Despite the dangers associated with speeding and other unlawful behaviors, most drivers in Florida don’t give much thought to going a few miles per hour over the posted speed limit, forgetting to signal, or failing to come to a complete stop.
Until, that is, they are pulled over by a Florida police officer and issued a citation for the traffic offense.
If you have been issued a citation for speeding or another traffic offense in Florida, you may be wondering whether or not you should contest it by entering a plea of not guilty.
At the law offices of Skubiak & Rivas P.A., our experienced traffic attorneys can guide you through the advantages and disadvantages of contesting a ticket, as well as how to contest a ticket in our state. Please call us today for your free consultation.
When You Should Contest a Traffic Ticket in Florida
Whether or not you should fight a traffic ticket is a significant decision – not fighting the ticket and merely paying the fine is surely easier, but not fighting it means having to pay a fine, accepting a potential increase in insurance rates, and accepting having points assessed against your driver’s license.
For many people, the consequences of a traffic offense and entering a plea of guilty or no contest are serious enough that pleading not guilty and contesting the ticket is preferred.
Some situations in which you should think seriously about contesting a traffic ticket include:
- You have proof that you were not, in fact, breaching a traffic law at the time you were pulled over;
- The points that will accumulate on your record as a result of this offense will be enough to result in a license suspension;
- You are facing jail time if you are convicted of the offense; and
- You want to avoid the possibility of an increased car insurance rate.
Of course, for some people, the stress of fighting the ticket is more of a burden that is simply paying the ticket.
The other downside to fighting a traffic ticket is that if you lose, you waive your right to traffic court, which could help to mitigate points on your record.
As such, pursuing a plea of not guilty can be risky unless you are sure that you will be able to win your case.
Regardless of your situation, having your case reviewed for free by an experienced traffic attorney can help you to make the right decision.
How to Contest a Ticket for a Traffic Offense in Florida
The first thing that you should be aware of after receiving a traffic ticket in Florida is the number of days that you have to contest the ticket (or pay it).
In Florida, you only have 30 days from the date of receipt of your ticket to either pay it or inform the county clerk (of the county where the ticket was issued) of your intent to fight the ticket.
Because you only have 30 days and instructions for setting a court date to contest your ticket vary from county-to-county, you should start the process sooner rather than later.
Instructions for informing the court of your decision and setting a court date can be obtained by calling the county clerk directly, or by following the instructions found on the back of your ticket.
Once you have a hearing scheduled, you should think seriously about hiring an attorney if you haven’t already done so.
You will then need to gather all evidence relevant to your case, including witness statements.
At your hearing, you will have the opportunity to present your case and all evidence; if you have an attorney, your attorney can represent you during this process.
After you have presented your case, you will be found either guilty or not guilty. If you are found guilty, you may appeal the decision, although the costs of doing so can quickly add up.
Call Our Experienced Florida Traffic Accident Lawyers Today
Fighting a traffic ticket can be the right decision for a person for whom the consequences of pleading guilty are too great, or who knows–and has evidence to prove it–that they are innocent of the offense with which they’ve been charged.
If you do decide to contest a traffic ticket, working with an experienced lawyer who knows the ins and outs of Florida’s traffic laws and the process of contesting a ticket is recommended.
At the law office of Skubiak & Rivas P.A., our talented lawyers will aggressively advocate for you when you need it most. Please reach us today for your free consultation.