Florida is one of the most likely states to give you a traffic ticket. Are you a driver who’s gotten a ticket in Florida recently?
If you’ve ever been given a traffic ticket, you know how frustrating the experience can be. It’s expensive, time-consuming, and can be demoralizing if you’re a good driver who did nothing wrong.
However, there are ways to get a traffic ticket dismissed, so you don’t have to pay for something you didn’t do or that wasn’t your fault. Ready to learn about traffic ticket dismissal in Florida? Read on to find out more!
1. Understand the System
You’ll be better equipped to contest a traffic ticket if you understand how the ticketing system in Florida works.
Florida is one of the states that uses a points system for tickets. This means that every time you’re convicted of a traffic violation, points are added to your driving record.
If you get too many points, there can be additional penalties, like suspension of your license or even revocation.
Needless to say, you’ll want to avoid getting points added as much as possible. Plus, having to pay the fines for a ticket is never fun.
2. Know What Tickets Can Be Dismissed
To get a traffic ticket dismissal in Florida, you have to go to court.
However, the tickets you can contest have to meet a couple of requirements. First, it has to not be a criminal traffic violation. And second, you can’t get a parking ticket dismissed.
If your ticket doesn’t fall under either of these categories, then you may be able to get it dismissed.
3. What Happens If You Lose?
You should also understand what will happen if you lose the case.
In Florida, there is the option of removing points from your driving record by taking a traffic school course that’s approved by the Florida DHSMV. However, if you fight a traffic ticket in court and lose, you’ll give up your chance to remove points this way.
4. Notify the Right Court
After you have a grasp on how the system works, your first step toward traffic ticket dismissal is to notify the court in the county where you got your ticket.
The ticket itself will usually tell you this information. If not, you can visit the Florida DHSMV online, and go to the “Driver License Check” tab.
You’ll schedule a hearing with the court. You can usually either call or let them know in writing.
If you’re scheduling it by writing, make sure to include your mailing address, citation number, and phone number.
5. Hire an Attorney
Hiring an attorney who’s experienced with traffic ticket dismissal isn’t necessary to fight a ticket, but it can significantly up your chances of winning the case.
6. Get Organized
With or without an attorney, you’ll need to organize all the information necessary to prove your case.
Gather any evidence you have to prove that you shouldn’t pay the fine. Witnesses are helpful – was anyone else in the car with you at the time?
Make sure to fact-check and go over the argument thoroughly so you’ll be prepared when you get to court. You can even practice giving your testimony ahead of time. Record yourself so you can watch it and see where you might need to make changes.
7. Attend Court
Next, it’s time for the actual court case.
A clerk will speak with the officer who gave you the citation, your attorney if you have one, and also listen to your testimony. You don’t have to testify in court – that can be decided between you and your lawyer.
If you have any witnesses, the clerk will also hear their testimonies, and go over any other evidence that you have. Then they’ll review everything and give you a decision
8. Never Miss Court
This is an important side note – make sure you are actually there for your court date, because the penalties for not being in court can be serious.
When you miss a court date, you might have a warrant put out for your arrest. Or, in less severe cases, you may have points added to your license, your license suspended, or have to pay extra fines.
And, if you miss court, chances are that the original violation will stay on your driving record.
If something comes up that will prevent you from being in court, always be sure to call as soon as possible to see if you can reschedule.
9. Be Found Not Guilty
In many cases when you have a lawyer on your side, you have a good chance of winning.
If you’re found not guilty, all you have to do is fill out a bit of paperwork, and you’re done.
If you’re found guilty, you’ll still have to pay the fine for the citation and receive the points on your driving record.
The clerk may also alert you to extra fees you need to pay for the court costs, as well as any other penalties.
10. File an Appeal
If you’re found guilty, you now have the option to file an appeal.
This can get expensive – you’ll need to hire a court reporter, as well as paying your existing court fees. It’s much better to do what it takes to be found not guilty in the first place.
11. Check Your Record
No matter what the court ruling was, you should always double check your driving record to make sure it accurately reflects the decision.
If you were found not guilty, make sure the points from that violation didn’t end up on your record. And, if you were found guilty, check to be sure that the points on there are correct.
Remember, too many points can result in the suspension or revocation of your license – even if they were added to your record by accident.
Do You Need a Traffic Ticket Dismissal?
Traffic tickets are an unavoidable part of being a driver.
Someday, you’ll almost certainly need traffic ticket dismissal. When that day comes, be prepared by having the best possible representation on your side.
An experienced lawyer can help ensure you win your case, saving you time and money. Need representation now? Contact us today to find out how we can help.