What options do I have for handling a traffic ticket in Florida?
Nearly everyone gets a traffic ticket from time to time, but having too many tickets on your record is not a good thing – not for your insurance rates, your driver’s license or your wallet.
Traffic tickets also known as civil infractions are non-criminal charges which are penalized by fines, points and attendance at traffic school. This means you’re not looking at jail but at other substantial collateral consequences.
You can get tickets for moving traffic violations, including speeding, careless driving, failing to obey traffic signs or signals, and making illegal turns. You can also get tickets for non-moving violation’s such as not carrying your driver’s license, insurance card, registration, improper tag, expired tag, not having changed the address on your driver’s license within 10 days of moving, not wearing a seatbelt and cell phone or texting violations.
The Hidden Costs of Traffic Tickets
The problem with getting traffic tickets in Florida is that they can add points to your driver’s license, which, in turn, will result in the suspension of your driver’s license if you accrue just 12 or more points in a 12-month period. That’s the equivalent of paying four traffic tickets. You will get a lengthier suspension if you accrue 18 points within a year and a half. If you rack up 15 tickets within five years and pay them, your license will be suspended for five years and classified as a habitual traffic offender (HTO).
If you rely on your driver’s license for your job, a license suspension can be devastating to your ability to support yourself and your family.
You also are likely to end up paying thousands of dollars more in increased insurance rates over the next five years and your insurance company might even cancel your insurance policy altogether. Fortunately, there are some options available for reducing or dismissing a traffic ticket in the state of Florida.
Can’t I Just Go to Defensive Driving School?
Florida law lets drivers in some circumstances complete a traffic school class, which ranges from 4 to 12 hours in duration, to remove points from their licenses. In Miami, there is also a 30 hour high-risk traffic school program for high risk drivers. None of these schools will get your ticket dismissed. Instead, the goal of attending driving school is to keep your driver’s license from being suspended for accumulation of points. But to do this, you must make an election that is only available once per year and a maximum of five times over 10 years, pay the fine plus the traffic school and the record of the offense will remain on your record for life.
Electing traffic school in Florida may not help avoid insurance increases in all cases so you should talk to your attorney about whether to elect traffic school before doing it. The one thing a traffic school election in Florida will do is guarantee that you record for the infraction will be recorded on your permanent driving record with Tallahassee for life. This is because they need to count your elections. They do that by keeping them on there for the public to see. It may be a much better deal just to have a lawyer fight the citations in court and try to get the case dismissed for you. A dismissed citation will not appear on your permanent driver’s license printout.
There are many traffic ticket technicalities and rules that must be followed by police in order to prove your case. These technicalities are rules used to protect us all from unfair enforcement. Proper knowledge of these rules can lead to a dismissal of your citation in court, but only if you chose to fight it by pleading not guilty.
If you are inclined to elect traffic school in Florida, there are some significant limitations on who can attend. For example, traffic school is only available to you five times in a ten-year period and you cannot elect traffic school if you have already done so within the last 12 months.
You also are ineligible to elect traffic school if you hold a commercial driver’s license (CDL) or if you received a ticket for going 30 or more miles per hour over the speed limit. Another disadvantage is that if you elect traffic school, you are giving up your right to fight the case in court and raise certain defenses that could result in the dismissal of your ticket.
Traffic tickets can be defended in court without your having to miss time at work or undergoing the expense of appearing two or three times in court to fight your ticket. We’ve been doing so for 30 years and have helped 99.8% of our traffic ticket clients avoid conviction.
When we fight your ticket and get it dismissed, it will actually come off of your record and your insurance companies won’t be able to use it to either raise your premiums or non-renew you.
Our goal in defending traffic tickets is always to get your ticket dismissed, not just keeping points off of your record. To do that, we take all of our tickets to trial. This involves an extra step of appearing in court 2 to 3 times but we think it is worth it and it has been a very successful strategy for us and for our clients.
Albert Quirantes: Your Miami Criminal Defense Lawyer & DUI Lawyer
For over 30 years, Miami criminal defense attorney Albert M. Quirantes has been aggressively and zealously defending the rights of those accused of felony and misdemeanor crimesthroughout South Florida. With his dedicated team, reasonable legal fees, and a well-earned reputation for challenging prosecutors at every turn, he has protected over 8,000 clients during some of the roughest times of their lives.
Increase your knowledge! If you want to know more about how to resolve the problems you face when charged with a criminal offense in Florida, then you can follow Miami Criminal Attorney Albert M. Quirantes on Facebook, Twitter, or Google+.
If you have been arrested and charged with a crime, please call us today at (305) 644-1800 or fill out our online form to arrange for your free, confidential initial consultation.
If you have any questions about this or any other criminal accusation, call Miami Criminal Defense Lawyer Albert Quirantes at: (305) 644-1800 or visit our homepage www.CriminalDefendant.com for a direct link to the office or a text message or a map and directions to our office.