticket in Massachusetts

A person issued an infraction ticket for a fine has to pay the stated fine, or if they wish, appeal the ticket not later than 20 days after issuance—failure to do either of these means is tantamount to waiving of hearing right. More so, an accused person may be charged additional fees for lateness and release. Under MGL. c. 90C, the ticketing procedure for motor vehicles traffic violations is the same as for bicycles.

How to pay a traffic violation ticket in Massachusetts for your vehicle or bicycle? There are three options provided:

  • Online: Use the Pay your traffic ticket online link found on the Massachusetts government website. To pay online, the payee must have the traffic ticket (citation) number, the date of the incident, a valid email address, the applicable fee, and any surcharges, if applicable.
  • Mail: To pay a traffic ticket by mail, observe the following procedures:
    • Create a check or money order payable to MassDOT. Input the traffic ticket (citation) number and the payee's driver's license number on the payment.
    • Check Box 1, "I wish to pay this citation". Write the date and sign at the back where indicated. Make a personal copy of the citation and keep it.
    • Send the ticket and check or money order in the pre-addressed envelope provided. Do not mail cash.
    • In a case of loss of pre-addressed envelope, mail the ticket and payment to the address:

Citation Processing Center
P.O. Box 55890
Boston, MA 02205-5890

  • By Phone: The items required to pay a ticket violation over the phone are the traffic citation number, the date of the incident, and the applicable fees. The offender may then call the RMV's Contact Center, depending on their location:
    • For Area codes 339, 617, 781, and 857, or other places from outside Massachusetts, call (857) 368-8000
    • For every other Massachusetts area code, call (800) 858-3926
    • Individualsliving in Massachusetts who are deaf or hard-of-hearing, may call TTY: (877) 768-8833.

In-Person: To resolve a citation in person, look for a Registry of Motor Vehicles office nearby. Take the traffic ticket and the charges to the RMV. While some locations may accept cash payments, others take checks or money orders. However, in the case of a parking ticket, the offender must pay the fee directly to the city or town of issuance.

Traffic Violation Lookup in Massachusetts

Interested persons might need to look up past or current driving records for either themselves or other people for many reasons. A driving record includes all the civil and criminal driving offenses for which a person has been found guilty and any suspensions they may have had on their licenses. Driving records in The state of Massachusettss are of two types:

  • An unattested public driving record, commonly used for personal or informational purposes. The cost is $8.00.
  • An attested public driving record, used for official purposes and carries the signature of the Registrar of Motor Vehicles. It will cost $20.00

A person who wants to look up driving records or a traffic ticket for a civil citation can either find it online through the Massachusetts RMV or offline through the presiding traffic court. To obtain a criminal driving record, visit the appropriate district court. On the other hand, to find a misplaced parking ticket, contact the parking clerk in the city where the parking ticket was issued.

RMV Search - RMV search can either be done online or by mail.

RMV Online Request - To make an online request for a driving record online, the following information is required:

  • Driver's license/learner's permit number
  • Full name
  • Date of birth
  • The driver's social security number.
  • Requester information (if requesting on behalf of someone else).
  • Email address.
  • Applicable fees.

RMV Request By Mail: To request a copy of a driving record, complete the Public Driving Record Request form. Mail the completed form together with the fees in the form of a check or money order, payable to MassDOT to:

Registry of Motor Vehicles
Court Records Department
P.O. Box 55896
Boston, MA 02205

Eligible persons may obtain personal driving records information about anyone by filling the Request for Personal Information in the RMV Records form and providing the requirements listed on the form. However, to complete a request form, one must obtain an authenticated signature of the person whose personal information is requested. Nonetheless, a federal, state, or local agency can access an RMV record through a subpoena.

Presiding Traffic Court: To retrieve information about a lost civil citation from the presiding traffic court, check the state's courthouse locator and choose the local courthouse within the concerned area. Visit the court and make the appropriate requests.

How to Plead not Guilty to a Traffic Violation in Massachusetts

Any road user who is issued a citation for a traffic violation in Massachusetts may pay the fine in full. Alternatively, such a person may contest the charges and request a trial if they feel it was a wrong citation. A contest, which is also referred to as pleading “not guilty,”' or “requesting a contested hearing”, must be engaged within the specified timeframe for the kind of infraction ticketed.

The procedure to plead "not guilty" is different for a civil citation and a criminal citation. The first step is to confirm the type of citation on the ticket.

For Civil Citations

  • Tick the indicated Box 2 area on the traffic citation to request a court hearing. It is best to keep a personal copy of the ticket for future purposes.
  • Sign and date the back of the ticket where indicated.
  • Enclose a $25 check or money order payable to the Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT), for the court filing fee, together with the citation in an envelope. The envelope should be the one provided together with the traffic ticket.
  • Write the citation number and driver's license number on the payment.
  • Check off the hearing request/filing fee box on the front of the pre-addressed envelope.
  • Write the name and address in the upper left-hand corner of the envelope.
  • Apply the correct postage to the mailing envelope
  • Mail the envelope with its enclosed contents to the address shown on the back of the citation:

Citation Processing Center
P.O. Box 55890
Boston, MA 02205

Usually, the court should send a response containing the time and date of arraignment.

Criminal Citations

In Massachusetts, there is a 4-day period to respond to criminal traffic citations. To contest a criminal ticket violation, observe the following procedure:

  • Input your signature and the date on the ticket where indicated.
  • Then, please return it to the specific court for the area where you received the citation.
  • Input the correct court name and address on the front of your ticket. If in doubt, you may check online for this information.

It is advisable to return the completed citation directly to the court in person rather than by mail. It is safer because the deadline to respond to a criminal traffic ticket is very short.

What Will Happen if You Plead No Contest to a Traffic Violation in Massachusetts?

In Massachusetts, a defendant may plead no contest (nolo contendere) with the judge's consent after being charged with traffic violations. A nolo contendere shall be received only from the defendant personally except according to the provisions of Rule 18(b).

After a defendant has pleaded no contest, a judge may accept or may refuse to accept it if there are insufficient facts.

Suppose the defendant successfully enters a plea agreement with the prosecutor or the judge and reach a concession, possible outcomes will include:

  • An amendment to the indictment or complaint.
  • Dismissal, reduction, or partial dismissal of charges.
  • The court may not seek an indictment.
  • The court may decide not to bring other charges.

How Long Do Traffic Violations Stay on Your Record?

Although the State of Massachusetts does not disclose how long a traffic ticket stays on a person's record, existing tickets can significantly affect a person’s driving privileges and car insurance rates through driving points.

Driving record points also called insurance points, or "surcharge point'' is a system used by some states, including Massachusetts, to penalize or reward motorists based on how safely they drive. In Massachusetts, it is called The Safe Driver Insurance Plan (SDIP.

The Massachusetts Safe Driver Insurance Plan (SDIP) assigns points for certain traffic violations, like speeding or unlawful one-way street driving. The infraction, depending on its severity, may add two points, three points, four points, or five points to driver's records for minor traffic law violation, minor at-fault collision, major at-fault collision, and significant traffic law violations, respectively.

Points stay on a person's driving record for six years in Massachusetts.

Can Traffic Violations Be Expunged/Sealed in Massachusetts?

A driving record in Massachusetts is not eligible to be sealed or expunged. Meaning, offenses would remain on it forever unless there is proof of some error that needs correction or some legal reasons for which removal is necessary by a court order (on limited occasions)

In other words, driving records, including violations, can only be corrected but not expunged or sealed. Regardless of how many decades have passed between a first traffic offense (e.g., a DUI), and another, the new one will still be treated as a second offense and penalized accordingly.

What Happens if You Miss a Court Date for a Traffic Violation in Massachusetts?

The standard procedure for someone who accidentally missed their hearing is to immediately file a motion with the court explaining why they missed the hearing. If it is a civil violation, the person involved will pay the total ticket fine to the RMV not more than 20 days from the scheduled hearing. Otherwise, the magistrate will issue a criminal complaint and a summons to appear before a judge.

If a person misses their court date for a criminal violation, they will be issued a court summons to stand before a judge. Failure to obey the court summons attracts one of more of the following penalties:

  • Suspension of their driver's license and driving privileges.
  • Issuance of an arrest warrant against them.
  • Hefty fines and fees.
  • Suspension or revoking of their professional licenses or permits.
  • Loss of access to unemployment benefits, workers' compensation, public assistance benefits, and state tax refund.
  • Being charged with contempt of court.


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