What Do I Do If I Receive a Traffic Citation?

Traffic citations are issued by the Sterling Police Department in the State of Massachusetts for various violations of traffic laws. You must respond to a traffic citation, usually by paying a fine or by appearing in court.  Failing to do so may result in a warrant being issued for your arrest and/or your driver's license status being suspended.

You may either pay the fine or request a court hearing.


If you decide to pay the fine, there are several ways to do so. The back of the citation will clearly indicate the deadlines and options for answering the citation. Generally, you must act within 20 days of receiving a traffic citation to avoid additional fines and/or license suspension.  In order to pay the fine, you may:

  1. Pay online. Most traffic citations issued can be answered and paid online using a credit or debit card. Visit the Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles (RMV) Express Lane to pay online.
  2. Pay by mail. Read the instructions on the back of the ticket carefully.  Check the box indicating that you would like to pay the citation and sign the ticket. Enclose a check or money order for the amount indicated on the citation and mail to:

    Citation Processing Center
    P.O. Box 55890
    Boston, MA 02205-5890  

  3. Pay in person. You can pay your traffic tickets at any Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles (RMV) office. Bring the citation with you, along with cash, check, or credit card.

  4. Pay by phone. You can call the RMV Telephone Center at 800.858.3926 to pay by phone.


If you decide dispute the ticket, you must check off the box indicating your request for a hearing. Then, sign the citation and mail it to:

Citation Processing Center
P.O. Box 55890
Boston, MA 02205-5890  

The Clinton District Court has jurisdiction over all traffic hearings.  You will receive documentation in the mail regarding the date and time of your hearing.


If criminal application is checked on your citation, there will not be a fine amount.  If you wish to be granted a hearing as to whether a criminal complaint should be issued against you, sign the citation and return it within four days to the Clerk-Magistrate of the court named on the front of the ticket.  


If you lost a traffic citation after receiving it, you must contact a Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles (RMV) office.