A hearing for a civil motor vehicle infraction is conducted by the District Court having jurisdiction over the city or town where the citation was issued. The Registry of Motor Vehicles (RMV) has no authority to decide an operator's responsibility on a civil citation.
Late Hearing Requests
When no record exists that a hearing was requested by an operator or that the court scheduled such a hearing, the RMV has the authority to grant a hearing on a late hearing request. The granting of a late hearing is not automatic and is granted at the reasonable discretion of the RMV Hearings Officer based on the particular case. Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 90C Section 3(A)(4) grants the Registrar this authority. The operator must see an RMV Hearings Officer to request a late hearing.
If a late hearing is granted, the operator's pending suspension order will be lifted, and the civil citation will return to pending status until the court enters its findings on the matter.
IMPORTANT NOTE: At the time an operator pays a citation, he/she accepts responsibility for the citation, and there will be no opportunity for a hearing, late or otherwise, on that citation.
Second Hearing Requests
The RMV has no authority to grant a second hearing. If an operator fails to appear for his/her scheduled court hearing, he/she may or may not be eligible for a second opportunity for a hearing. The District Court policy on second hearing requests can be found at the Massachusetts Court Department's website. An operator must return to the magistrate, judge or court and request a second hearing.
If a second hearing is approved by the court, the operator must bring such approval in writing to an RMV Hearings Officer. The suspension order will be lifted and the civil citation will return to pending status until the court enters its findings on the matter. The RMV does not accept verbal approval from any court. The court allowing a new hearing must provide a letter stating that they have no objection to a second hearing.
If the court denies an operator's request for a second hearing, then the previous court disposition of "responsible" stands, and the operator is responsible for all fees related to the citation. The operator must pay the citation and all fees to "MassDOT" to maintain his/her driving privileges.
Court Filing Fee
An operator is required to pay a court filing fee to have a hearing on a civil motor vehicle violation. This fee is collected by the RMV on behalf of the court. Please refer to the Pay or Appeal a Civil Citation section for more information on paying your court filing fee.
PLEASE NOTE: If the civil citation was issued prior to January 1, 2011, the filing fee must be paid to the court of jurisdiction