Paying Your Florida Traffic Ticket
Depending on your traffic citation, you may qualify to pay your traffic ticket online, by phone, by mail or in person. Always check your traffic ticket or contact your Florida Traffic Court that will be handling your case just to be sure.
What Are Your Options?
While it may seem easiest to simply pay the citation and be done with it, you should be wary of any points associated with the penalty that would be assessed against your license. If you hold a Class E license, have not attended traffic school within the past 12 months and have chosen this option no more than five times in your lifetime, you can elect to attend traffic school to prevent the points from being placed on your driving record. If you simply pay the ticket, you accept the points by default which can pave the way to a license suspension! For this reason, it is critical for you to monitor your driving record closely — especially if you have received a ticket in the past.
In most counties, there are several ways for drivers to make their traffic school election. The most common methods include filling out the back of the traffic citation and returning it to the clerk, however, many counties now allow you to conveniently make the election online.
Many counties offer an online payment portal that allows you to make your payment once the ticket has been entered into their system. If the county where your ticket was issued does not offer this service, you will usually have the option to pay by phone, mail or in person. For more information on the payment options available to you, contact your county.
If you would like to fight the ticket, you can do so by requesting a hearing. In this case, you may be able to dismiss the ticket. However, you would be responsible for paying any applicable court and attorney fees. In the event that you are found guilty, the clerk will provide you with details on any fines you must pay, as well as the additional court costs, surcharges and any other penalties you may have to pay (if applicable).
Should I Pay the Ticket or Fight it?
Paying Your Ticket
- You are pleading guilty or no contest
- You will pay the fine
- You will accumulate points on your driving record (which could eventually mean your license can be revoked or even suspended)
- You will also incur increases in your automobile insurance rates
- You may be eligible for a Basic Driver Improvement Course (BDI) that will allow you to dismiss your ticket’s points and prevent your automobile insurance rates from increasing
Fighting Your Ticket
- You are pleading not guilty
- You will have a hearing where you can fight the ticket
- You will need to hire a defense attorney to represent you during your court case
- You may lose the case withe the possibility of plea bargain or may result in lessor charges than originally stated
- You may be charged not guilty and will not incur any penalties (with exception to attorney’s fees/court fees)
- You may be able to appeal a guilty verdict