Often times, people will call the office immediately after having received a traffic ticket and ask “what are my options?” The answer like everything else in the law is that “it depends”. Traffic citations can be criminal or civil infractions. People accused of some civil traffic infractions are required to have a hearing. We refer to these as mandatory citations or appearance required citations and the citaiton should have a box checked next to “Infraction court appearance required”.
In most moving violation cases that are not criminal and there is no appearance required, the driver has three (3) choices: (1) Pay it, (2) elect school (3) elect a hearing. However, drivers with a commercial driver’s license, or CDL, cannot elect school to avoid points. Just paying the ticket will be deemed an admission, points will be added to the license and the insurance premiums could be raised; therefore, points can effect employability. The choice to elect school to avoid points can only be made once every twelve (12) months and five (5) times in a lifetime. To elect school, the school has to be paid, the citation has to be paid and the driver spends half a day either online or in a classroom. The first two options leave the ticket on the driving record. Hiring a lawyer normally means electing a hearing. A driver with a CDL cannot elect school but, can elect a hearing where the Judge can remove points.
In criminal or ‘appearance required’ citations, there are no options. The accused should have been given a date to appear in court. If the accused fails to appear in a criminal traffic citation, then a warrant will be issued for arrest. If the accused fails to appear at a required traffic hearing, the Court could issue points on the license, issue fines, suspend the license and technically, could issue a warrant, though I have never seen it happen (Attorney since 2003).
In a criminal traffic case, hiring a lawyer can minimize court appearances for the accused or, sometimes, the lawyer can appear on behalf of the client meaning the accused never has to appear in court. The only choice in criminal traffic cases, is to go to court, until a Judge orders otherwise, usually upon an agreement by the State of Florida.
In all civil traffic tickets whether appearance required or not, the attorney can appear for the driver. The driver does NOT have to appear; rather the driver appears via the traffic lawyer. It is the hearing not the appearance of the driver that is required. Therefore, the only choice is whether to go to court alone or with a lawyer. There are no public lawyers available for civil traffic ticket cases, an accused has to hire thier own lawyer. Considering the tuition of the school and the half a day in class or in court, the legal fees in a traffic ticket are very reasonable.
To avoid facing the government alone, to avoid court appearances or to avoid burning traffic school elections, please fill out the form, call or click to hire the firm. You have rights, you should know them and use them!
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