Florida Traffic Citation Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
According to the Florida Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, there are approximately two million non-criminal moving violations and more than 300,000 criminal moving violations every year in the State of Florida.
Although several individuals immediately pay the fine associated with the traffic violation, it is important to know that rendering payment is the same as pleading guilty for the infraction.
In Florida, a person will be assigned points to their driving record depending upon the nature of the infraction. If a person receives a certain amount of points, he or she can face a revocation or suspension of his or her license.
If you received a traffic citation in Florida for a criminal or noncriminal traffic violation, it is critical that you contact a seasoned Florida traffic ticket defense lawyer immediately who will develop the strongest defense possible on your behalf.
What are the two types of infractions that are heard in Florida traffic courts?
There are two types of infractions that are heard in Florida traffic courts. These are criminal traffic infractions and civil traffic infractions.
Criminal traffic infractions include driving under the influence and reckless driving, to name a few. These violations may include a court appearance, monetary costs and fines, probation, and/or the possibility of imprisonment. Payment cannot be automatically made to the clerk’s office due to the fact that individuals facing a criminal traffic offense must make a court appearance at the date and time provided on the citation.
Civil traffic infractions are noncriminal offenses that are usually resolved through the payment of a monetary penalty or attending a defensive driving class. Court appearances are typically not required unless the infraction involved an accident, or if a child is left unattended in a vehicle. Payment of the citation can be made by mail or in person at the Traffic Violations Bureau.
When do I have to pay my ticket?
For civil infractions, a person has 30 calendar days from the date the ticket was issued to render payment.
What are the consequences if I don’t pay the ticket within 30 days?
You could face a license suspension as well as other penalties. Your insurance rates can also be affected.
Are there other options other than paying the fine?
Yes. A person can plead not guilty, submit an Affidavit of Compliance, or take a driver improvement course instead of paying the applicable fine. Certain violations can be dismissed by the clerk of the court under certain circumstances, including upon the presentation of the registration certificate, proof of insurance, and/or a valid driver’s license. A driver may be required to pay a dismissal fee in this regard.
What is the process of entering a not guilty plea to a civil traffic violation?
You must provide written notice to the clerk’s office within 30 days or notify the court in person. Your matter will then be scheduled for a hearing where the judge will advise you of the charge(s) against you. At this time, you can change your plea or proceed to trial.
Who attends the hearing?
The issuing officer as well as his or her witnesses in addition to witnesses you intend to call on your behalf.
If the court finds me guilty, what do I have to do?
You will be assessed costs and fines in addition to the possibility of attending a defensive driving course. Other penalties may also be imposed as the judge sees fit. Fines must be paid on your court date. If you fail to pay the fines, your license can be suspended and you may face additional consequences.
How do I know how many points were issued against my license?
The clerk of the court cannot advise you of the points issued against your license. All questions should be brought forth to the Bureau of Driver License and/or your insurance agent.
Are parking tickets different than civil traffic violations?
Yes. Parking tickets must be paid within ten days from when the citation was issued. The amount of fines differ because they are set by every municipality and county in Florida via the passage of ordinances. Your driver license is not affected by parking tickets unless you have three or more tickets, or a handicapped parking violation that is outstanding. You may also be unable to review the registration of your vehicle until the parking tickets are paid.
How much are the fines for civil traffic violations?
Fines are set by Florida law. The clerk’s office should have a fine schedule for you to review should you have any questions.
What happens if I commit a criminal traffic violation?
You will be required to attend a hearing in court on your assigned court date. While there, you can enter a plea of no contest, not guilty, or guilty.
What happens if I miss my court date for a criminal traffic violation?
If you miss your scheduled court date, the court will likely issue a warrant for your arrest.
What are the penalties associated with a criminal traffic violation?
If you are found guilty of a criminal traffic violation, you could face harsh monetary fines, jail time, a suspension of your license, community service, an increase in your insurance rates, points on your license, and a permanent criminal record.
The Florida traffic ticket defense lawyers at Musca Law are ready to advise you of your legal rights and options during a completely free and confidential case evaluation. Contact Musca Law now at 1 (888) 484-5057.