It's a Sunday afternoon in the Fall and you and your wife are driving down some of the most beautiful scenic roads in Connecticut, enjoying the colorful leaves, the mountain views, and the quaint little towns along the way. It's a perfect day for a drive and you're just cruising along, slowing down here and there to take in the scenery and listening to the radio. The sun is shining and it's warming up, so you roll down the windows and feel the fresh air blowing as you as you come up on a long straight away.
“You better slow down, you're going to get a ticket.” You look over at your wife and smile, but you don't let off the gas. There's not a car in sight, just a long straight road ahead of you and you pick up some speed. “Slow down! You're going too fast for me to see anything and you're going to get a ticket!” You laugh. “I'm fine, there's not going to be any cops way out here.” As you crest the next hill, you hear that dreaded sound of a police siren, then you see the blue lights in your mirror. As you pull over, you look over at your wife and she's not happy.
So you get a ticket, your wife is mad (and a little smug), and you look pretty stupid. Here's what you need to know about your speeding ticket, but we can't help you much with the wife thing!
What are your options, and what's it gonna cost?
Pay the ticket. If you simply pay the ticket, you are pleading guilty and you will have to pay the ticket amount and additional fees and fines. How much you pay and how many points you get on your record depend on how fast you were going and where you were speeding. Connecticut uses a pretty extensive fee schedule so you want to check it out and see what your specific situation is going to cost before you decide what to do. Regardless of which option you decide to go with, make sure you respond before the “Answer Date” found on your ticket.
Appear in court and plead guilty or “No Contest.” You'll still pay the ticket and fines with either of these, but in Connecticut you may be able to keep points off your driving record if you plead “No Contest.” The options available if you got to court are certainly a lot better than just paying the ticket, but a lot of your success depends on the particulars of the infraction and the judge hearing your case. Connecticut also offers an Operator Retraining Program that you may qualify for to reduce the impact of your ticket.
Plead “Not Guilty.” You can plead “Not Guilty” and try to avoid all those fines and points on your driving record, but you better have a pretty good argument to win in court. Be aware that if you choose this option and are found guilty, you may very well lose any options for a reduction in fines and keeping points off your driving record.
Hire an attorney. You can plead “Not Guilty” and bring an attorney with you to court, increasing your chances of getting out of the ticket altogether or at least keeping the costs and damage to your driving record to a minimum. In most cases, having an experienced attorney represent you in court will produce the best outcome, as opposed to some of the other options.
Points and insurance
Regardless of what option you choose for handling your speeding ticket, there is a chance you will be found guilty. You already know about the costs of the ticket, the court and other fees, but getting a guilty verdict could very well cost you even more over the long run and will definitely affect your driving record. Connecticut uses a point system for drivers and those points affect how much you pay for insurance and could impact your ability to keep your license. The penalty for simple speeding is only 1 point but there are still some good reasons to try and keep even that 1 point off your record.
If you accumulate enough points, your driver's license will be suspended. Different infractions result in different points and, just like the state's fee schedule, Connecticut uses an extensive points schedule for driving records. If you get 6 points on your driving record, you will receive a warning from the DMV. If you get 10 or more points, your license will be suspended for 30 days. Points remain on your driving record for 24 months after the assessment date and the accumulation of points could also lead to additional penalties such as mandatory completion of an Operator Retraining Program. The number of points a driver accumulates will increasingly affect your insurance premiums.
Operator Retraining Program
This program, sponsored by the DMV, plays a major role in how Connecticut handles issues relating to licensed drivers. It may be part of a plea bargain, a voluntary option to help your driving record, or a mandatory requirement under the following conditions:
- A driver who is 24 years of age or younger who has two violations involving either a moving violation or a suspension violation on their driving record
- A driver who is convicted of traveling faster than 75 mph in a highway work zone
- A driver of a commercial motor vehicle who is convicted of traveling faster than 65 mph in a highway work zone
Hiring an Attorney
After weighing all of your options, you may have come to the conclusion that you may need an attorney. If you're worried about cost, keep in mind that attorney fees for these types of infractions are usually reasonable compared to the overall costs of just trying to handle it yourself, and the opportunity to limit the damage to your driving record is much greater. If you're worried about how to find the right attorney, BernieSez can help. Just upload an image of your ticket, fill out a few details, and CT lawyers will contact you. The service is simple to use, and best of all it's free. Tap or click the button below to get started.