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How to Fight a Traffic Ticket in Florida

Traffic tickets in Florida are official receipts, showing that a motorist has violated traffic laws in the state. According to the Florida Statute Section 316.650, The Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (FLHSMV) is in charge of all traffic tickets issued in the state. However, the tickets may be issued by any local law enforcement official in the state.

Generally, there are two types of traffic tickets issued in Florida. These are:

  • Moving violations i.e., speeding, texting while driving, and so on.
  • Infractions or non-moving violations i.e, illegal parking, damaged tail lights, and so on.

Offenders can respond to a traffic citation through any of the following means:

  • Pay the ticket fine
  • Challenge the ticket citation in court
  • Enroll in a driver improvement course

Refusing to respond to a Florida traffic ticket within the 30 days may lead to suspension of the offender's driving license.

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 Florida

Offenders who believe they are wrongly accused of a traffic offense may choose to fight a Florida traffic ticket in court. However, only alleged violators with a non-criminal violation or parking ticket are eligible for this option.

Generally, deciding to pay a ticket fine means admission of guilt. Hence, points will be added to the offender's driving record. Traffic violation points on a driving record will negatively affect car insurance rates. So, the only way to keep a clean driving record and get the best insurance rate is by fighting a traffic ticket in Florida.

Nonetheless, offenders who go to court risk the chance of taking the Basic Driver Improvement (BDI) course to remove the violation points. If found guilty of the offense, traffic violators will pay the ticket fine and bear the court costs.

Therefore, it is advisable to speak to an expert legal counsel before choosing to fight your traffic ticket. The outcome of a traffic ticket case depends on some key factors such as the type of ticket, the offender's driving history, the judge or magistrate hearing the case, and the offender's behavior to the official who issued the ticket.

Ways to Fight a Traffic Ticket in Florida

The information on a traffic citation is sufficient to direct offenders on how to fight a ticket. Some of the main details on a ticket include:

  • The name of the offender
  • The name and violation code of the offense
  • The time, date, and location of the offense
  • The name of the officer that issued the ticket
  • The model, license plate, and other identification of the car
  • Detailed information on how to challenge the ticket in court

According to Section 318.14 (4), an alleged violator must notify the traffic court of their decision within 30 days. The traffic ticket has information on who, how, and where to forward your notification. Afterward, it is vital to hire a traffic ticket lawyer in Florida. Seeking a professional legal counsel can affect the outcome of the case.

The traffic ticket attorney will reveal the legal process and strategies; gather witness and evidence; then, get the offender prepared for the trial. During the court hearing, the offender is allowed to plead their case before the judge who eventually determines the outcome.

How to Fight a Traffic Ticket Without Going to Court

Traffic violators can easily fight a citation by simply asking the officer to drop the charges. Unlike all other court cases, the law enforcement officer who issued the ticket is the prosecutor and has the power to dismiss it. Also, the case may be dismissed if the officer is not present at the hearing.

How do You Get a Traffic Ticket Reduced in Florida

Offenders can reduce a Florida ticket fine by 18%, provided they are eligible to take a driver improvement course. Drivers eligible for the course are those who

  • Have notified the court before the 30 days stipulated time
  • Have not taken the course up to five times in a lifetime
  • Have not chosen to fight the ticket in a traffic court

Apart from reducing the traffic fine, taking the course can remove violation points from a driver's record. So, to choose this option, offenders should:

  • Notify the clerk of the court of their decision within 30 days from the date of the traffic citation
  • Tell the clerk where the ticket was issued and pay the reduced traffic fine.

Section 318.14 (4) of the 2019 Florida Statutes makes provisions for offenders who wish to enter a payment plan with the court's clerk. However, installment payment is not available in all counties. Therefore, offenders who need more time to pay or don't have the capacity to pay at once should approach the clerk of court to discuss the arrangement.

Can you Get a Speeding Ticket Dismissed in Florida

The type of speeding ticket issued will determine if it can be dismissed in a court hearing. Regular speeding tickets issued for going five mph or 21 mph beyond the stipulated speed limit in Florida may be dismissed easily in court.

Severe punishments are given to offenders who drive 30 mph or 49 mph beyond the speed limit. According to Section 316.1926, road users who drive 50 mph beyond the speed limit stand the risk of getting a jail sentence on the third violation. As such, these offenses are not easily dismissed in a Florida ticket court.

Dismissal is only possible if the prosecutor (the officer who issued the ticket) fails to show up at the court hearing. The offender's attitude at the scene of the offense may also help in dismissing the case. However, it is best to hire an expert traffic ticket attorney in Florida who has some experience with speeding offenses.

What Happens if You Plead Guilty to a Traffic Ticket in Florida

In most cases, an offender who pleads guilty is required to pay the ticket fine and enroll in a traffic school course. However, admission of guilt results in violation points which will be placed in the driver's record. This has two implications:

  • The driver is less likely to get a fair car insurance rate in the future
  • The driver's license may be suspended due to the accumulation of points.

How to Find a Traffic Ticket Attorney in Florida

Fighting a traffic ticket is more comfortable with an experienced traffic ticket attorney in Florida. There are several expert counsels in Florida. Therefore, understanding how to find the right attorney is essential. The credentials of a lawyer are the first thing to find out. Naturally, an experienced lawyer is more likely to win a case. Therefore, check out reviews before hiring an attorney.

Get an attorney that can communicate the trial effectively. A credible lawyer willing to hear the details of the offense will probably offer the best direction and eventually win the case. As such, it is best to hire an attorney whose office or residence is closer. More importantly, hire a lawyer within your budget.

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