From Ticket to Acquittal: Start to Finish
As soon as you see the flashing lights in your rearview mirror, you may start to wonder how to take care of the ticket. Here is a quick guide to taking care of a ticket in Florida:
When you receive a ticket, take it to the local clerk of court within 30 days and you can do one of three things:
- Pay the ticket (paying means you are admitting guilt and the points WILL be added to your driving record) or
- Elect to attend driver improvement school (and bring the certificate of completion back to the court to prove you attended) or
- Go to court to contest the ticket.
A full list of your options for satisfying your traffic citation is on the back of the ticket. You are required to choose one of the three options within 30 days of receiving the citation.
Any person charged with a moving or non-moving traffic violation that would result in points being assessed to their driving record, may choose to attend a driver improvement course, except for drivers that hold a CDL and drivers that committed a criminal violation.
Attending a driver improvement course to satisfy the violation is entered on your driver record as “adjudication withheld.” That means no points will be assessed against your driver’s license and your insurance company cannot impose an additional premium. To choose to attend a driver improvement course, follow these steps:
- You may go to the Clerk’s office in the county where you received the citation. Or, read the affidavit attached to the envelope provided to you by the officer who cited you and indicate your intention. Within 30 calendar days of the date your ticket was issued, complete the affidavit, have your signature notarized and return the affidavit to the Clerk’s office in the county where you received your citation. Mail the affidavit early enough to ensure it is received in the Clerk’s office within the 30 calendar days.
- Check with the Clerk’s office in the county where you received your citation to see if the civil fine accompanies the election affidavit.
- You will have between 60 and 90 days from the date of the ticket to complete an approved course and submit the completion certificate.
- After attending a driver improvement course, you must present the completion certificate to the traffic division of the Clerk’s office in the county where you received your citation.
Please note that you can choose to attend a driver improvement course once in any 12-month period and no more than 5 times in a lifetime. Florida drivers are not eligible to attend driving school on out-of-state tickets. Each county has its own procedures for fees and procedures, so please contact the traffic division in the clerk’s office of the county where you received the citation.