Paying vs. Disputing Tickets in Florida

Fighting traffic tickets or paying fees is common to debate following the issuance of a driving citation in Florida. The right solution depends on the specific situation. The processes of how to pay and how to challenge speeding tickets and other traffic tickets, like citations for careless driving and running red lights, are all equally important to understand. For drivers who are considering if they should pay driving tickets given by Florida law enforcement officers, or if they should dispute the citations, review the following topics:

  • Pay or Fight Traffic Tickets in Florida
  • Paying Driving Fines in Florida
  • Fighting Traffic Tickets in Florida

Pay or Fight Traffic Tickets in Florida

While it is common to research how to get out of a speeding ticket in Florida following the issuance of a serious moving violation, the best way to handle the situation is usually to pay the fine. Drivers in good standing can voluntarily attend traffic school in order to reduce consequences. Fighting traffic tickets and losing is often far more costly than paying for tickets, so a driver who wishes to dispute traffic ticket penalties is advised to prepare a strong case before going to court.

Paying Driving Fines in Florida

To pay driving tickets in Florida is a straightforward process, but it must be done within 30 days of the ticket's issuance. To pay a speeding ticket or another traffic ticket, the ticketed party may visit or call the county clerk's office of the county in which the ticket was issued. Contact information and other important details can typically be found on the back of the traffic ticket issued to the driver.

Some Florida counties also allow drivers to pay a speeding ticket online through the website of the county clerk's office. Florida's Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles also provides an online driver's license check. A driver can enter his or her driver's license number into this database to learn why a traffic ticket was issued along with the amount of the fine.

If drivers do not pay speeding tickets or other citations before deadlines, they will receive points on their drivers licenses, and their auto insurance rates may increase or their policies may be cancelled. For drivers in good standing who have received tickets, electing to attend traffic school may be the best option. If a driver voluntarily takes a traffic school course, his or her auto insurance rates cannot increase, and the policy cannot be cancelled. If the driver submits the certificate of completion of the course to the clerk of court before the scheduled deadline, he or she will be deemed 'not guilty' and will receive no driver license points. The traffic school option must also be taken within 30 days of the issuance of the ticket. In Florida, an online traffic class is available. Download our free guide to read more about Florida online traffic school enrollment.

Fighting Traffic Tickets in Florida

To fight traffic ticket penalties and win, the ticketed party must be able to prove innocence beyond a reasonable doubt. Traffic ticket defense is not always easy, as the courts have plenty of experience with ticket dispute cases. For example, if a driver goes to court to dispute a speeding ticket, the judge may ask for a record of the last time he or she had the car's speedometer checked. If the person fighting traffic tickets is not well-prepared, he or she is unlikely to win the case.

By appearing and fighting traffic tickets in court, the defendant waives his or her right to pay the original fine. If the defendant is found guilty, the judge can increase the fine significantly, up to $1,000 in some counties. Other penalties for being found guilty after a driver decides to take traffic ticket to court proceedings may include required traffic school attendance, points on the defendant's driver's license and more. If the ticketed individual believes he or she has the necessary proof to win the case, he or she must follow certain steps to dispute the ticket. The first step in the process to fight traffic tickets is to contact the county clerk's office.

It is important to note that intent to dispute traffic tickets must be declared to the office of the county clerk in the county in which the ticket was issued within 30 days of the ticket's issuance. After delivering intent to fight traffic tickets, the defendant will receive notice of the location, the date and the time of the upcoming court case. The court date will be scheduled in the county in which the ticket was issued. Multiple trips to court may be required throughout the dispute process. When fighting traffic tickets, it is vital to attend all scheduled court dates. The consequences for missing a court date can be even more severe than the penalties for losing the case, including suspension of the defendant's driver's license or issuance of a warrant for his or her arrest. In Florida, a court-appointed attorney is not provided in traffic ticket dispute cases. However, the defendant does have the option to hire a traffic ticket defense lawyer who specializes in Florida traffic court cases.