Legal Options for Civil Traffic Citations
Florida Traffic Tickets: What to do? If you've been issued a traffic ticket in Florida, also known as a Uniform Traffic Citation, then you need to know your legal rights and options to make an informed decision on how best to proceed. This guide is intended to assist in that decision-making process.
DO NOT PAY THAT TICKET!A failure to do anything to address your traffic ticket within the time alotted, typically 30 days from the date the ticket was issued, will result in a suspension of your Driver's License. And you certainly don't want that to happen.
You have three options, which are as follows:
OPTION ONE: Admit Guilt, Pay the ticket (a civil penalty/fine) and points may be assessed to your Driving Record. If you are researching this issue then you're likely going to say NO THANKS to Option One. And you should NOT pay that ticket! *
OPTION TWO: Request a Hearing and fight your ticket in Court.
OPTION THREE: Elect to complete Traffic School. Florida allows you to choose this option up to a maximum of five times in your lifetime.
REQUEST A HEARING AND FIGHT YOUR TICKET IN COURTMost traffic tickets are Civil Traffic Infractions that are handled in County Traffic Court. A Hearing Officer or a Judge will preside over the hearing and the Law Enforcement Officer ("LEO") who issued you the ticket will present evidence to the Hearing Officer or the Judge as to what the LEO observed that caused them to ticket you.
The burden of proof in a Civil Traffic hearing is a preponderance of the evidence and that burden is placed on the Government to prove to the Court that you did what they allege by the greater weight of the evidence.
If you so choose, you can present testimony and call witnesses on your behalf in defense of your case. If you are not a resident of the County where the ticket was issued, you can even file what is called an "Affidavit of Defense" detailing the circumstances and any defenses you might have.
EXPERIENCE SPEAKS VOLUMESIn my experience as an attorney fighting traffic tickets, there exist a plethora of defenses to virtually any civil traffic citation. It is almost always best to request a hearing and challenge your traffic ticket in a Court of law. That's why Courts exist - to protect your Rights.