The time has come, you have gotten a speeding ticket (or a citation for some other civil moving violation), you mailed in the ticket, you got a notice for the date, and now it’s game time.
Who is going to be there?
- Clerk Magistrate
- A Police Officer
- you (and your lawyer if you hire one to represent you)
- Any other witnesses
Is the officer who issued you the citation going to be there? No, probably not. All that is required under Massachusetts Law is that a representative from the police department be present. The officer who gave you the ticket does not need to appear.
The officer will only go by the information that he received from his colleague who pulled you over and that is all he or she needs.
The officer makes his or her case.
The Clerk Magistrate decides what to do about the citation. Sometimes they will not issue the citation, sometimes they will reduce the fine and issue the citation, and sometimes they will issue the citation.
Does hiring an attorney to represent you help?
Yes, often it does (although nothing in is a guarantee) An attorney can advocate on your behalf. Hiring an attorney to represent you at a Clerk’s Hearing, is usually cheaper in the long run. If the citation issues you will have surcharge points added to your driving record, and your insurance will increase 5% for each point! This can get expensive. (See Automobile Insurance Surcharges)
If you are not satisfied with the result of the Clerk’s Hearing, you can appeal to a Judge. At this hearing it is required that the police officer who issued the citation appear and give testimony.
For more information on Automobile Insurance Surcharges see: