Traffic Violations and Infractions in Connecticut
Crimes are classified as either misdemeanors or felonies.
In Connecticut, all legal offenses that are traffic-related are referred to as traffic violations or traffic infractions. The Superior Court hears cases regarding traffic offenses. Infractions are typically less severe offenses than violations. Both offenses can lead to a trial, but a violation can include felonies, often leading to jail time. Both types of traffic offenses are serious matters, but the average person is more likely to be charged with a misdemeanor than with a felony. It is important to seek legal advice if you are ever charged with a traffic violation or infraction. The information below will help you to understand what is at stake.
Connecticut traffic infractions are not crimes and are typically the least consequential kind of traffic violation. The penalties for most traffic infractions are payment of fines and the addition of points to the individual’s driving record. However, cumulative traffic offenses can lead to serious consequences. One infraction citation will result in one point on the driving record. Anyone with six to nine points on their driving record will receive a warning from the DMV and will be required to complete a driving class. Ten or more points will result in the suspension of a license for 30 days. After that, receiving another ten points within five years of the previous suspension will result in a suspension of up to two years.
Traffic infractions are given in the form of a ticket due to a driver breaking one or more traffic rules not severe enough to be categorized as a crime. Fees for all traffic infractions are set by statutes, unlike certain traffic misdemeanors and felonies. Fines for traffic infractions are imposed by judges of the Superior Court, where cases related to moving and non-moving traffic violations are heard. Only one point will be added to a driving record if an individual receives a traffic infraction and chooses to pay the amount listed on the Centralized Infractions Bureau ticket. Typically, parties will be required to pay $100 to $300 depending on the severity of the infraction and how many infractions the driver has accumulated over time. If the offender receives multiple infraction tickets, the fees will be higher than a first-time traffic infraction charge. Speeding, failure to stop, and use of electronic devices while operating a vehicle are examples of traffic infractions.
Traffic misdemeanor charges in Connecticut are often given in the form of a ticket or citation. Although misdemeanors are less severe than felonies, penalties for misdemeanor traffic violations may result in fines, prison sentences, or both. If the misdemeanor is grievous, the driver may be taken into custody for criminal traffic violations and made to post bail before release. A court date will be set and offenders have the right to an attorney and a jury trial. Failure to make a court appearance on the date listed on the citation given for a traffic misdemeanor often results in the court issuing an arrest warrant for the individual. Driving under the influence, driving with a suspended or revoked license, and reckless driving are examples of common misdemeanor traffic offenses in Connecticut.
Connecticut has Persistent Offender Laws, also known as the “three strikes” law. The “three strikes” law mandates more extensive punishments for individuals who have been convicted of the same or similar crime three times. The law allows state attorneys to prosecute offenders for felonies if they have been convicted of three or more similar misdemeanors.
Felony traffic violations
The most severe traffic offenses in Connecticut are categorized as felony traffic violations. Felony traffic violations are criminal offenses that cause or threaten property destruction or injury to an individual. Punishment for traffic felonies in Connecticut can consist of fines, probation, and jail time. If an individual is facing prison time, sentences vary depending on the felony class:
- Capital Felony: execution or life without the possibility of release
- Class A felony: 10–25 years or 25–60 years in prison
- Class B Felony: 1–20 years in prison
- Class C Felony: 1–10 years in prison
- Class D Felony: 1–5 years in prison
There are unclassified felonies that also may result in imprisonment but are not included in the state penal code. Aggravated or multiple DUI charges, vehicular homicide or manslaughter, and leaving the scene of an accident are examples of felony traffic violations.
The overview provided here is to assist you in understanding the hierarchy of traffic offenses in Connecticut. This can lead you to get help when you need it. If you’re unsure of where you stand in regards to a traffic violation or infraction, an experienced defense attorney can make all the difference. Contact us immediately if you have been charged with a serious traffic violation. To schedule a consultation, click here.