TRAFFIC TICKET DEFENSE ATTORNEY HELPING YOU FIGHT THE YOUR TICKET
In 2017, the Florida Highway Patrol and local police agencies issued 678,599 tickets for non-criminal moving violations, according to the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles. That’s more than 1,800 tickets for moving violations every day in this state.
Nearly everyone who drives will eventually receive a traffic ticket, but that’s no reason to just give up without a fight. In fact, there are several very practical reasons for disputing a traffic ticket – like protecting your driving privilege and avoiding higher auto insurance rates.
Paying the fine is the expeditious way to handle a traffic ticket, but it isn’t the best way. When you pay a speeding ticket, it’s the legal equivalent of pleading guilty. You’ll have a conviction on your driving record and “points” on your driver’s license.
You have the right to challenge a traffic ticket, and the chances are good that you’ll be able to prevail. Keep reading, and you’ll learn more about how – and why – you should fight every traffic ticket.
HOW THE POINT SYSTEM WORKS
The first thing every Florida driver should know about traffic tickets in this state is that tickets mean “points” on your driver’s license, and if you accumulate enough points, your license will be suspended.
The point system assigns relative values to different traffic violations. Most speeding tickets put three points on your license, for example, but the more serious charge of reckless driving puts four points on your license. Points stay on a driver’s record for at least five years. If you compile:
- 12 points within 12 months, your driver’s license may be suspended for thirty days
- 18 points within 18 months, your driver’s license may be suspended for three months
- 24 points within 36 months, your driver’s license may be suspended for one year
In some cases, you’ll be able to avoid the points by enrolling in a driving school, but you’ll pay “tuition” for the classes, and they will take a big chunk of your time. It’s better to fight the ticket.
The point system is one of the important reasons why you should contest every traffic ticket. Over time, if you lose track of the points on your license, you could abruptly lose your driving privilege. Here’s a brief look at some of the most common traffic violations in Florida.
DRIVING WITHOUT A LICENSE
Every Florida motorist must have a valid driver’s license. For unlicensed drivers and drivers with suspended licenses, a first or second driving without a license offense is a misdemeanor punishable upon conviction with a $500 fine and sixty days in jail.
A third conviction for driving without a valid license is a felony conviction that may be penalized with a maximum fine of $5,000 and a maximum prison term of five years.
RED LIGHT AND STOP SIGN VIOLATIONS
Police officers aggressively enforce the rules about stop signs and red lights for one powerful reason. Traffic deaths and serious injuries happen when drivers illegally roll through stop signs and red lights.
However, if you are ticketed for running a stop sign or a red light, don’t pay the ticket. Fight it. If you admit guilt and pay the fine, three points will be placed against your driver’s license, and your auto insurance rates will climb.
If you operate a vehicle in a manner that shows disregard or negligence for your own safety and/or the safety of others, you may be ticketed for reckless driving. Depending on the details of the case, reckless driving may be charged as a felony or as a misdemeanor.
Most reckless driving convictions add four points to your license. A second-degree misdemeanor reckless driving conviction is punishable with a $1,000 fine and 90 days in jail. A first-degree misdemeanor reckless driving conviction is punishable with a $1,000 fine and a year in jail.
However, drivers who receive a felony conviction for reckless driving may have to pay a $5,000 fine and serve up to five years in a Florida state prison.
A speeding conviction in Florida can add either three or four points to your license: three points if you were driving less than 15 mph over the speed limit and four points if you drove more than 15 mph over the speed limit. What are the usual fines for Florida speeding tickets?
- If you’re stopped for driving 6 to 9 mph over the posted limit, the fine is $129.
- At 10 to 14 mph over the limit, the fine is $204.
- At 15 to 19 mph over the limit, the fine is $254.
- At 20 to 29 mph over the limit, the fine is $279.
If you are ticketed for speeding at 30 mph or more over the posted limit, you will face a mandatory court appearance. However, an attorney may be able to help you avoid this hearing.
LEARN MORE ABOUT FIGHTING A TRAFFIC TICKET
Tampa traffic ticket attorney Patrick B. Courtney has more than 24 years of legal experience. He protects his clients’ legal rights and effectively fights traffic tickets on their behalf – at reasonable rates that anyone can afford.
Pat Courtney knows Tampa Bay’s traffic courts. He is a Tampa traffic ticket attorney who defends clients in Hillsborough, Pasco, Polk, Pinellas, Manatee, and Sarasota counties. To learn more about fighting a traffic ticket, call (813) 967-2000 or use the contact form on this website.