After receiving a speeding ticket, your first instinct might be to agree to pay the fine. Stop!
Florida drivers actually have several options that they should fully consider before agreeing that they are guilty of speeding.
In this article, we will discuss your options as well as the pluses and minuses of each approach.
You should be fully informed before you make a decision that could cost you serious time and money.
Option 1: Pay the Ticket
This is a pretty easy option. After all,
you won’t go to jail simply for being caught speeding. (But if you were also
drunk at the time, then that is an option—and a different blog). Instead, you
will pay the fine and accept the points on your driving record.
Yes, the points. These points will stay
on your record for many years. Accumulate too many points, and you can have
your license suspended. Even if you have few points now, they will add up if
you are pulled over for another traffic violation in the future.
Generally, the only positive to paying
the ticket is ease. You’ll be out a few hundred dollars but can move on with
your life. Many people don’t want to be bothered fighting a traffic ticket, so
just paying the fine looks like an attractive option.
One huge negative, however, is that your
added points can cause your insurance premiums to increase. We’ve seen some
premiums go up by 25%! So you will be paying for your speeding ticket each time
you pay your car insurance.
Option 2: Attend Traffic School
If you want to keep the points off your record, you should consider taking a Basic Driver Improvement course that is 4 hours long.
You can elect to take this course within 30 days of receiving your ticket. If you successfully complete the program, you will keep points off your record. Your insurance rates will not increase.
There is a limit to the number of courses
you can take, however. Currently, you are limited to one course in a 12-month
period and a maximum of 5 courses overall.
Pros include keeping the points off your
record and the limited time investment (only four hours). However, some people
have no extra time to take a class, so this could count as a negative as well.
Option 3: Fight the Ticket
Not all tickets are legitimate.
Sometimes, police make mistakes, identifying the wrong vehicle that was
speeding. In other situations, the equipment used to measure speed is faulty
because it was not calibrated properly or the cop has no experience with it.
If you want to fight the ticket, you have 30 days to declare that you are “not guilty” and choose traffic court. At your hearing, a judge will hear testimony from you and the officer who gave you a ticket. If you win, then you don’t pay anything, and no points will be added to your record.
If you lose, then you get the points, must pay court fees, and also will need to take a defensive driving course. The course could run far longer than the 4 hours of Basic Driver Improvement.
If you are truly innocent, then fighting the ticket can make sense. It is also a good choice if you have already taken the maximum allowable Basic Driving courses.
As a negative, you will end up paying more if you lose your case, which makes this a risky choice for most people. You also could spend up to 12 hours taking courses.
Meet with a Florida Traffic Ticket Attorney
Traffic tickets are annoying, but they
can also be expensive. If you are confused about your options, or you know you
want to fight the ticket in traffic court, then you should schedule an
appointment with Skubiak & Rivas right away.
Our attorneys have defended many drivers in traffic court and understand the judges who hear these cases.
We know what evidence they will find helpful and what arguments are not persuasive. For example, do you think telling a judge that you were speeding because you were late for work is a good idea?
Guess what: it isn’t.
Judges don’t want excuses. Instead, they
want evidence that you were not actually speeding, and our lawyers know how to
find that type of proof.
Contact us today. The sooner we start working on your case, the better. Call us today at 407-894-4449 or send us an online message.