Fight Traffic Ticket in Florida

Written up for a driving violation you didn't commit? Do more than get angry—tell it to the judge.

You can fight your Florida traffic ticket by pleading not guilty and going to court. Read below for more.

Pleading Not Guilty in Florida

You have 30 days after receiving your FL traffic ticket to inform the proper county clerk that you intend to fight the citation.

How to do so varies by county, but your ticket should provide all the specific information you need, including:

  • Which court to contact.
  • Phone numbers and addresses.
  • How to contact the court—whether:
    • In person.
    • Via mail.
    • Over the phone.

After informing the court of your decision, you should receive the location and time of your court date. This will be your arraignment where you will get to officially plead “not guilty."

*NOTE: When you plead “not guilty," you take the official legal stance that you did not violate the law(s) in question. Compiling any and all evidence to support your claim before going to court is highly recommended.

(Traffic) School Is in Session

Traffic school can offer more than good grades. Completing a course could help you avoid adding more points to your license as well as other benefits.

Find out more on our Florida defensive driving guide.

Fighting Your FL Traffic Ticket

Once your official plea is noted, the court will schedule your trial. There's no guarantee that your trial will be held on the same date as your arraignment, so plan ahead for the possibility of several trips to court.

In Florida, you won't get a court-appointed attorney for traffic ticket cases, so you'll have to represent yourself unless you hire a Florida traffic ticket lawyer.

At your trial, you or your attorney will get the chance to:

  • Call witnesses.
  • Argue the law.
  • Question a police department representative.
  • Present other evidence.

Once both sides present their case, the judicial officer in charge will render a judgment on your Florida traffic ticket.

Potential Costs

When deciding whether to take your ticket to court, there's more than the fine to consider.

Make sure to keep in mind all of the financial factors involved in fighting your FL traffic citation, including:

  • Additional court fines if you lose.
  • Higher auto insurance rate.
  • Ticket attorney fees.
  • Time off work to attend court.
Car Insurance Rate Up? What's Up?

Your court case outcome and your auto insurance rate may be very closely tied.

Not sure how? Find out more with our guide to FL car insurance rates and traffic tickets.

Consequences of Fighting Your Ticket

Once your trial ends, a decision will be made either for or against you.

If you win your case and are found not guilty, you're done with the issue. Your traffic ticket will be dismissed and you will NOT:

  • Need to pay the ticket fine.
  • Keep the violation on your driving record.

However, if you lose and are found guilty, the incident will stay on your driving record, and you may also have to:

  • Pay additional court fees.
  • Face additional penalties.
  • Pay the original fine.

Depending on how severe the violation is, you may also potentially:

  • Get points added to your license.
  • Serve jail time.
  • Have your FL driver's license suspended.
  • Have to perform community service.

Make sure to ask the judiciary official or your traffic ticket attorney about ensuring the process is wrapped up or any other potential consequences of losing your case.

Going on the Record

Whether you win or lose, your driving record may be affected!

Make sure the document accurately reflects the outcome of your trial by ordering a copy of your Florida driving record for review.

Missing Your Court Date

If you miss your court date, you won't get to miss out on any repercussions. In fact, the penalties for skipping court could be worse than losing your case.

Missing your court date could lead to:

  • A warrant issued for your arrest.
  • License suspension.
  • Points added to your driver's license.
  • Additional fines and fees.
  • The original violation staying on your driving record.

If you realize you won't be able to make your court date, it's highly recommended to call the appropriate court as soon as possible and ask if you can reschedule.

DMV.ORG BBB Business Review