How Much Does a Careless Driving Ticket Cost?
Every driver is occasionally careless. But if you get caught, then you can expect to receive a traffic ticket, which can raise a lot of problems for motorists.
Many people contact our firm to ask how much a careless driving ticket in Florida cost. There are many costs, some of which are hidden. We walk you through all of them down below.
The first and most obvious cost is the fines that the state can make you pay. Careless driving is covered by § 316.1925 of the Florida Code. It is a moving violation, which means it is a civil offense, not a criminal one.
However, you will need to pay a fine, which can range from between $160 and $500.
Points Added to License
If you call a law firm and ask, “How much is a careless driving ticket?”, you’ll probably only hear about fees. But a careless driving ticket cost includes much more than the fine that a driver will need to pay. You also need to consider the impact of the ticket on your driving record. A careless driving conviction will add 3 points to it.
Depending on your record before the conviction, you could be seeing some dramatic hidden costs. For example, your license might be suspended, which could make it hard for you to get to work. This will cost you a considerable amount of money unless you can find alternate transportation, which is not always easy in Florida.
When will your license be suspended? Here is the official timetable:
- If you have 12 points accumulated in a 12-month period, then your license will be suspended for 30 days.
- If you have 18 points accumulated in an 18-month period, then you will have a 3-month suspension of your driving privileges.
- If you have 24 points accumulated in a 3-year period, then you will get a one-year suspension of your driver’s license.
In short, careless driving tickets can add up. Just one ticket puts you 25% of the way toward a one-month license suspension. It is in your best interest to make sure that you keep a clean driving record from this point going forward.
Rising Insurance Premiums
This is another hidden cost that you must consider. A motorist’s driving record impacts the cost of their insurance. With a careless driving ticket, you are at risk of seeing your premiums jump.
How much will your rates rise? The amount will depend on several factors, such as your age and driving history. A younger driver could see a 40% increase, while an older driver with a good record could see a 10% bump up in insurance. Given that Florida already has high insurance rates to begin with, any increase cannot be good news for your bottom line.
And don’t expect your insurance rates to go down any time soon. Many drivers need to wait up to 3 years before the insurer stops using the careless driving ticket when calculating premiums.
When to Fight a Careless Driving Ticket
Sometimes, it makes sense to just pay the ticket and take the points added to your record. If your driving history has been clean to this point, and you don’t see a spike in insurance, then paying the fine could be a hassle but the most sensible option.
Other motorists need to seriously consider fighting their tickets. It simply isn’t true that because careless driving isn’t a criminal charge that you shouldn’t worry about it.
Imagine you have 10 points on your driving record already. One conviction for careless driving puts you over the top and warrants a 30-day suspension. You are also well on your way to getting 18 points in an 18-month period, which would result in a longer suspension.
You must ask yourself: Can I really go without my license for this amount of time? If the answer is “no,” then you should consider trying to get the ticket dismissed.
Speak to an Experienced Orlando Traffic Attorney Today
Careless driving can deliver a real wallop to your wallet. Fortunately, there are things you can do to protect yourself. For example, you can discuss whether it makes sense to fight the ticket by hiring an experienced attorney.
At Skubiak & Rivas, we have a combined 65 years of experience to put to work for our clients. We have dealt with many careless driving tickets, and we would be pleased to help you understand your options. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation by calling 407-598-8489.