MA Filter: Will an unregistered vehicle citation affect my insurance?
June 7, 2014 8:13 AM   Subscribe

Long story short, I moved from Texas to Massachusetts at the beginning of June this year while my car's registration in Texas was expired since April. I knew I was going to be moving very shortly so I purposely chose not to re-register my vehicle, which was my mistake. I own the fact that I am at 100% fault for this.

Anyway, I got pulled over by a state trooper (he ran my plates when he saw my car and there was an error of some sorts, which is why he pulled me over; no speeding or any other violations) and they towed my car on the spot.

I went and got my car registered in MA and picked up my car, but I've yet to convert my driver's license (was going to at the same time that I registered my car but the wait was way too long and I didn't want to be too late for my new job). Will be doing that shortly, though.

So, my questions are the following:

1) The citation I received is a civil infraction -- if I pay the fine and admit guilt, will this go on my records, increase my points, and thus my insurance premiums?

2) Is it worth hiring an attorney to fight this in court? I will 100% do this if this will go on my records. And if I do, I will bring my proof of registration, insurance, and new MA driver's license.

3) If it's worth hiring an attorney, does anyone have any recommendations on who I should hire? This took place near the Target in Everett, FYI, and I live in Somerville. The court I'd have to appear at is the Malden District Court.

posted by 6spd to Law & Government (2 answers total)
This would be considered a Minor Traffic Law Violation in Massachusetts, which would result in surchargeable points on your insurance. How much that affects what you pay would be something to bring up with your insurance agent.

You can often get a first violation removed (I've done so for driving with an expired sticker), and it doesn't often require a lawyer.
posted by xingcat at 8:18 AM on June 7, 2014

Is it too late to go to court? If you're really worried about the points and insurance premiums, it's probably worth a shot. Lots of places will allow you to do community service or take a class to avoid having the ticket on your record (and the associated points). In Maryland, they call it Probation Before Judgment (Massachusetts may call it something else like a Prayer for Judgment Continued or...something?). In my case, I did a few hours of community service, and my speeding ticket disappeared.

Just explain that you were in the midst of a cross-country move and overlooked the registration. It happens All. The. Time. It's a paperwork issue, not a safety issue, so it's not like you need some brilliant excuse.

If this does end up on your record, it's likely to be a non-issue, so don't stress too much, either way. One minor violation on an otherwise spotless record is unlikely to substantially affect your premium, and if it does, switch companies. There are insurance companies that don't even start counting points until you get a few of them.

I wouldn't even consider getting a lawyer. The cost of a lawyer is likely to exceed any potential premium increases. Traffic courts expect individuals to represent themselves, so they keep it pretty simple. It's more like going to the DMV than to a trial. You just wait around forever until your name is called. Then you answer a few questions and leave. It's over before you know it.

Do bring your proof of registration and maybe some documents that support the fact that you moved (I'd be surprised if the judge even bothered to look at them, but why not?)
posted by nobejen at 9:00 AM on June 7, 2014

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