No, you don’t “have” to. However, the only way to avoid taking a class is to fight the traffic ticket and win.
Or admit you are guilty, pay the fine, and accept the points on your record. These aren’t great options for everybody.
Basically, you will need to attend traffic school in two situations.
You elect to attend so that points don’t go on your record, or you fight the ticket and lose, with the judge ordering you to attend traffic school as part of your punishment.
Scenario 1: Attend a Basic Driver Improvement Course to Keep Points Off
You aren’t required to fight your ticket. Instead you can immediately own up that you were speeding and elect to take a Basic Driver Improvement course. This is a 4 hour course that you can take online, from the convenience of your own home. However, the course isn’t free, and you’ll probably end up paying $20-40. Shop around for a good deal.
Is this the ideal resolution to your speeding ticket? Probably not. After all, who really wants to spend 4 hours learning how to drive? You were caught speeding; it’s not like you don’t know how to drive.
Nevertheless, by taking the course, you can keep the points from accumulating on your driving record. This means your insurance rates should not go up at all, even though you got caught for speeding.
There is a downside. A motorist is limited to one basic driving course every 12 months and a maximum of 5 times in your life. You might have already maxed out, which means this isn’t an option for you, unfortunately.
Scenario 2: Fight Your Ticket—And Lose
Let’s be honest: not everyone who fights a traffic ticket can win. As traffic attorneys, we would be committing an ethical violation if we didn’t tell you that some people lose, even when they have a good case. You might have the best defense possible.
The officer might have identified the wrong car for speeding. The weather might have made it hard to see. Your car might not be able to go over miles an hour because of the faulty transmission, etc.
It might not matter. The judge hearing your case might just agree with the police officer that you were speeding, which means you’ll be adjudged guilty of the offense. You’ll pay your fine and court costs, and off you go to driving school.
If you’re found guilty, then driving school will be 4, 8, or 12 hours. Again, you can take it online, but 12 hours is now a serious inconvenience. You’ll also have to pay for the class, which is more money out of your pocket, all for the privilege of keeping your license.
More on How Florida Traffic School Works
So you need to take traffic school. Now what?
First, you should know that the state approves which vendors can offer an approved traffic school course. You can’t just sign up with any old company that you see on the Internet. Instead, check with the court, which should tell you the approved vendors. Or you can check online.
If you elect to attend traffic school instead of fighting your ticket, you’ll need to let the Clerk of Court know within 30 days of receiving your ticket. You then get additional time to complete the course. Once you complete the course, you should forward the completion certificate you receive to the clerk as proof that you have completed the class.
You should realize that even if you take the course online, you can’t basically let the program run on your computer as you complete housework. Instead, you’ll probably have to take quizzes multiple times. These quizzes help confirm that you are actually watching the video and have learned important tips about how to drive safely.
Speak to a Traffic Ticket Attorney
Traffic school is annoying and time consuming. Some of our clients also find it insulting. However, you do have options.
At Skubiak & Rivas, we have fought traffic tickets on behalf of our clients. If you win your case, you will not have to pay a fine or attend traffic school.
Fighting a ticket is not appropriate in every situation, but we offer a free initial consultation so that you can learn more about your options. If you would like to meet with one of our attorneys, please call or submit an online form.
We are Central Florida’s #1 traffic ticket law firm.