No-Fix Defense

No-Fix Defense

The “No Fix” Statute is a Massachusetts law that requires police officers to provide a copy of the citation to a driver at the time and place of the violation.

There are three exceptions to the requirement of this statute:

  1. the driver could not be stopped at the time of the incident
  2. additional time was necessary to determine the identity of the driver or the nature of the violation
  3. a court finds some other circumstance that justifies the failure to issue a citation

If the police violate the no-fix statute and don’t submit a citation within six business days, the defendant may be entitled to have his or her case dismissed, even if these charges are criminal in nature. The only exception to this statute is if a death is a result of the violation – such as driving under the influence that ends in a fatality, or vehicular manslaughter.

Further Facts & Considerations

It may seem as though dismissal of charges based on the failure to provide a citation at the exact time and place that the violation occurred is a technicality that does not further the safety purposes of these laws. However, timely notice is important in all criminal cases. It provides defendants with the ability to conduct an independent investigation, document road conditions, secure witnesses, and allows a better memory of the events in question.

The information available closer in time to the event might completely change the outcome of a case. Defendants in motor vehicle cases may benefit significantly from being able to document at the time exactly what has happened, and identify witnesses present at the scene. That opportunity, once lost, can’t be regained, and it may be a significant loss even in a case where the defendant can’t prove prejudice.

Despite the clear requirements of the statute, it is surprisingly common for police to fail to comply with the “no fix” law. Anyone facing a show-cause hearing or criminal charges for a motor vehicle offense should consult with counsel as early as possible, to make sure that all of their rights, including those under the “no fix” law, are enforced.  Call us today at 781-797-0555 for a free telephone consultation.

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