What to Do If You Get a Traffic Ticket in Connecticut
There is never a good time to receive traffic tickets. A traffic citation is not only stressful, but it can hurt financially and can add points onto your Connecticut driver’s license.
Is a Court Appearance Required?
Court is not always mandatory. If you received minor Connecticut traffic tickets, you do not have to appear in court. If you have been handed a major traffic ticket, court is more likely to be recommended. A major ticket would include DUI’s, driving under a suspended license, reckless driving, causing an accident, trying to out-run a police officer, etc.
If you find yourself on the receiving end of traffic tickets in Connecticut, you have some options that are available. Let’s take a look at some of them.
Option 1 – Pay Your Ticket
With this option, you are making the choice to admit that you're guilty of the infraction put upon you. You then need to sign, date and send in the citation along with the money to pay the fee. This must be done by the date that's on your citation. Read the citation ticket very carefully to make sure that you understand what needs to be done and by when.
Your options on paying the ticket are by online, mail, or over the phone.
1) To pay your ticket by mail, send the signed citation and your payment to the Centralized Infractions Bureau, PO Box 5044, Hartford, CT 06102-5044.
2) You may also pay online and make sure you have a major credit card and your citation number ready. Paying online could take a lot of time to process your payment.
If payment is not received by the deadline on your ticket, you will be paying an additional fee of $60 along with your license being suspended and then there is an additional fee of $175 to reinstate your driver’s license.
Option 2 – Plead Not Guilty and Request a Trial
If you think that you've received the citation unjustly, you have the option to plead not guilty and request a trial. This request must be made to the courts before the deadline on your citation.
Once the court receives your request, they will notify you of the court date, time, and where to appear. There may be a fee attached, so remember to pay the fee before any end date.
Option 3 – Appeal Your Case
When you choose to appeal the case, you can represent yourself or you can hire an attorney.
In representing yourself, you will need to get together any evidence that will help you such as interviewing and maybe subpoena any witnesses who may have seen events unfold. Your driving record is also important to have, so have a copy of it to show the court what type of driver you are.
In hiring an attorney, your odds might improve of having the charges reduced or even dismissed. This could prevent points being added to your license and insurance premiums being raised.
When you go to court, the judge will hear both sides of the case and then make a ruling. If he finds you innocent, there is a possibility that the charges would be dropped. You may still have to pay court costs and if an attorney is involved, he may request that you pay for his time.
The judge could also find you guilty and then you would need to pay the fines, court costs, any legal fees if an attorney is involved. At this time, points would be assessed to your license and at some time, your insurance premiums will go up.
Option 4 – Take an Online Defensive Driving Course
Connecticut doesn't give any kind of state-wide option for people to take a defensive driving course to have tickets dismissed or removing points from driver’s licenses. Points on a driver’s license will automatically be removed after 2 years. Some courts may allow an online defensive driving course as part of ticket adjudication.
Those who are at least 25 years of age or older, with 3 or more moving violations or have had their license suspended must attend a DMV approved driving course.
If you fail to complete the course, your license will be suspended until you complete all requirements Connecticut Department of Motor Vehicles gets a notification of completion. You also may be liable to pay a reinstatement fee set by the DMV.
You may not drive until you get a notice from the Connecticut DMV that your driver’s license is reinstated.
Connecticut traffic tickets can be a costly venture. Be sure you know the rules of the road and abide by them to make sure you keep your money in your pockets.