Frequently Asked Questions About Connecticut Traffic Tickets
Click on the category below to find out answers to our frequently asked questions.
Types of Tickets
Fines & Costs
License Points & the DMV
Mr. Speeding Ticket Info
It’s just a speeding ticket…do I really need a lawyer?
Well, that depends. Do you need to drive to work or family obligations? Can you afford jacked up insurance rates for up to 7 years? Will losing your license for 30-60 days or needing to do driver retraining impact your life?
If you are wealthy these things may not matter to you. But, most people need their license to just get through their daily obligations. A speeding ticket on your driving history starts the march to point accumulation. Also, it can have a serious long term impact on your wallet. You don’t need a lawyer to handle your case, but then again, you don’t need a dentist to pull a tooth. Even though these aren’t necessities, most people leave important things to professionals.
I read online I should just continue my case as much as possible…
That might work in some states, but it certainly doesn’t in Connecticut. In fact, most of the websites that offer speeding ticket advice aren’t put out by lawyers. Lawyers have a legal and ethical requirement to give proper advice.
Instead, they are put online by former members of law enforcement. These people want to make a dollar selling an e-book. In Connecticut, the officer isn’t required to appear at your court date unless you make it all the way to a trial.
In the meantime, you will be “negotiating” with a state’s attorney. The prosecutor doesn’t really even “negotiate” with you. Instead, they will make you an offer to resolve the case, and they can’t legally tell you if that is in or against your interests. Only a lawyer you hire can tell you whether the resolution works for your specific needs.
I read online I could pay a little more than my fine but never cash the refund check and it would be to my benefit…
Read question 2 again. There are many theories about what you can do to make your ticket have the least impact on your driver’s license, auto insurance, and points record. Only a lawyer who knows the law in Connecticut, has dealt with the prosecutors, and can examine YOUR driving history can give you proper advice about how a ticket will impact you. Choosing not to cash a check only serves to keep your money out of your pocket.
The state doesn’t care if you don’t cash the overage refund, because a check is only good for 6 months, and they would have applied the full payment to your ticket anyway. If you want to spend your time reading crazy ideas on the internet that is your choice, but a single phone call to us can get you accurate answers today, instead of “maybes” and “possibilities.”
I got a cell phone ticket but I just have to show them my earpiece or Bluetooth right…
Well, that was the law for the first few months after they enacted the cell phone law, but that defense has been removed by a subsequent public act. Now if you get a cell phone ticket you are facing the fine as charged, and many police departments like to give out “cell phone” tickets because the local municipality gets a check from the state every 3 months for 25% of the fines they collect for cell phone tickets.
This means that a cell phone ticket makes money for the town – even a DUI doesn’t do that. This is why so many departments set up cell phone traffic stops now, and there are many fewer DUI arrests than there were even a few years ago. It’s all about the money.
In fact, a public act passed in 2013 but not enforced by the DMV until 2018 could impact you a lot. It requires mandatory points on your driving history for any cellphone violation – regardless if you pay the fine or plead guilty. So the only way to keep those points off your record is to fight it with Mr. Speeding Ticket.
Types of Tickets
I got a ticket for passing a school bus. What happens next?
Passing a school bus is a heavy ticket. Not only are the fines high, but so are the possible points (which can lead to driver retraining) and unlike every other ticket – passing a school bus is often thought of as a deliberate act. You see, anyone could wind up speeding because they were not paying attention, but prosecutors get really upset when they think you deliberately passed a school bus. Because they think you chose to put little kids at risk of getting run over. Now, passing a school bus isn’t as cut and dry as it looks, and a lot of time, you don’t even know that the bus has put up their stop sign until you are halfway past it, so we need to examine the videos if they exist to see if they can even prosecute you for the charge. If it is only the bus driver’s word – they may not be able to get the driver into court for a trial. There are ways to defend these cases, but they are difficult. It’s better to fight and make the state go through the work than to just have such a conviction on your driving history. This type of violation will definitely make your insurance rates jump.
I got a ticket for having an overweight truck. What happens next?
Connecticut weigh stations are open and looking for out-of-state truckers to hit with heavy fines. They have these stations open because Connecticut is in the midst of a shortfall in tax revenue and the state needs money – fast. By hitting truckers, they can collect mega fines and most of the time the fines get paid because it is not worth your time to come back to fight these cases. That’s where we come in. We are here in Connecticut and can force them to prove that they have validated scales, and that they actually measured the weight properly. Sometimes we find that the scales are way out of calibration or that they assessed your vehicle incorrectly. But it’s only by fighting that we get that chance. As your representative in court, we can stand in for you and fight the huge fines and make sure you don’t pay more than you should have. We have saved our trucking clients tens of thousands of dollars in unnecessary or illegal fines. Let us help you today.
I got a ticket for traveling too fast or speeding. What happens next?
We go to court and fight for you. We check to see how they measured your speed and determined it for the ticket. If it was radar or laser, we may ask for the records to make sure they are up to date. If they use another method of judging your speed, we can take apart all the factors that may have caused them to misjudge the speed you were traveling. We do this so we can negotiate you the best possible resolution.
Fines & Costs
What is a charitable contribution?
Many courts allow people to make charitable contributions in order to get their ticket dropped. But you have to know how to get these and what prosecutors and courthouses will do it. The state actually has a victim charity fund that people can make donations to and if this is an option for you and right for your type of ticket, we will get it for you. Sometimes prosecutors use other charities outside the official state one, and we will know that based on the prosecutor and the courthouse too. If a charitable donation is an option, we go for it. The good thing is that in many of these cases, you can get a double bang for your buck because you can also use this as a deduction on your tax return (but be sure to talk to your tax professional about this!)
How much is the charitable contribution?
That all depends on a ton of factors. The courthouse, the prosecutor. The charge, your driving history, the day of the week. Well maybe not the day of the week, but there are so many factors in this that it is impossible to predict. What we can predict is this – we ask for the lowest we can possibly negotiate at the time. If we think we can do better – we might even continue your case and come back another day. Our whole goal is to minimize cost, inconvenience and time spent waiting at a courthouse when you can be doing other things.
How can I pay the charitable or fine?
You can go to the courthouse any time after we have gotten that as an offer and pay at the clerk’s office. The clerk’s offices are open from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily. Or, if it is easier, you can pay us to send someone to the courthouse for you. For this, we charge a single fee of $49, plus the costs of the contribution, which covers the courier who goes and makes your payment and brings the receipt to us for us to mail or email to you. You can even use your credit card on file for this to make it even easier.
Will I still need to pay the fine on the ticket if there’s a charitable contribution?
No! That’s one of the benefits to hiring us. When we negotiate, we do it as an alternative to paying the fine on the ticket. This way you don’t pay more than the ticket cost and you can avoid it if possible.
What forms of payment do you accept?
Cash or credit card is what we accept, but nearly 100% of people who hire us do credit cards. We accept Visa, MasterCard, Discover and American Express. It’s convenient and you don’t have to come by the office to make your payment.
When do I pay you – before you go to court or after?
You pay us when you hire us to handle the ticket. This way we can be sure to have a lawyer available on your court date for your ticket.
If the fine is less than your services, why shouldn’t I just pay the fine?
You can pay the fine, but that doesn’t avoid the conviction, and the conviction is what matters to the insurance company. One of the problems in this part of the state is that there are tons of really wealthy people who drive like jerks all the time and they act like the laws don’t apply to them. Because they act like this, the prosecutors in these Stamford and Norwalk courthouses take a hard line approach to tickets, and it takes longer to get the right result. We know, however, after years of doing this, which prosecutors are receptive to which arguments, and how to take advantage of scheduling to get you the best possible deal out there.
Am I responsible for the paying the charitable contribution or is it included in your fee?
By law, Connecticut speeding ticket attorneys cannot pay for court costs or fees in a motor vehicle case. Your fee that is paid is for our legal representation only. Of course, when we negotiate we always work to get you the lowest out of pocket court costs and try to make it so that you pay none if possible. That’s our promise to you.
If my ticket does not get nolled, will I get my money back?
We can’t do that. Lawyers can’t guarantee a result and make your fee contingent on that. When you hire us, you pay us to fight the battle for you, no matter what the result. But in our experience, our clients are more than happy to pay our low fees to get the results that they wanted, without having to do any work themselves.
License Points & the DMV
If I pay a fine will points go on my license?
No, if you just pay the ticket, they don’t assess points, but they do put the conviction on your driving history. That’s right – pleading no contest to the ticket and just paying it makes it a conviction, and that means that even without points, that conviction is going to be on your driving history for years to come. And that is what the insurance companies look at when they decide to put you in a risk pool. They don’t care about points at all! The DMV is the only entity that cares about points. The insurance companies care about convictions, and that’s what you need to avoid!
How many points can go on my license?
That all depends on the type of ticket you get. For some, you can get one point, and it goes all the way up to five points for things like passing a school bus. Here is a crazy one – you only get three points for driving while impaired by alcohol, but you can get four points for passing a school bus.
The back of the ticket says no points will go on my license…so why should I hire you instead of paying the fine?
Because the thing that impacts you the most – your car insurance rate – is determined by the convictions on your driving history. Insurance companies don’t care about points. There are so many states and so many points systems that they just figure it is easier to ignore the points systems and care about what you have recorded on your driving history so they can raise your rates. What happens if they raise your rates and you don’t get any more tickets? The insurance company makes more money! And remember, these convictions don’t just drop off your history overnight. You could have multiple renewal periods with increased rates based on a single conviction and a single ticket. Plus, lots of time our costs are less than the ticket, so you pay less and risk less. Also, if Public Act 13-271 controls, a point is mandatory with any cellphone violation, so the only way to avoid that is with us.
What are points and why do they matter?
Points are the simple way that the DMV tracks a person’s motor vehicle violations. They really matter to the DMV, and not so much to insurance companies. The DMV uses points to make sure you don’t get too many moving violations in a short period of time. If you reach 10 points in 24 months, they will make you take a day long driver retraining course that you have to pay for. That alone is a good reason to fight your ticket. As you accumulate points you get notices from the DMV and if you get too many, they can suspend your license for 30 days or more. Then if you get caught driving you can be charged with operating under suspension. It can become a vicious circle and leave you paying thousands more in car insurance and also forking over hundreds in fines, fees, restoration costs etc. Avoid points whenever and wherever possible.
The Court Process
What do I do now that I have my ticket in hand?
OK, so the first thing to find out is if you automatically have a court date (for example, if you got charged with no license, no registration or no insurance) or if you have to plead to your ticket. If you have a court date – call us so we can verify your file is on the docket and arrange to have a lawyer appear with you.
If you have to decide between paying the fine and pleading Not Guilty, give us a call so we can arrange to get the ticket from you (by photo upload, email, fax, or drop off) and we can plead Not Guilty on your behalf. We even pay for the postage! Then we will take it from there and arrange to appear in court for you.
What do I need to do to retain your firm?
Well the first thing you need to do is say Yes. Once you agree to representation, we immediately open a file for you and make sure we have all your contact information. Then we quote you the fee for our services. You can pay us via credit card right over the phone, and that’s it. We become your lawyer of record and take care of everything else.
Do I send in the ticket to CIB too?
No. We can do that for you if you hire us as soon as you get the ticket. If you do that before you plead not guilty we even pay the postage on your ticket! But if you already have sent in your ticket, we can jump in at any time.
Do I need to appear in court?
Most of the time – nope! We go to court for you. One of the benefits of having an attorney working on your case is that we can go to court for you. It means no missed work, no need for finding childcare, no wasted vacation days! I can’t think of anything worse than burning a vacation day to stand in line for hours at the courthouse! In a small number of cases, the judge might require that you do appear to resolve your case. If that happens we will let you know about it well in advance and coordinate your schedule for it. We also make sure we are there early on that day so we can get you in and done as quickly as possible. But 99% of the time, we go to court for you and you don’t ever need to step foot in a courthouse for your ticket.
What are the possible resolutions of my case?
We have seen all types of resolutions. The goal would be a nolle. A nolle means that the state isn’t bothering to prosecute you. They could, but we convinced them not to even bother. We have seen people get nolles for charitable contributions, and nolles because they did community service. Sometimes we negotiate different charges that won’t go on your driving history, or ones that carry fewer points if you are in danger of having too many points and requiring driver retraining. Of course, we can also go to trial if we have a strong case and win those too. Most of the time, however, we are able to negotiate the case away with the prosecutor. See, that is one of the benefits of an attorney. A prosecutor will negotiate with us, where if it’s just you representing yourself, they don’t “negotiate” they just make you a one sided offer to settle. There is no back and forth when you represent yourself.
What is a nolle?
Lawyers love latin. Nolle is a short version of nolle prosequi. It literally means “unwilling to pursue” and it means that the state is dropping the charges against you. There are two ways that a case against you can be finished. A nolle is what a prosecutor can do to end a case. A judge can enter a judgment. Either way, both end a case against you. In Connecticut, when a prosecutor enters a nolle your case will actually turn into a judgment of dismissal after 13 months. So you get the best of both worlds, really, a nolle now so it’s over, and then after 13 months passes you get the dismissal by the court.
Why can’t you guarantee my ticket will be nolled?
If we could see the future and guarantee anything, we wouldn’t be spending our time handling speeding tickets, we would be hanging out at the casino making as much money as we can before they throw us out. The truth is that no lawyer is going to guarantee anything because it’s just not right. What we can do is tell you what we have done in situations just like yours at the same courthouse, and promise to fight until we get the best possible deal for you. Sound fair?
How long before my ticket is resolved?
That varies by courthouse. It can take weeks before they have assigned the court date and courthouse to your ticket. Don’t worry about that, though, because you have Mr. Speeding Ticket working on your file the minute you hire us.
The officer says he already gave me a break..should I still fight it?
Yes, you should. Plain and simple. The truth is that even giving you a break on the fine doesn’t solve the bigger problem – the conviction on your driving history. This alone is reason enough to fight the ticket. And if you were in a good cooperative mood when they gave you the break, it’s probably noted on your ticket that you were cooperative. You see, the police officer has to note on the ticket your attitude, and a positive attitude that got you a break on the roadside could also get you a bigger break at the courthouse. There is no reason not to take advantage of this! Plus, remember the officer won’t remember you – they have probably given out dozens or hundreds of tickets since then, so they won’t remember if they gave you specifically a break or not, so it’s not like they can tell the prosecutor that you already got a break on the fine. Take every break you can get!
What is the trial process like?
The biggest thing about the Connecticut court process that is different from most states is that you won’t see the police officer from the ticket unless you actually have a trial. 99% of the time, we can go to court for you, and resolve the case. If you elect a trial on your case, then you will be in a courtroom face-to-face with this officer. At the trial, the state will call the officer as a witness and you will watch as we cross examine them about the stop and conditions and the determinations they made. Then you get a chance to take the stand and we can explain your side of the store. Remember, police are trained to only write down the bad stuff, and most of the time, will only testify as to exactly what is in their report. They won’t have an independent memory about the case like you will.
Mr. Speeding Ticket
Why your firm…Why not just hire any lawyer?
Nowadays, many lawyers choose to concentrate their practices on certain areas of the law. Some handle divorce, some bankruptcy, and some focus on criminal defense. Motor Vehicle infractions are a subset of criminal defense, but the long term implications of points, driver retraining and the like might not be something that a normal criminal defense attorney is aware of and can help you with.
That is why our firm spends so much time handling Motor Vehicle infractions every day. Because we do so many, we can spot a good deal from a bad deal, and we also know answers to questions because we have dealt with them before.
How much does Mr. Speeding Ticket cost?
Faced with a fine of $299 for speeding from 81 to 85 MPH or $259 for speeding from 75 to 81, it can seem like whatever you do this process is going to cost you money. The truth is that hiring a professional WILL cost you money, but it can save you in the long term. The fees we charge for a speeding ticket save you the uncertainty of what might happen and also the time you lose from work or your daily activities on your court date.
Some clients hire us simply because attorneys get to “jump the line” and talk to the prosecutors first and get their cases called first in the courtroom. That alone can shave 2-3 hours off your wait time if you have to go to court, but we try everything to avoid that. If we can go without you, all the better!
What will happen if I hire you?
There are a number of steps we take to defend you. First, we will file an appearance with the court so that they know we are fighting for you, and you aren’t going through this alone. Sometimes, that is enough for the prosecutor to choose not to prosecute you. In about 10% of our cases we get letters that they are dropping charges even before the court date. Next up we will prep your file and get our team of attorneys ready to go to court for you. We investigate your motor vehicle history to make sure any disposition doesn’t hurt your license and pull your driving history records if necessary. All this happens behind the scenes, so you don’t have to lift a finger or worry about a thing!
Do you send in the ticket for me?
Yes, we do. You can upload your ticket using your phone’s camera to us and we will plead Not Guilty for you and also send in our paperwork at the same time. This allows us to become the attorney of record for you right away and start working on your case immediately. This also means they will advise us when the ticket is scheduled and you don’t have to worry about missing it in the mail.
Does your firm have experience in motor vehicle tickets?
There is a reason they call us Mr. Speeding Ticket! Seriously though, it’s probable that no other lawyers have had as many motor vehicle cases as we have in the last 20 years. MV cases is almost all we do. Hundreds per year, thousands over 20 years. Mr. Speeding Ticket is driven in the defense of drivers!
What is your success rate?
See, this is a very common question and one which is tough to answer. Here is why. If you have never had a ticket before this one, what is a good result for you will be much, much different than what is a good result for the guy who has five prior speeding tickets in the last 12 months. It’s just…different. We aim to get the best result for you. Not the same result for everyone. You are unique. Your lawyer should treat you like that. You don’t want the result that we can get for someone else, you want the best for you. And that is what we get you.
Why Mr. Speeding Ticket?
We picked this name because it is memorable. Because really, will you remember the name Jay Ruane in a year or two or if you saw the advertisement that brought you here? No, there is nothing memorable about Ruane. How do you even pronounce it? So we picked Mr. Speeding Ticket because that is what you need to remember. That’s what we do.