If you are found responsible for, or guilty of, a citation issued to you for violating a surchargeable traffic law, you may receive a surcharge.

Defining a Surchargeable Traffic Law Violation
Assignment of Surcharges
Surcharge Date of a Traffic Law Violation
Responding to a Massachusetts Uniform Citation
Failure to Respond to a Citation


Defining a Surchargeable Traffic Law Violation

A citation received for a traffic law violation is surchargeable if the violation is included in the list of surchargeable traffic law violations in Appendix A of the Safe Driver Insurance Plan Regulation, and if the cited operator:
  • pays the fine assessed
  • is found guilty or responsible by the court,
  • is assigned by the court to a driver alcohol education program, or a controlled substance abuse treatment or rehabilitation program
  • defaults on the citation by failing to pay the assessed fine or attending the hearing
!! You may incur a surcharge for any one of these reasons.


Assignment of Surcharges

Minor traffic law violation: civil (non-criminal) and criminal
Includes civil violations, such as speeding or failing to obey traffic lights, and minor criminal violations, such as driving as an unlicensed operator (refer to the list of Minor Surchargeable Traffic Law Violations).

Major traffic law violation: criminal
Includes criminal violations, such as operating under the influence (OUI) of alcohol and drugs, leaving the scene of an accident, or refusing to stop for a police officer (refer to the list of Major Surchargeable Traffic Law Violations).


Surcharge Date of a Traffic Law Violation

The surcharge date is not the incident date. It is:
  • the disposition date and/or judgment date entered by a court on a citation for a traffic law violation
  • the date the Registry of Motor Vehicles applies the payment of the fine assessed for a civil traffic law violation
  • the date of assignment to a driver alcohol education (or substance abuse) program
  • the fine payment default date, or the court hearing default date
  • the conviction date of an out-of-state traffic law violation from an out-of-state driving record
The citation issued at the time of the traffic law violation is your only notice that the violation may be surchargeable.


Responding to a Massachusetts Uniform Citation

Instructions (A and B) for responding to a Massachusetts Uniform Citation are printed on the back of the citation. For your convenience, these instructions are also published on this Website.

Civil Citation - follow Instruction A
If the "All Civil Infractions" box on the front of the citation is checked, follow Instruction A on the back of the citation. Within 20 days, you are required to either:
  • pay the total due as written by the issuing officer, or
  • request a hearing before the Clerk-Magistrate of the District Court that has jurisdiction over the city or town where the offense occurred. You can obtain a list of court addresses, including directions online.
Criminal Application - follow Instruction B
If the "Criminal Application" box on the front of the citation is checked, follow Instruction B on the back of the citation.
You must return a criminal citation to the court within 4 days.
Important! If you receive a citation with both "All Civil Infractions" and "Criminal Application" boxes checked, follow Instruction B. Do not attempt to pay or appeal the accompanying civil infraction(s) at this time. These will be settled at the time you appear in court. The Citation Processing Center cannot accept a payment for a civil infraction on a criminal citation.
A citation that is issued to you as a warning
If the police officer issuing the citation checked the "Warning" box on the front of the citation, no action is required on your part.


Failure to Respond to a Citation

Civil
If the Registry of Motor Vehicles does not receive your payment or hearing request for a civil (non-criminal) citation within the 20 days allowed, the Registry will find you in default.
If you are in default on a civil citation, you will lose your right to a hearing, incur substantial late charges, and your driver's license, right to operate, and/or registration will be suspended until you pay in full (including late charges and reinstatement fees).
Criminal
If the Court does not receive your criminal citation within the 4 days allowed, you will be in default.
If you are in default on a criminal citation, the Court may issue a warrant against you.