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  • Fight Traffic Ticket in Florida

    Know Your Options

    Pay Ticket
    (Plead Guilty or No Contest)

    • Pay the fine.
    • Incur points on your driving record (which could lead to license suspension or revocation).
    • Experience an increase in auto insurance rates.
    • If applicable, enroll and complete a Basic Driver Improvement Course to avoid points and an insurance increase.

    Learn more about
    Paying your Traffic Ticket »

    Fight Ticket
    (Plead Not Guilty)

    • Contest the ticket during a hearing.
    • Hire an attorney or represent yourself during the hearing. (Either option will require some prep time.)
    • Forfeit the possibility of a plea bargain or incurring lesser charges.
    • Suffer no penalties if found not guilty (except any applicable court/attorney fees).
    • Appeal the guilty verdict (if applicable).

    As long as your traffic ticket is for a basic violation and not criminal or a parking ticket, continue on for more information on fighting your ticket.

    What it Means to Fight Your FL Traffic Ticket

    Generally, paying your ticket in full means you can handle the situation in a timely manner and, in most cases, enroll in a Basic Driver Improvement Course to avoid accumulating driving record points and an increase in auto insurance rates. Sometimes, drivers are given the option to plead to lesser charges; other times, depending on the violation, they can get their tickets dropped completely.

    However, pleading not guilty means fighting the ticket in court, and that involves certain steps, depending on the violation and the county in which you were ticketed.

    It also means you suspend any possibilities of pleading to lesser charges, having your ticket dropped, or attending a Basic Driver Education Course to avoid points and higher auto insurance rates.

    Pleading Guilty or No Contest

    If you choose to plead guilty, chances are you can pay your ticket outright over the telephone, by mail, in person, or online.

    Check out Paying Your Traffic Ticket to learn which options are available to you.

    Avoid a D-6 Suspension

    If you fail to respond to your traffic ticket in the time allotted, you’ll receive a D-6 Suspension. At this point, your driver’s license is suspended indefinitely, but usually that means until you satisfy the traffic ticket, pay the D-6 reinstatement fee and show proof of it all to the court.

    Notify the Court

    Locate the County Court

    If you can’t remember where you received the violation, check your traffic ticket.

    Schedule Your Hearing

    Whenever you plead not guilty to a traffic ticket, you must appear in court for a hearing. Your traffic ticket includes instructions on how to schedule your hearing; in most cases, it’s as simple as making a phone call to the traffic court though some courts allow you to notify the clerk in writing that you want to schedule a hearing. If you choose this option, make sure to include:

    • Your citation number.
    • A valid mailing address.
    • A valid phone number.

    If you don’t have your ticket but know which county you were cited in (because you followed the above instructions), check the state’s Clerks of Court for a website address and other contact information.

    Rescheduling or Postponing Your Hearing

    Usually, you can reschedule or postpone your hearing as long as you contact the court within five days of your original hearing date. You can only do this once.

    Hire a Traffic Ticket Attorney

    Keep in mind that pleading not guilty and scheduling a hearing means you will appear before a judge and make your case. Once you get your hearing date, consider hiring a traffic ticket attorney to represent you.

    Prepare Your Case

    After you receive your hearing date, you can start preparing your case.

    For many, this means getting together with a traffic ticket lawyer and gathering witnesses, testimonies, and other evidence. Even if you don’t hire an attorney, you’ll want to spend some time reviewing your facts, making sure you have all the relevant information, and practicing your own testimony.

    Plead Your Case Before a Judge or Jury

    Traffic ticket hearings are fairly straightforward. The clerk will:

    • Talk to the officer who cited you.
    • Talk with you (should you choose to testify) or your attorney.
    • Hear testimonies from any witnesses.
    • Review all evidence.
    • Make a judgment.

    Generally, if you’re found not guilty, the clerk will release everyone to go on about their days. Most likely you’ll receive some paperwork, but the real work will be over.

    However, if you’re found guilty, the clerk will provide you with information about your fine, any additional court costs and surcharges, and any further penalties. For example, if the traffic violation pushes your driving record points over the limit, your license might be suspended or revoked.

    Filing an Appeal

    Although you have the option to file an appeal, doing so means you must hire your own court reporter. More often than not, hiring a court reporter pushes your total costs higher than what you’d pay if you just pay the ticket fine.

    If you decide you want to file an appeal anyway, talk with the clerk after your hearing.

    Check Your Florida Driving Record

    Whether you’re found guilty or innocent, it’s best to check your driving record after your case is finalized. If you’re found guilty, your driving record might reflect a certain number of points; if you’re found innocent, your driving record should reflect no additional points.

    Our section on the FL point system explains how accumulated points on your driving record bring negative consequences, like license suspension and revocation.

    Shop for Better Auto Insurance Rates

    Some drivers choose to attend a Basic Driver Improvement Course to avoid an increase in auto insurance rates; however, those who fight their traffic tickets in court typically relinquish that possibility, so if they’re found guilty, they may face higher insurance rates once it’s time to renew their policies.

    During these cases, it’s wise to start comparing auto insurance rates online and shopping for a better deal.