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Wednesday, July 06, 2011
How to Handle Florida Traffic Tickets
When you get a traffic ticket in Florida, you have options but those options have a deadline. You can attend traffic court on the date assigned by the officer in hopes of fighting the charge, you can pay the fine and accept the points on your record, or you can attend an approved Florida traffic school (if you are eligible) and have the points removed from your record. The deadline depends on the county in which you received your citation. To determine your personal deadline, you should read the options printed on the back of the traffic ticket or contact the Clerk of the Court's office in the county where you received the ticket.
Here are a few options on how to handle Florida traffic tickets:
Pay the fine – This is the same as pleading guilty. Though it seems the quickest and easiest way to resolve a ticket, there are consequences for the driver.
- Since the driver has admitted guilt, they may find their insurance premiums will increase when it comes time to renew the policy.
- Once the points go on a driver's record, they could wind up having their license suspended if they receive more points within a one to three year period.
- A driver with a “Safe Driver” designation on their license will lose that designation forcing them to renew their license more often.
Fight the traffic ticket in court – If a driver feels that the citation was a mistake, they can go to court on the date written on the traffic ticket. To fight the ticket, the driver will need to produce solid proof that they weren't guilty of the charges. In order to do this effectively, the driver may want to consider hiring an attorney who specializes in traffic offenses. Fighting the ticket is a gamble that should only be taken if the driver has absolute proof that the ticket was issued in error.
Attend traffic school – Attending a traffic school has several benefits:
- No points will be assessed against the driver’s record.
- Insurance premiums are not allowed to increase (unless the driver was at fault in a collision that their insurance company had to pay out on).
- The driver can keep their "Safe Driver" status if they had it to begin with.
For some, depending on the type of offense, attending traffic school may not be an option.
Finding the right traffic school means:
- Researching a school that is approved by the Florida Department of Highway and Motor Vehicles.
- Determining whether the school has a class that you can attend within your time limit or;
- Finding an online course that will allow you to attend traffic school at your own pace and on your own time.