Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Anyone know a trustworthy lawyer in Massachusetts?

Ok, as you all probably know by now, I am originally from Boston. I moved out to Arizona in '93, and the last time I spent any length of time in MA was from 1998 - 1999.

In 1999, I got three traffic citations, and three fines, that I did not know about; because more than a month after I received a ticket, the state of Massachusetts decided that my Arizona drivers license was invalid, and that I was actually driving on an expired Massachusetts drivers license (which I was not, but that’s what they decided AFTER THE FACT). The state then canceled my registration and insurance without telling me, and fined me three times for driving without a license, registration, or insurance.

I then moved out of the country, and didn’t return until 2003; at which time I was living in Arizona, and I renewed my Arizona drivers license; which I'd had since 1994. The Arizona drivers license doesn't expire until you're 60, so they thought my license was still valid, but I'd moved out of the country, so technically it would have been canceled six months after I moved.

In 2004, I was pulled over for making a right turn on a no right turn light (didn’t see the sign), and I found out my drivers license was suspended. Since 2004 I have supposedly cleared this up three times; however each time, my drivers license was re-suspended six months later; and each time I was not notified.

The state of Massachusetts has also tried to assess me several thousand dollars in taxes and fees, for a time when I did not live there.

Thus far this exercise has cost me several thousand dollars, and two different lawyers have screwed it up. Bench warrants have been issued on the three unpaid fines. I at least managed to get the tax idiocy taken care of.

Just last night I checked with the Arizona MVD, and sure enough my license has been cancelled again (different from a suspension, because Massachusetts is claiming that I still have a revoked drivers license with them, so Arizona doesn’t suspend my license, they cancel it).

Additionally, because these are criminal warrants (failure to answer a summons), my Arizona CCW permit is also suspended until such time as the warrants are recalled.

I am not eligible to have the Arizona MVD ignore Massachusetts (they would if I was poor, but I make too much money); and the MA courts won’t let me pay the three fines remotely. I can however have a lawyer appear for me.... at least in theory, unless the judges decide that they want me to show up in person, which they can do at their whim.

Unfortunately, the fines are in 3 different (neighboring) courts; all three of which want a $550 fine now (including late fees, administrative costs, and failure to appear fine). Then I need to pay a $300 reinstatement fee to the Mass RMV.

As I said, two different lawyers have now screwed this up (it was supposed to have been already taken care of three times; twice with one Lawyer and a third time with another). I need to get this issue resolved, and I can’t afford to waste any more time or money on this.

So, I'm not quite desperate; but I am certainly irritated, and looking for some personal referrals from my readers in Mass, or who deal with Mass.

Does anyone know a trustworthy and reliable lawyer in eastern Massachusetts, who won't charge me an arm and a leg to get this issue resolved? It’s probably only about 6 hours worth of work total, but I obviously can’t trust my other two lawyers to fix this.