I frequently encounter a variety of situations where taking the ticket to court is the only way to avoid points on my client's license. Below are the five most common reasons for taking your ticket to court in Florida.
Your Second Ticket in 12 Months
If you elected to take a driving course for your last ticket and received another ticket within 12 months, you will be ineligible to elect to take the driving course to avoid the points associated with the citation (provided that the offense carries points). If this is the case, you may be able to avoid points by taking your ticket to court. If the judge or hearing officer orders you to take a driving course in order to have adjudication withheld (no points) this will not count towards your lifetime elections for driving courses.
You Hold a CDL License
Those who hold CDL licenses in the State of Florida are ineligible to elect driving school to avoid points. However, you may receive a withhold of adjudication if you fight your citation in court. In addition, a hearing officer or judge may order you to take a driving course in order for you to receive a withhold of adjudication (no points).
You Were Involved in an Accident
Whenever you receive a careless driving citation or other citation where there was another party involved and no law enforcement officer witnessed the event, there is a high likelihood that the citation may be dismissed. Often times, the other party is the sole witness and fails to appear, which either results in a dismissal or not guilty plea depending on the local practice. Even if the witness shows up, they are normally not as skilled as other witnesses, such as law enforcement, and will sometimes fail to state the necessary elements of the offense, which would result in a not guilty plea.
You Don't Want to Waste Time Taking a Driving Course
If you are a good driver, with only a few citations over the last ten years, chances are that you will only be required to pay the fine (or even a reduced fine in some courts) and keep the points off without taking a driving course. If your value your time and don't want to spend four hours taking a driving course, you should contact a traffic attorney in your area to discuss the likelihood of a "no points, no school" outcome.
You Want Your Day in Court
If you feel that you were wrongly issued a citation and that you did not commit the offense, you should have a local traffic attorney review the facts of your case and any evidence that you may have to evaluate the likelihood of a successful outcome in court.