What to Do If You Get a Traffic Ticket in FL State?
When you are pulled over for a traffic ticket in Florida, it might seem like the end of the world. Don’t worry, it’s not! We have made it easy for you to understand your traffic ticket, Florida traffic violation points, and your options for improving your Florida driving record.
Traffic Ticket Points and Fines
The first thing every driver wants to know when they get a traffic ticket is, “How much will this cost?” While Florida traffic ticket fines and penalties are handled on a county-by-county basis, most follow a similar cost structure. Speeding tickets in Florida, for example, might incur a different fine in Jacksonville than what you would pay in Miami.
You can usually find your traffic ticket fine printed on the actual ticket. If you can’t find the fee, or you lost your ticket, contact your court right away. You don’t want to miss a deadline because you misplaced your citation!
Some tickets are assessed additional surcharges on top of the fines for the actual violation. Minor violations incur smaller fees, but if you’re convicted of a serious crime, such as driving under the influence, you could be facing hundreds or even thousands in extra fees.
- First Conviction: $500 – 5,000
- Second Conviction: $1,000 – 2,000
- Third Conviction: $2,000 – 5,000
- Fourth Conviction: starts at $1,000
Each traffic ticket is also assessed a point value, ranging from 3 to 6 points depending on the violation. These Florida traffic violation points are added to your driving record, and your auto insurance rates could go up. In addition, habitual violators with multiple tickets could face a suspended license.
Florida Driving Record
Your driving record is an account of your activity on the road. If you continue to be a safe driver, then you’ll maintain a clean record. Points from every ticket you receive are added to your Florida driving record, ultimately causing you headaches like higher insurance rates. Florida does have a process in place for traffic ticket clearance and point removal to help improve your driving record, keeping you in good standing with your insurance company. If you have any question about your driving record, it’s a good idea to contact your county court and request a copy. This is valuable information and you have a right to review it whenever you want.
Florida drivers have the option to take a Basic Driver Improvement course as a solution for improving their driving record. While tickets are not removed from your Florida driving record, you can reduce points and prevent a costly insurance increase – or a license suspension. You could lose your driving privileges for the following:
- 12 points added to your record in a 12-month period (30 day suspension)
- 18 points added to your record in an 18 month period (3 month suspension)
- 24 points added to your record in a 36-month period (1 year suspension)
To take a Florida 4-hour BDI course for point reduction and to clear your record, contact the court within 30 days of receiving your traffic ticket. The fastest and easiest way to reduce points is to take an online Basic Driver Improvement course. In Florida, you have the option to take this course once in a 12-month period, but no more than 5 times during your lifetime. All courses, whether in a classroom or online, take 4 hours. A legitimate course will be approved by the Florida DHSMV and meet all point reduction requirements.
Once you complete a course, you’ll need to report that information to the Florida DHSMV to ensure you get credit for your hard work –and those points are removed from your record. Your court will specify the steps you’ll need to take to submit your completion certificate (fax, mail, in person, etc.). Make sure you get this information BEFORE you register for your course, so you know when to deliver your completion information, and how the court is expecting to receive it.
Avoiding a Traffic Ticket
While you can remove points from your driving record, tickets in Florida are not dismissed or removed by taking a BDI course. The only way you can keep a traffic ticket off your record is to prove you were not breaking the law, or fight your ticket in court and win. If you’re planning to fight your ticket, you should definitely consider hiring an attorney to represent you.
Otherwise, if you received a traffic ticket in Florida, you can expect the violation to be added to your record. According to the Florida DHSMV, citations stay on your record for 10 years, suspensions 7 to 11 years, alcohol-related violations for 75 years, and serious CDL violations 55 years.
Your best bet? Drive safely, avoid a traffic ticket, and at the very least, try to keep your record clean with a driver improvement course.