How and When to Respond to a Traffic Ticket
1. How can I respond to a ticket?
Plead No Contest and Pay:
- If you pay your ticket, it will be considered a plea of Nolo Contendere (no contest), which means that you do not admit or deny the charges.
- Nolo Contendere has a similar legal effect as pleading guilty.
- Your ticket will be reported to the Connecticut Commissioner of Motor Vehicles. If you are an out-of-state driver, your home state will be notified of the case disposition by the Commissioner of Motor Vehicles.
Plead Not Guilty:
- If you plead Not Guilty, your case will be transferred to court. You will be sent a Notice of Transfer from the Centralized Infractions Bureau in the mail. It may be several months before your case is scheduled.
2. How long do I have to respond to my ticket?
You must respond by the Answer Date on your ticket – the Answer Date is assigned by the police officer who issued the ticket.
3. What will happen if I don’t respond by the deadline?
- If you do not pay in full or plead Not Guilty by the Answer Date, your case will be transferred to court.
- If your ticket is for a motor vehicle matter, we will notify the Department of Motor Vehicles that you have failed to pay or plead Not Guilty.
- The DMV will suspend your driver’s license.
- You will be required to pay a reopening fee of $60.00 to the Clerk of the Court where the ticket was issued, in addition to the original amount due. You may also be required to pay a $175.00 fee to the Department of Motor Vehicles to have your driver’s license reinstated.
- If your ticket is for a non-motor vehicle infraction and you fail to pay in full or plead Not Guilty, your case will be transferred to court, an arrest warrant will be issued, and a bond for your release may be set by the court. This will add the charge of “Failure to Pay or Plead” to your original charge.
Paying Your Traffic Ticket
4. What happens if I pay my ticket?
- If you pay your ticket, it will be considered a plea of Nolo Contendere (no contest), which means that you do not admit or deny the charges, and has a similar legal effect as pleading guilty.
- The ticket will be reported to the Connecticut Commissioner of Motor Vehicles. If you are an out-of-state driver, your home state will be notified of the case disposition by the Commissioner of Motor Vehicles.
5. How do I pay for my complaint ticket?
There are two ways to pay your ticket:
- Online: You may pay online with a credit card, OR
- By mail: You may mail the total amount due by check or money order to CIB at P.O. Box 5044, Hartford, CT 06102-5044.
- When remitting payment, be sure to include your ticket or the Failure to Respond Notice.
- Use the self-addressed envelope provided with your traffic ticket. If you did not receive your envelope, or lost it, mail your payment in full to the Centralized Infractions Bureau, P.O. Box 5044, Hartford, CT 06102-5044.
- Make checks and money orders payable to “Clerk of Superior Court”, and write the ticket number on the check or money order.
- Never mail cash.
- No payment plans are available. Full payment is required on or before the Answer Date.
- You cannot pay the fine for one charge and plead Not Guilty to other charges.
6. How are fine amounts determined?
- The judges of the Superior Court set a schedule of fines for all motor vehicle infractions and violations each year.
- The schedules are printed in a pocket-size booklet, which is updated every October 1st and is available in a PDF format. Infractions Booklet
Pleading Not Guilty7. What happens when I plead not guilty?
- When your Not Guilty plea is received, the Centralized Infractions Bureau will transfer your case to a Superior Court location for the geographical area where your ticket was issued.
- You may have to go to court.
- If your ticket was issued in certain locations of the state where there are Regional Motor Vehicle courts, you may be able to provide a written response to a prosecutor who may or may not nolle your case. If your case is nolled, the charges are dropped. If it is not nolled you will have to appear at the court.
- The local court will send you a notice giving you a court hearing date.
- Questions about court procedure should be directed to the court clerk.
- The court hearing location is based on the town where the ticket was issued.
- The court address and courtroom number will be included on your hearing notice.
8. How do I plead Not Guilty?
There are three ways to plead Not Guilty:
- Online: You may plead Not Guilty through our website
- Mail in the ticket: Follow the instructions on the back of the ticket to enter a Not Guilty plea by mail. Be sure to sign the ticket. Use the envelope provided to mail in your plea.
- By telephone: You may plead Not Guilty by telephone if you are the defendant and the police officer’s copy of the ticket (call or texted the “court original”) has been received and entered into the computer system at the Centralized Infractions Bureau. Call or Text 860-263-2750, Monday-Friday, between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m.
Going to Court
9. Will I have to go to court?
Unless you pay the full amount due, you will have to go to court.
10. What should I do when I get to court?
- Find out what courtroom your case is in. Check the lists of scheduled cases call or texted “posting dockets.” Cases are listed alphabeticall or texty with last names first. Cases are grouped by type of case. The lists are usually on a bulletin board or wall in the front lobby of the courthouse.
- Talk to the state’s attorney (prosecutor) about your case.
- When your case is call or texted, stand and go to the front of the courtroom.
- If you do not understand something the judge or the state’s attorney says, or if you have a question, ask the judge.
11. What happens if I go to court and am found guilty?
- If you go to court and you are found guilty, the total amount you will have to pay will be more than the fine amount set by the judge or magistrate. For example, if you go to court on a charge of failing to obey a stop sign, and the judge finds you guilty, the total amount due will be the fine plus other court costs and fees set by state statute.
- Be sure to pay the fine at the clerk’s office or cashier’s office on or before the due date. Personal checks are only accepted when the name and current address is pre-printed on the check and the check writer has a valid picture ID. A check cannot be for more than $800.00. Checks should be payable to the “Clerk of Superior Court.”
Effect on driver’s license and insurance
12. Will my ticket be reported to the Connecticut Department of Motor Vehicles?
- Yes, it is reported to the DMV once the ticket is disposed.
- If you live out-of-state, Connecticut DMV may report ticket information to your state’s DMV. Contact your state DMV to get more information.
- For more information about the Connecticut DMV, call or text Driver Services at 860-263-5720 for general information, or visit the DMV website.
13. Will I get “points” on my driver’s license?
- If you make your payment in full and your case disposes at the Centralized Infractions Bureau, no points will be assessed by the Department of Motor Vehicles against your driver’s license. However, the ticket will appear on your driving history.
- Points are only given if there is a conviction (a finding of guilty) or a bond forfeiture, after a court hearing.
- Points are assessed by the Connecticut DMV. For more information about the Connecticut DMV, call or text Driver Services at 860-263-5720 for general information, or visit the DMV website.
14. Will my insurance company find out about my ticket and raise my insurance premium/rates?
- Insurance companies usually check driver’s histories before issuing a new policy. Your driver’s history will show if you have paid a fine for a motor vehicle infraction or violation, or if a court has found you guilty of an infraction or violation.
- Decisions about insurance rates and premiums are up to the insurance company.
15. Will my license be suspended? How do I get my license reinstated?
- The courts do not suspend or reinstate driver’s licenses. That is done by the Connecticut Department of Motor Vehicles. Contact the DMV at 860-263-5720 for more information about license suspensions or reinstatement.
Or visit the DMV website.
- Convictions on certain charges automaticall or texty result in license suspension. See below for a list of the statutes and charges that will automaticall or texty result in license suspension. Remember, paying the amount due is treated like a conviction.
- The amount of time your license and/or registration will be suspended is determined by your current driving record. If you have more questions, please call or text Driver Services at 860-263-5720.
16. Will conviction on a ticket affect my Commercial Driver’s License?
Maybe. Call or Text 860-263-5720 (DMV-Drivers’ Services) for more information about disqualification for commercial drivers’ licenses.
17. What if I live out of state?
- Your case will be treated the same as if you lived in Connecticut. You will be mailed a notice about the court hearing date. The location of your court hearing will be based on the town where the ticket was issued.
- If you fail to respond to the ticket, your home state will suspend your driver’s license.
18. I lost my ticket. What should I do?
Call or Text the Centralized Infractions Bureau (CIB) at 860-263-2750 Monday-Friday, between 9:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. or e-mail at: Centralized.InfractionsBureau@jud.ct.gov. You need to provide your name and date of birth.