New Hampshire Court Records
How to Fight a Traffic Ticket in New Hampshire
When a road user violates a traffic law in New Hampshire, a law enforcement officer issues the offender a traffic ticket. Traffic tickets are official notices indicating the traffic violation committed and all associated penalties. A motorist may receive a traffic ticket for a moving violation like speeding or for a non-moving violation such as parking. Typically, the traffic ticket will contain the most crucial information required to resolve it, such as the fines, how and where to pay it, the possibility of fighting the ticket, and if the driver needs to go to court. The Circuit Courts District Divisions of the New Hampshire Judiciary handle traffic offenses.
In New Hampshire, a driver may pay the ticket or contest it. Whatever the case, the individual must respond to the ticket within 30 days. Generally, traffic tickets are usually issued for minor violations. However, if not resolved accordingly, these offenses may have detrimental effects on an individual’s driving record or insurance rates.
Records that are considered public may be accessible from some third-party websites. These websites often make searching simpler, as they are not limited by geographic location, and search engines on these sites may help when starting a search for a specific or multiple records. To begin using such a search engine on a third-party or government website, interested parties usually must provide:
- The name of the person involved in the record, unless said person is a juvenile
- The location or assumed location of the record or person involved. This includes information such as the city, county, or state that person resides in or was accused in.
Third-party sites are independent from government sources, and are not sponsored by these government agencies. Because of this, record availability on third-party sites may vary.
Is it Worth it To Fight a Traffic Ticket in New Hampshire?
Many traffic tickets are issued in error, and many New Hampshire drivers pay fines that could be avoided. Moreso, paying a traffic ticket often leads to exorbitant insurance rates, a tainted driving record, and a possible driver’s license suspension. Hence, a driver who has been unfairly cited should fight the traffic ticket to avoid the excessive punishment that follows a guilty plea.
However, before deciding to contest a ticket, offenders are advised to weigh the pros and cons of a case, and a traffic attorney can always help determine if there’s a case and if the ticket is worth fighting.
Ways to Fight a Traffic Ticket in New Hampshire
Fighting a traffic ticket in New Hampshire begins with a “not guilty” plea which can be entered by ticking the checkbox at the back of the ticket issued by the law enforcement official. The should then be mailed to the court’s address provided on the ticket or to the Department of Safety.
Bureau of Financial Responsibility
P. O. Box 3838
Concord, NH 0330
In response, the court will set a date and time for a court hearing, and the offender is required to appear in court to defend the plea. However, New Hampshire addresses trivial traffic matters in 2 steps:
- Pretrial conference
At the pretrial conference, the alleged offender meets with the state prosecutor to reach an agreement. If an amicable resolution is impossible, the court will set an appointment for the individual to plead the case before the judge. It is important to note that attending the pretrial conference is just as important as attending a trial; hence, the individual cannot be absent. If the driver does not participate in the conference, the court will automatically find them guilty and enforce the penalties of the traffic charges.
- Court Appearance
If the case goes to court, the driver must prepare all witnesses, evidence, and engage the services of a traffic attorney. If the accused motorist is found guilty, they must pay all associated fines on the same day of receiving the guilty verdict. Other times, the court may give any of the following penalties depending on the severity of the case:
- Driver improvement courses
- Community service
- License suspension
- Jail time
If the driver was found guilty at a contested hearing, the decision may be appealed. However, appealing the decision is a complex process that will require more court hearings and court costs. Once again, it is advisable to navigate this process with an experienced traffic attorney.
How to Fight a Traffic Ticket Without Going to Court
Pleading guilty or contesting a ticket usually begins with the plea that the driver selects on the traffic ticket. An individual that chooses to fight the ticket should check the “nolo contendere” or “not guilty” box before sending it to the court.
If the offense is minor, it is most likely settled with an amicable agreement with the state prosecutor at the pretrial negotiation session. Otherwise, a court appearance before a judge becomes necessary. Hence, if a driver pleads guilty to a minor traffic charge or attends the conference with the prosecutor, the traffic ticket can be resolved without a court hearing.
How do You Get a Traffic Ticket Reduced in New Hampshire
New Hampshire motorists have the statutory right to request a mitigation hearing to reduce an expensive traffic fine. If the hearing is successful, the results may include a fine reduction, a customized monthly payment plan, or community service. However, in place of a mitigation hearing, New Hampshire provides a pretrial negotiation where up to 90% of traffic matters are resolved before a judge hears them. The pretrial negotiation creates a friendly atmosphere where the offender can provide the prosecutor with valid reasons to reduce the fine.
Can you Get a Speeding Ticket Dismissed in New Hampshire?
Yes, drivers who can prove that a traffic ticket was issued wrongly may be able to get their ticket dismissed. To dismiss a New Hampshire traffic ticket, the driver must prove to the prosecutor at the pretrial negotiation or the judge during a court trial that the traffic ticket was issued unfairly. After examining provided evidence or testimonies, if the court or prosecutor decides that the driver is not guilty, the ticket will be dismissed, and the driver will not have to endure any penalties or pay any fines.
What Happens if You Plead Guilty to a Traffic Ticket in New Hampshire?
Although most traffic offenses are not crimes in New Hampshire, an admission of guilt carries dire consequences that could cause the driver some difficulties. Generally, pleading guilty to a traffic ticket is merely accepting to pay the fine. To pay the ticket, the driver needs to check the box on the ticket that says “no contest” and then send it to the court via mail. However, this will mean that the driver will have points added to the license or driving record.
The state uses the license point system to discipline drivers that violate state traffic laws. Each time a driver pleads guilty to a traffic violation in New Hampshire, demerit points are added to the individual’s driving record. These points are allocated differently based on the seriousness of the traffic offense:
- Speeding 1 to 24 mph over the limit - 3 points
- Speeding 25 mph or more over the limit - 4 points
- Improper passing - 4 points
- Reckless driving - 6 points
If the adult traffic offender (21 years and older) accumulates 12 or more points within a year, the New Hampshire Division of Motor Vehicles(DMV) will suspend the driver’s license for up to 6 months. If there are 24 points within three years, the license will be suspended for up to 12 months.
However, the suspended license can be reinstated if the driver meets the New Hampshire DMV requirements. These include:
- Fulfilling the license suspension period
- Comply with all court-ordered requirements
- Pay all outstanding fines, court costs, and other legal fees
- Pay the license reinstatement Fees ($100)
- If required, install an ignition interlock device on a vehicle
A court-approved driver improvement program can also reduce up to 3 points on a driver’s license and aid license recovery. The driver’s New Hampshire driving record provides all critical information, including the eligibility for a driver’s improvement program to reinstate or recover the suspended license. The document typically contains the driver’s entire driving history of traffic violations, convictions, and accidents. This is obtainable via mail or in person at the local DMV for $15.
DMV—FR Driving Records, 23 Hazen Drive
Concord, NH 03305
How to Find a Traffic Ticket Attorney in New Hampshire
A competent and experienced traffic attorney in New Hampshire can help a traffic offender avoid exorbitant fines, increased insurance rates, demerit points on a traffic record, and possible driver’s license suspension. Although the New Hampshire Judicial Branch will not assign an attorney to a traffic offender, they provide a comprehensive list of ways to find adequate legal representation in the state through the New Hampshire Bar Association and other resources.