Recently Connecticut implemented an online ticket review program that allows you an opportunity to enter a not guilty plea to your traffic infraction and then apply to have a State’s Attorney review your case online. At first glance this seems like a great idea, it can save you a trip to Court and gives you an opportunity to give your side of the story. A lot of my clients are tempted to write in a big long explanation to the State’s Attorney without realizing that often what they are submitting is an admission of guilt and will not lead to the State’s Attorney dropping or nolling the charge. In fact, statistics show that since its inception the vast majority of cases submitted to the online review program have only resulted in offers of reduced fines and only a small fraction have resulted in offers to nolle or drop the case. Let’s drill down a little bit on how the program works and why I recommend that you should never use this new program.
How Does The Online Ticket Review Program Work?
The program is fairly simple and on its face makes perfect sense. The problem is that it is a program designed to help move the huge quantity of traffic ticket cases more efficiently for the State. When you plead not guilty to a traffic infraction or violation that does not require a Court appearance though the centralized infractions bureau you are automatically afforded an opportunity to participate in the online ticket review program. When you use the online program you can fill out an online dispute form and submit a written narrative explaining your side of the story and also upload any documents supporting your position. The State’s Attorney will review your submission along with the materials provided by the arresting police officer and then make an “offer” to resolve your case. In the vast majoriety of cases the offer be a reduction in the amount of the fine – not a reduction in the charge to a non-moving violation or a nolle or droppoing of the case.
Disadvantages of Using the Online Traffic Ticket Review Program
I highly advise against using the online traffic ticket review program for many reasons. The online review system really ties your hands when you later go to Court to argue your case and it had a very low probability of having the charge nolled or dismissed. As I mentioned above the system was set up to assit the State in moving the huge quantity of traffic ticket cases that fill the Courts by getting a significant proportion of the accused defendants to accept a reduction of their fines and plead guilty (or in the case of an online ticket plea nolo contendre or “no contest” which has the same effect as a guilty plea for your insurance carrier when it comes to for the renewal of your insurance policy).
Some of the reasons why I really dislike the online ticket review program are:
Everything you submit to the State online is an admission and can be used against you at the time of trial
What ever you sent in online is used against you at the time of trial. A lot of my clients spend a lot of time explaining for example why they could not have possibly been going 67 mph in a 55 mph zone and that they were only going 60 mph along with the flow of traffic when the police officer pulled them over. (This is only an example). This is an admission of speeding as the speed limit is 55. In order to be not guilty of speeding you have to be going 55 or under in a 55 mph zone. It is always better to go over the facts of your case with a Connecticut speeding ticket or traffic ticket defense lawyer before you submit anything in writing which can be later used against you at the time of trial.
Most of the time the State Attorney is only going to offer to reduce the amount of your fine with the online traffic ticket review program
The statistics show that the vast majority of online traffic ticket reviews result in only offers to lower the amount of the fine or penalty. This does not help you with your insurance or administrative penalties which the Department of Motor Vehicles may impose upon you as a result of paying a fine online. While the ticket says that no points will be imposed for a plea of no contest it does mention that a plea of no contest can result in “administrative sanctions” by the DMV. This means that all no contest pleas entered through the online ticket review program result in an entry of a conviction on your permanent Connecticut driving record. The effect of a conviction on your permanent Connecticut driving record is #1 that your insurance rates are going to go up over the next three years costing you a significant amount of money depending on your age, vehicle and past driving history a conviction for a moving violation can in some circumstances cost you hundreds of dollars in increased insurance premiums over the course of 3 years. Finally, although no points will be imposed the DMV will still imposed administrative sanctions against your license on account of any online pleas entered which can result in a suspension of your operation rights if you collect enough tickets. Always consult with a Connecticut traffic ticket attorney for a free consultation before entering any pleas.
Using the Online Traffic Ticket Review Program will make it very hard to get a better offer at the Courthouse
Usually if you submit your offer for the online review program the offer that is being made is being set by one of the more senior State’s Attorney’s in the G.A. in which your case is pending. Accordingly, if you refuse that offer and take your case to Court you will find that usually they won’t offer you a better deal. Simply put you don’t get two bites at the apple. Professionally, we like our chances of working out a deal with the State’s Attorney personally at the courthouse. We never use the online review system for our client’s matters. If you have a traffic ticket give us a call for a free consultation with a Connecticut traffic ticket defense attorney.
If you want the best possible likelihood of avoiding getting a conviction on your driving record which will result in increased insurance costs over the next few years you should consider to work with a Connecticut Traffic Ticket Attorney to fight your ticket. Our fees are very reasonable. Contact us for a free initial consultation to review the best approach to fight your traffic ticket. A top speeding ticket / cell phone lawyer can even resolve your case without you ever needing to come to Court. Contact us today at 203.357.5555 for your free initial consultation and check out what our super satisfied former clients have to say about us on review platforms like google and avvo.