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Do I Have To Go To Court For A Traffic Ticket?

If you were pulled over for speeding, running a stop sign or another traffic violation, the arresting officer will write you a ticket that will indicate whether you need to appear in court. If the ticket indicates that you don't need to appear in court, you would only need to go if you decided to contest your ticket. If you are not required to go to Court and you wish to contest your ticket, you must promptly send in your notice to the Court indicating that you are pleading not guilty. Contesting a ticket is not something that can be done online or by mail. If your ticket indicates that you are required to go to court, then you must go. Your court date could be months from your arrest, so it's important not to forget about your date.

In some courts, the first step in the process is the pretrial conference. This conference with the prosecutor is an opportunity to resolve the ticket without having to go before a judge. If you miss this conference, you will be found guilty and be responsible for the full amount of your traffic ticket. The same is true if you don't come to an agreement at the pretrial conference and then miss your court date.

Don't forget that if you just pay the ticket, you are pleading guilty to the traffic violation and the conviction will remain on your record. While this may not mean much for someone with an otherwise clean driving record, for someone who has already accumulated points on their license, paying the ticket could possibly trigger license suspension or revocation. Being convicted of a traffic charge can also affect your car insurance rates. If you have accumulated numerous motor vehicle convictions, even minor charges such as speeding, you may be subject to New Hampshire's Habitual Offender law.

If you need to go to court to deal with your traffic violation or want to decide whether to plead guilty or contest the charge, it's a good idea to consult with an experienced attorney first. Showing up for court without a defense strategy is not going to help you - nor is not showing up at all. While a traffic ticket may not seem like a big deal, the fees and penalties can add up to some unsavory consequences. Addressing your situation proactively can help you emerge from your ordeal with the least amount of damage to your license and your pocketbook.

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Green & Utter, P.A.
764 Chestnut Street
Manchester, NH 03104

Phone: 603-413-4983
Fax: 603-669-9330
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