Asked in Traffic Tickets for Massachusetts

Q: My daughter only had a driving permit when she was pulled over on 7/4/18 and was given a "Criminal Application"

My daughter only had a driving permit when she was pulled over on 7/4/18 and was given a "Criminal Application" because she was not with an 18-year old with a license. We sent for a hearing (as to whether a criminal complaint against her), and she now has a date. There were extenuating circumstances when she was driving as I had to leave the country because my dad passed away and she stayed with a friend for a couple of days before her travel.

How can we best prepare for the hearing?

Also, she is due to take her road test - can she proceed with that? Her record is clear at the RMV.

Thank you,

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1 Lawyer Answer
Lissa McKinney
Lissa McKinney
  • Traffic Tickets Lawyer
  • Acton, MA
  • Licensed in Massachusetts

A: A criminal Complaint application means that they will schedule it for an arraignment if she is charged with a felony, or a show cause or clerk's hearing if it is a misdemeanor. Most likely she will get to a clerk's hearing however you ahd the right to also request one if you read the back of the ticket and requested it in the time frame.

You should get a lawyer involved before the clerk's hearing. The hearing is also referred to as a 'show-cause' which is where you can show cause why a criminal complaint should not issue. You may be able to obtain a dismissal or diversion if you have no record at this level at all.Even if a complaint were to issue, in the worst case scenario, it can possibly be 'continued without a finding', or she might be eligible to be 'diverted' out of the criminal process. This is where an experienced lawyer can make a real difference.There are many of us here on JUSTIA that handle these all the time. In April,2018 the governor signed alot of new legislation so that 1st time offenders and young adults could be diverted- which means no criminal record at all. Those variations largely depend on the local court, the knowledge and experience of your lawyer, and negotiating skills.

The new criminal justice reform package that may benefit you by diversion is described here:

As for preparation, whether you have a lawyer or not, bring the death notice or information, your passport that shows you were away and any documentation of the necessity of her driving. IF the complaint issues OR her right to the learnes permit is suspended, she will be delayed in obtaining her actual driver's license to my knowledge. Per the RMV: Have a valid learner's permit for at least six consecutive months before taking the road test. (Any suspension will invalidate the permit and the six months will start to run anew when the suspension is lifted.)

However, if they havent suspended the permit yet, and you can prove the circumstances, she may come through this without the license delay. Much will depend on what Court you are in, and the view of the clerk hearing the matter. Good luck.

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