What are Massachusetts Public Traffic Records?
Massachusetts public traffic records refer to public documents pertaining to a driver resident within the state's judicial district. These records offer an in-depth look into the driving and traffic history of motorists licensed or residing in the state. As a result, they contain details on accidents, license suspensions, tickets, and other related information. The Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles (RMV) and the state court system generate, maintain, and disseminate these records to interested individuals.
Are Traffic Records Public in Massachusetts?
Yes, they are. Traffic records are publicly available in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, pursuant to the Massachusetts Public Records Law. Hence, members of the public have the right to inspect and copy them upon request.
Notwithstanding, the Driver Privacy Protection Act (DPPA) disallows select driving-related information from being accessed by the public. The DPPA makes it illegal for the Registry of Motor Vehicles to release certain personal information about drivers. This includes an individual's photograph, social security number, driver's license number, contact information, medical or disability information, etc.
Overall, traffic records may be reviewed by the public in Massachusetts, but privacy laws and regulations limit the information that can be released.
What Do Massachusetts Traffic Records Contain?
In Massachusetts, a traffic record comprises information on a motorist and their driving/traffic history, beginning from when their driver's license was issued. Massachusetts traffic records typically contain the following data:
- A driver's name, address, and birthdate
- License status and number
- At-fault accidents (car accidents caused by a driver's negligence)
- Traffic violations and convictions
- Demerit points
- License suspensions
- Licensing privileges or special classifications
Does a Citation Go on Your Record in Massachusetts?
Yes, a citation will appear on a person's driving record in Massachusetts. The citation may also appear on an offender's criminal record if it leads to a criminal conviction.
Furthermore, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts operates a point system as part of the Safe Driver Insurance Plan (SDIP), which seeks to punish or reward drivers depending on how safely they drive. As a result, each time a motorist obtains a traffic infraction citation or causes an at-fault collision, their driver's license and driving record are docked a certain number of points.
Types of Traffic Citations in Massachusetts
In Massachusetts, there are two categories of traffic citations:
- Traffic citations for civil infractions: Civil infractions are minor violations that can usually be remedied by paying fines. Speeding, failing to indicate a turn, and disregarding a traffic sign are examples of civil infractions.
- Traffic citations for criminal violations: Criminal violations can either be misdemeanors or felonies in Massachusetts. Driving while suspended, drunk driving, and fleeing the scene of an accident are a few examples. Compared to civil infractions, the penalties for criminal violations are quite severe. For this reason, a criminal traffic violation can result in incarceration, license suspension for an unlimited period, and other hefty penalties.
Massachusetts Traffic Citation Lookup
The method for looking up a traffic citation in Massachusetts depends on the type of citation received. When a driver receives a civil citation in Massachusetts, the individual may contact the relevant traffic court or Registry of Motor Vehicles (RMV) for information.
However, if the citation was issued for a criminal offense, the individual must contact the relevant district court in the locality where the citation was received.
How to Lookup my Massachusetts Traffic Records
Individuals can look up their Massachusetts traffic records by requesting their driving records from the Registry of Motor Vehicles (RMV). There are two kinds of driving records available from the agency:
- An unattested public driving record that is not verified and can be used for personal or informative reasons.
- A true and attested public driving record that bears the Registrar of Motor Vehicles' official stamp. It may be used for official purposes, such as a court hearing.
The charge for an unattested record is $8, whereas a true and attested record costs $20.
Requests for either record type can be made online, by mail, in person, or over the phone, depending on the requester's preference.
To obtain a driving record online, an individual must access the Massachusetts RMV Public Driving Record Request Transaction site (or myRMV). The following information about the record holder will be required:
- Driver's license number
- Last name (a first name is optional)
- Date of birth
- Social Security Number (SSN)
The requester will also need to pay the applicable fee.
To obtain a copy of a Massachusetts traffic record by mail, an individual must submit their details, a request letter, and a self-addressed, stamped envelope to the Registry of Motor Vehicles. The written request must include information such as the driver's name, date of birth, driver's license number, and address, as well as a check or money order in the amount assessed for a record.
Attn: Driving Records
Registry of Motor Vehicles
Court Records Department
P.O. Box 55889
Boston, MA 02205-5896
The RMV typically takes two weeks to process mail requests.
Individuals can also get their driving records by contacting the Massachusetts RMV on (857) 368-8000 from within the state or (800) 858-3926 from outside the state.
Individuals who wish to get driving records in person should visit their nearest RMV Service Center with their driver's license and a form of payment.
Inquirers may only pay with a credit or debit card when ordering online or by phone. Payments for mail requests can only be made using checks or money orders made payable to "MassDOT." However, if a request is made in person, payments can be made with cash, check, money order, or a credit/debit card.
If a third party wants to access a driving record containing personal information about another person, the entity must verify that they can view the record. Details on eligibility and the required identification may be found on the Request for Personal Information in the RMV Records form.
Generally, requesters must:
- Download and complete the request form.
- Obtain authorization from the individual whose record they wish to review (i.e., the record holder's notarized signature).
Massachusetts traffic case records may also be available from third-party websites since they are considered public records. Unlike government sources or websites, third-party websites do not have geographical limitations. Hence, interested parties may access these websites from anywhere in the world. However, some third-party websites may require registration or subscription to access traffic record
Massachusetts Traffic Violations
A traffic violation in Massachusetts is a moving or non-moving violation that occurs when a driver breaks the state's traffic laws. This can include speeding, running a red light, or failing to yield the right of way. Traffic violations can result in points being added to a driver's license, and repeat offenses can lead to suspension or revocation of driving privileges. In some cases, a traffic violation may also be considered a criminal offense, which can carry harsher penalties.
In Massachusetts, a traffic violation can result in points being added to a driver's license. The number of points that are added depends on the severity of the offense, and accumulating too many points can lead to a driver's license being suspended or revoked. Drivers who accumulate 12 or more points within 12 months can have their licenses suspended for three months. Drivers who get 18 or more points within an 18-month period can have their licenses revoked for up to one year. Other penalties for Massachusetts traffic violations include fines, jail time, and community service. In some cases, a traffic violation may also be considered a criminal offense, which can carry harsher penalties.
Massachusetts License Plate Lookup
License plates help law enforcement officers track down criminals and identify vehicles that have been involved in crimes. A Massachusetts license plate lookup is a relatively straightforward process, depending on the information required and the intent of the request.
To look up a license plate for a traffic violation or other legal matter, contact the Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles (RMV). The RMV can provide requesters with information about the registered owner of a vehicle and the make, model, and year of the vehicle.
Requestors can use third-party aggregate sites or similar services to conduct a license plate search for personal reasons. These services allow requestors to look up license plates by name or vehicle identification number (VIN). Some of these services also offer driving history reports, which can help screen potential employees or tenants.
How to View Traffic Case Records for Free in Massachusetts
When attempting to access any court record in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, an individual must first determine the court of record (the trial court where a case was brought or tried). After locating the court that maintains the record of interest, the party may contact the court's record custodian, the court clerk. Interested parties can use the Massachusetts Court System directory to obtain a court's contact information.
Also, interested persons can access traffic case information using Masscourt, the case management system managed by the Massachusetts judiciary. Searches can be conducted with a defendant's name, case number, or calendar date. However, recent court records and actual case documents may not be accessible online. For those records, it is best to visit the appropriate court clerk's office.
Additionally, inquirers may easily access traffic case records using designated public access computers located in trial courts across the state (District, Boston Municipal). The public access computers are equipped with an eAccess program, allowing users to search for cases by name, case category, or case number.
Generally, traffic records can be examined without charge, but there will likely be a fee for duplication (copies).
How Long do Traffic Offenses Remain on a Public Record in Massachusetts
Convictions for criminal traffic violations such as driving under the influence (DUI) typically remain on an individual's driving record for ten years after a conviction date in Massachusetts. However, these convictions may remain on their criminal record indefinitely.
Furthermore, if points were added to a person's driving record because of a traffic violation, those points usually remain listed for six years. However, drivers may deduct points sooner by avoiding any new points for at least three years.
How to Remove Traffic Records from Public Websites in Massachusetts
Because traffic records are considered public records, they are available to the public through the government entities that create, manage, and disseminate them and can also be accessed through data broker websites.
Individuals who wish to have their records deleted from public websites can file a petition with the court for an expungement or sealing order. Expunging a record will destroy the relevant record, making it permanently inaccessible to any court, state/municipal/county authority, or public website. Meanwhile, a sealing order will restrict general access to a record.
It should be noted, however, that the sealing and expungement procedures only pertain to criminal traffic records. Ultimately, removing a noncriminal public traffic record from the internet may not be possible unless it violates a privacy law or regulation.
Do Motoring Offenses Affect Criminal Records in Massachusetts?
Motoring offenses (also called traffic offenses) can be criminal, and as such, impact criminal records. In Massachusetts, a motoring offense becomes criminal when perpetrated against persons or property. Crimes against persons and property are defined as offenses that cause serious bodily harm to another person and property damage. Vehicular homicide, hit and run (leaving an accident scene), and driving under the influence are examples of criminal motoring offenses.
A criminal motoring offense often attracts harsh punishments on a convicted road user, so much that it can impact their quality of life. Besides being documented on an individual's criminal record and leading to heavy fines and lengthy prison terms, a conviction can also result in job losses, immigration difficulties, high auto insurance premiums, challenges in obtaining adequate housing, loss of child custody, and more.