If you get a traffic ticket, you may be wondering what your options are. The good news is you have options. However, you need to decide and act quickly.
What are next steps?
If you get a moving infraction in New Hampshire, the police officer providing that ticket will give you some additional information. You will have the option of taking one or several steps. In most cases, the ticket will list a specific date on it (usually on the back of the ticket.) This is the date by which you need to take action. Do not allow this due date to pass prior to taking the action you need. Otherwise, the New Hampshire traffic ticket court may issue a warrant for your failure to appear.
Do I need to appear in front of the judge?
In most situations, you will not need to report to a court for a traffic ticket. Look on the ticket for more information about this. Most cases do not require you to appear for minor moving violations. If you see the box on the back checked that a mandatory court appearance is necessary, you will need to report to the court with the ticket on that date.
If this box is not checked or it says that a court appearance is not necessary, you do not have to appear. However, you still need to respond. You will need to submit the ticket with the decision you are making.
What are your options with New Hampshire traffic tickets? You have several options to consider under New Hampshire traffic ticket laws. Those include the following.
Option 1 - Pay it
If no court appearance is necessary, the easiest option is to simply pay your ticket. You can check the box on the ticket that says "no contest" and then send it in. However, this will mean that you will have points added to your license. You will also need to pay whatever fine has been levied on the account to you. If you know you are guilty and you do not want to fight it, you will need to fill out the ticket and mail it in.
Option 2 - Ask for a Trial
For those who are not guilty and who want to fight the charges, look at the back of the ticket again. You can check the box that says "not guilty." Then, mail in the ticket to the address provided. The agency will respond to this as a request for a formal hearing. The hearing date and time will be sent to you in the mail. You will then need to appear in court.
When you appear in court, you will have the opportunity to allow a judge to hear your case. The judge will then decide on your guilt. If you are found not guilty, you do not have to pay the fine. If you are found guilty, though, several things can happen.
Most commonly, you will have to pay the fine for the New Hampshire traffic tickets you have. You will also have to pay nominal court costs. You may also have to surrender your license if it was suspended as a violation of points or because of other reasons.
Option 3 - Appeal it
If you are found guilty and still believe a mistake was made, you can file an appeal with the court. This will send the case through another set of hearings. However, this process is often complex. It is best to work with an attorney through the process rather than doing it on your own.
Option 4 – Complete online driving school aka defensive driving school
The state also allows individuals to take an approved driver improvement program. If the court approves it for this reason and you successfully complete an accredited and recognized program, you may be eligible to reduce up to 3 demerit points on your driver license record. To do so, you must complete all requirements of the course and submit a certificate of completion.
Note: the court must agree to allow you to complete the course to reduce the points. Do not enroll in the program unless your attorney has said you can or the judge Okays it. Your New Hampshire driver record is available to you through the New Hampshire Division of Motor Vehicles or private websites like ours.