Back in January I was caught in a speed trap in the Williams tunnel in Boston. Although, I was riding alongside another car, I was picked out and pulled over. The officer said I was going 69 in a 45, which could quite possibly be true, I wasn’t looking at my speedometer and he had a LIDAR gun. So I took my $240 ticket and went home (going the speed limit of course). This was my second speeding ticket ever (the first one being in 2002) and my first ticket in Massachusetts. So as I did with my first ticket, I was ready to pay it right away. I went online the next day to the Mass RMV site, entered in all of my information including my credit card number only to hit Submit and have them tell me my ticket wasn’t in the system yet and I had to wait 10 days to pay it. Very technologically advanced.
So in the meantime, I called my insurance company to see how much of a hit I was going to take since in Mass every moving violation increases the premium on your auto insurance. I still don’t understand how a speeding ticket affects my insurance policy, but that’s an argument for another time. The woman at my insurance company informed me that I would be paying about $200 more a year for the next 6 years… SIX YEARS. So my $240 moving violation fine was going to cost me $1,440. Super. But then the woman on the phone asked me to recall the events leading up to my ticket. I explained how I was on Mass Pike coming from Newton driving in the middle of 3 lanes. Once I reached Boston just before the Williams tunnel the left lane turned into an exit only, so I was paying more attention to the road signs rather than the speed limit sign. So I went into the tunnel going highway speed in the left lane, perfect target. Apparently, a cop is always standing around this corner in the tunnel so I probably should have known. The insurance lady told me to fight the ticket. She said based on what I had told her I would get off. I mentioned it to a few other people at work and they all told me the same thing. So I sent in my request for a hearing and waited for the date.
I few weeks later, I get a letter with the date which is 2 months from when I originally got the ticket. So I spent that time researching traffic laws in Mass and what to say and how to act and what to wear. In all my research, I find out the night prior that I go before a magistrate first, then I can appeal the magistrates decision before a judge. So the next day I dress up in business casual attire and head to South Boston. When I get there, there’s a long line of people waiting to see the magistrate, apparently fighting tickets is just as routine as buying bread. I was also the best dressed person there. One lady was actually in sweatpants and a dirty t-shirt. One guy brought a little baby along with him, I don’t think the magistrate fell for it. Then it was my turn, I walk in, sit down, moleskine in hand with all of notes and talking points only to have the officer tell the magistrate that this was my first ticket and she let me go. All that build up for nothing. She said that she typically lets first timers go. But in the end at least I got to go through the experience of (at least half way) fighting a ticket. And, my insurance doesn’t go up, which is the best part.
So if its your first time getting a speeding ticket, definitely request a hearing… worst case, you have to pay the original fine, but at least you have a chance of getting rid of it altogether. Also, if you are in Mass here are a few good tips I came across in my research: