In Florida, when someone is issued a civil traffic infraction (NOTE: Criminal citations are something totally different and must be handled differently), you have three (3) choices to pick from:
- You can pay this ticket, either online or in person at the Traffic Clerk’s office for the jurisdiction from which you received the ticket. This will result in an Adjudication of Guilt and your driver license being assessed the points associated with the type of infraction which you were charged; OR,
- If you qualify and are eligible, you may choose to take the Traffic School Option, usually described on the citation or other paperwork the Law Enforcement Officer gave to you. Follow the instructions carefully to enroll in the appropriate Traffic School and you will also need to make arrangements to pay for this ticket and the traffic school. Proof of your successful completion of this traffic school will need to be provided to the Traffic Clerk and/or Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (in Tallahassee) in order for the points to be taken off your driving record and a Withhold of Adjudication will be entered on your driving record; OR,
- You can challenge your ticket, either on your own or by hiring a lawyer. To fight the citation, you (or your hired attorney) will need to enter a denial, request a court hearing date (trial date) and then attend that hearing. If you go it on your own you need to be prepared to question the Officer(s) that issued you the ticket. You (or your attorney) will also have the ability to provide your testimony, should you so chose.
At the hearing, several things can happen. First, your case will be called by the Judge/Hearing Officer (or the Bailiff or Clerk). You (or your attorney) will announce your presence and desire to have a hearing on this citation.
Assuming your case is then heard, the Officer(s) that issued the ticket to you will step forward. If the citing officer(s) are not present, and have not sought a continuance of this hearing, the ticket could get dismissed. (NOTE: Some courts allow both sides (you and the officer’s) one continuance for good cause.)
If the officer(s) did seek a continuance, the Court will likely continue your hearing for another day.
If the officer(s) issuing the ticket appear, your trial will take place, with testimony being given to the Court. Remember, the burden of proof for the Officer(s) is to show beyond a reasonable doubt that you committed the infraction.
The Right Experience on Your Side
Contact a skilled trial lawyer who’s prepared to help you take care of your traffic tickets without getting points on your license. You can reach me 24 hours at (813) 253-3351 for a free consultation, including evening and weekend appointments, and home or hospital visits. Se Habla Español.