Getting a traffic or speeding ticket in Florida is at best an embarrassing and frustrating experience. The recipient of a traffic ticket is faced with several choices, some better than others.
Pay the Ticket
The simple, but not necessarily the best, choice is to simply pay the ticket. This generally results in points being assessed to a person’s driver’s license. The long-term consequences can be expensive and consequential. Depending on how many previous tickets and points a person acquired over the past 12 months, paying a ticket may lead to the suspension of a person’s driver’s license if those points exceed 12 within the past year. Not only do the points put a person’s driving privilege at risk, it may cause a long-term increase in a person’s car insurance premiums. When obtaining car insurance or renewing car insurance, most insurers look at a person’s driving record and make rate decisions, in part, based upon the person’s driving record.
Go to Driving School or Traffic School
The next choice is to elect to go to “driving school” which usually results in no points being assessed to a person’s driver’s record. Not only are these schools somewhat expensive, they are, at best, inconvenient. They usually are held over a period of several evenings or on the weekend. Some offer courses on the internet. A person can elect to do this; however, the expense in time and money and inconvenience must be weighed in making one’s decision.
Fight the Ticket in Florida Traffic Court
A third decision is to elect to go to traffic court in an effort to convince the judge or hearing officer to withhold adjudication and not assess points to the person’s driver’s license. The success or failure of this can depend on a number of factors including the particular judge or hearing officer, the county in which the hearing is conducted as well as the person’s driver’s record. Going at process alone for the uninitiated can be a somewhat daunting and intimidating.
When to Hire a Lawyer
An alternative to personally appearing in court is to have a lawyer who is familiar with traffic court in the county where the ticket was issued. More than likely, and depending on the individual’s driving record, this will result in a withholding of adjudication of guilt which means no points will be assessed to the person’s driver’s record and sometimes a reduction in the amount of fine that must be paid. Further, the lawyer can usually obtain a longer period of time in which to pay the fine than what is typically allowed by the printed ticket. Usually, the ticketed individual does not have to appear in court and the matter is handled by the lawyer. The benefits are two-fold. First the chance of having no points assessed to the driver’s record increases and a second, the amount of time handling the ticket will drop.
When considering whether or not to “pay the ticket,” consider the above and make a selection that works for your situation, pocket book and time constraints.
For further information, contact Ludwig & Associates, P.A., Jacksonville, Florida, 904-281-0145. www.ludwiglaw.netFrom the author: Ludwiglaw.net