Connecticut Traffic Court Records
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What Are Connecticut Traffic Court Records?
Connecticut traffic court records refer to records and documentation regarding the proceedings of a traffic court within the state of Connecticut. These include case files, evidence notes and other pertinent records involving the hearing of moving and non-moving violations under the state’s motor vehicle code.
Are Connecticut Traffic Court Records Public Records?
Under the public access to information law, most records of proceedings from traffic court in Connecticut are classified as public records, available to be reviewed by members of the general public.
Getting a Traffic Ticket in Connecticut.
When an individual is cited for a Connecticut traffic violation and infraction, they are issued a Uniform Complaint ticket. This is a long-form document that serves as a sworn statement attesting to the violation, as observed by the officer. The ticket indicates that the undersigned officer is making a complaint about the defendant. It will note the date and time the officer observed the offense and the location where the incident occurred. It will name the defendant and list other relevant bio-data including date of birth, sex, race, and address. The ticket will also include information about the defendant’s license and details about the motor vehicle involved in the violation.
If it is a speeding violation, the actual speed of the defendant and the posted speed limit will be noted. The ticket will contain an “Answer Date”, which is the date by which the ticket should have been responded to, either by paying fine or appearing in court. The ticket will list the infractions or violations being cited and the statute/ordinance code which was violated and indicate the fine amount due to be paid. The officer will sign at the bottom of the ticket and include his badge/ID number and agency. The back of the ticket contains details about your options for responding to the ticket.
Traffic offenses in Connecticut are considered either infractions or violations. An infraction is an offense for which the only penalty is a fine and is not considered a crime. You may pay your infraction or plead Not Guilty by mail. A violation is an offense for which the only sentence authorized is a fine but can include other penalties including jail time. Some violations require a court appearance; some can be paid by mail.
Traffic fines and court fees in Connecticut vary by violation but are uniform across the state. Every year Judges of the superior court set a Violation and Information Schedule, which provides the fine amounts for the different violations. You can view the schedule online or at your local library, police station, DMV office or the Superior court. The fine amount will be listed on the ticket under “Amount Due”.
Connecticut utilizes a driver points system to monitor drivers in the state. A conviction for a traffic offense will be reported to the Connecticut Commissioner of Motor Vehicles and points will be added on your record. If you accumulate 10 points on your record, your license will be suspended for 30 days and you will need to pay a fee to have it reinstated.
Traffic violations are generally classified as either moving or non-moving violations. Moving violations are committed by moving vehicles, while Non-moving violations mostly relate to faulty vehicle equipment or offenses when the vehicle is stationary such as parking violations. They can be committed by moving vehicles such as failure to wear a seatbelt, but these kinds of violations will not be reported to the Connecticut DMV.
What to Do When You Get a Traffic Ticket in Connecticut?
If you receive a Uniform Complaint ticket for a traffic offense in Connecticut, you must respond to the ticket by the “Answer Date” indicated on the ticket. Failure to do so will result in added penalties. You can elect to either pay the traffic ticket or you send the court a plea of Not Guilty.
Electing to pay the fine will be considered a “No Contest” plea. This is basically the same as a guilty plea, but it preserves your statutory rights if any civil or criminal action is brought against you based on the violation. To do this, you will need to check option 1 on the reverse of the ticket, sign the ticket and send it to the Connecticut Centralized Infractions Board (CIB) with the total fine amount due. You can also pay your ticket on the CIB website.
Electing to plead “Not Guilty” is an exercise of your right to contest the ticket and request a trial. To do this, you will need to check option 2 on the reverse of the ticket, sign the ticket and send it to the Connecticut CIB. You will receive a notice of transfer, indicating your case has been transferred to court, and subsequently a court appearance date. When your “Not Guilty” plea is received, CIB will transfer your case to the Superior court for the location where the ticket was issued. The local court will send you a notice of your hearing with the date and time as well as the name and location of the court.
You may be eligible for an Online Ticket Review Program which will enable you to plead not guilty and have a prosecutor review your case. To participate in this program you go on the CIB website and enter your ticket information; you will receive instructions on how to submit a narrative and any supporting documents for the prosecutor (State Attorney) to review and you will be notified when a decision is reached. The prosecutor can choose to:
- Dispose of your ticket and release you from all penalties.
- Transfer your case to court, where it will be scheduled for trial.
- Make you an offer, which can include reduced charges and fines.
To accept the offer you will receive an email you can respond to or accept it on the CIB website. A plea of No contest will be entered and you need not appear in court. If you reject the offer, your ticket will be transferred to court and you will receive a notice informing you of your court date by mail.
Failure to either pay the amount due or send in the Not Guilty plea before the answer date will result in your case being transferred to court and this renders you subject to additional fines, a license suspension (DMV will be notified) and possible arrest. If your license is suspended, you will need to pay a substantial fee to have it reinstated.
How Do I Find Connecticut Traffic Court Records?
In Connecticut, to obtain copies of traffic court records you can email a request to the Superior court records center or call the centralized services unit. Once the records have been retrieved, files may be made available to the requestor:
- By Email (at no charge)
- For pickup at any court location (copy and certification charges may apply)
- For pickup at the centralized services unit (copy and certification charges may apply)
Additionally, publicly available records are accessible from some third-party websites.* These websites offer the benefit of not being limited by geographical record availability and can often serve as a starting point when researching a specific or multiple records. To find a record using the search engines on these sites, interested parties must provide:
- The name of someone involved providing it is a not a juvenile
- The assumed location of the record in question such as a city, county, or state name
*Third-party sites are not government-sponsored websites, and record availability may differ from official channels.
What information is required to obtain Connecticut Traffic Court Records?
To obtain copies of traffic court records, you will need to provide the information about the record including the name of the record and the docket number. The requestor will need to provide valid proof of identification before receiving the records.
Are all Traffic Violations handled the same way, in Connecticut?
In Connecticut, traffic violations are usually processed in a similar manner, regardless of the classification of the offense. Fines and penalties for violations will be different and based on existing laws and statutes governing the violation. The processes involved in responding to a citation and the ensuing procedures will be similar.
Can Connecticut Traffic Records be sealed or expunged?
In Connecticut, your records may be expunged or erased if:
- You were charged with a crime, but found Not Guilty
- Your case was dismissed
- The charges against you were “nolled” (dropped) at least 13 months ago
- Your case was put on hold (continued) at least 13 months ago and there has been no prosecution or other deposition of the matter.
If your record qualifies, it should happen automatically. If not, you can petition the court where your case was handled. If you are eligible for this, you can apply for what is called an expungement pardon. If you qualify for this, your entire criminal history will be erased. They are available for misdemeanor convictions after 3 years and felony convictions after 5 years.
How does one end up in a Connecticut Traffic court?
You end up in Connecticut traffic court if you have been cited for a traffic violation by a law enforcement officer and you wish to plead not guilty and contest the charge. You can also end up in court if you are cited for an offense that requires you to make a court appearance to resolve.
Which Courts in Connecticut have jurisdiction to hear traffic violation matters?
Traffic violations and infractions, in Connecticut, are heard in the criminal division of the local Superior court of the geographical area, where the ticket was issued.