I Got a Ticket. Now what do I do?

If you receive a traffic ticket in the state of Florida, the easiest thing to do would seem to just go ahead and pay the fine associated with the ticket in order to get things over with and move on.  However, depending on what type of violation you receive the ticket for, there are options available to you that could help protect your driving record and insurance costs from going up.


A non-moving violation consists of either parking-related violations or faulty equipment associated with your vehicle. On the other hand, moving violations are traffic offenses committed while a vehicle is in motion. Most are infractions, but some are punishable as misdemeanors. Some examples of the more common moving violations include, but are not limited to, speeding, texting while driving, or running a red light. There are such things as felony moving violations, but they are limited to serious offenses like repeat DUI, reckless driving, and fleeing the scene of an accident with bodily injury. It’s important to keep in mind that moving violations are covered under state legal codes, and therefore differ from jurisdiction to jurisdiction.


 If you receive a ticket for an infraction-level moving violation in Florida, you should NOT pay the ticket. Many people are unaware of this, but if you simply pay the clerk in the county you received the ticket, you will be awarded points on your license. That is exactly what you should want to avoid.  If you’re given points, they remain on your driving record permanently and your insurance will find out. This will likely result in an increase in your premiums.  However, there is a simple way to avoid having points placed on your driver’s license. On your citation, it will give you the option of attending Traffic School. There are other ways to prevent having points placed on your license and ultimately an increase in your insurance costs, but Traffic school is the simplest option.


In Florida, you’re able to attend traffic school once a year, and up to five times in your lifetime. Admittedly, Traffic School is not on anyone’s list of favorite things to do. However, as an alternative to paying the ticket, and having points placed on your license, it becomes more palatable. To pursue this option, you should follow the instructions for completing the online traffic school class. Once you’ve completed the requirements for the class, provide proof to the clerk of courts and the points will be automatically removed from your license. Alternatively, you can also attend court on your own and request the judge/magistrate withhold the points from your license, but if you are not comfortable handling it on your own, or your situation is more complicated, you can always hire an attorney to attend court on your behalf and hopefully get the points removed for the infraction.


Keep in mind that you will only be awarded points on your license for a moving infraction. Non-moving violations such as parking tickets, seat belt violations, etc. do not place points on your license, even if you pay the ticket. In this instance, not paying the ticket will only lead to more issues for you down the road.  Additionally, red-light cameras do NOT place points on your license. If you receive a red-light camera citation in the mail, you should almost always pay the fine. Prevention is better than cure, so obviously do your best to not violate traffic laws, but everyone makes mistakes. At least now you’ll know how to handle it if you do.


As always, if you have any questions regarding a citation you received.  Please call our office and we are happy to answer any questions you may have.

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