Should I Pay a Traffic Ticket or Go to Court?

Traffic tickets can vary greatly in their degree of importance. Some traffic citations are very minor while others may be more serious. Many people wonder whether they should simply pay the ticket or try to fight the charges. Every situation is different and you will need to weigh your decision on many factors. However, it is important to keep in mind that in Florida the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles utilizes the point system to track your driving record. Every time you are guilty of a traffic violation you accumulate a certain number of points on your driver’s license. Too many points will cause your auto insurance rates to increase and your driver’s license may even be suspended or revoked.

Traffic Tickets

Traffic tickets may range from a speeding ticket to more complex charges. Some of the most common types of traffic tickets include:

  • Speeding
  • Not wearing a seatbelt
  • Failure to yield
  • Running a red light
  • Failure to signal
  • Driving without insurance
  • Drunk driving

Sometimes you may be given multiple tickets during the same traffic stop. For example, if you are stopped for speeding and you aren’t wearing your seatbelt and your insurance is expired you’ll receive several tickets. Each ticket carries certain penalties that may include fines and points on your driver’s license. The more severe the offense the more harsh the penalties will be.

Going to Court

Just receiving a ticket doesn’t mean that you’re guilty of the charges. Once you pay the ticket you are admitting guilt and points and fines will be applied. You have 30 days from issuance of ticket to decide what to do. If you wish to go to court you can fight the ticket and have a chance of being found not-guilty. It’s almost always worthwhile to try to fight your ticket in court. There are many situations where the ticket may end up being resolved in your favor. In order to have the best possible position in court you’ll need representation by an experienced attorney. Your lawyer will review every aspect of your case including the traffic stop itself to determine the best way to defend your case. If you have multiple tickets or tickets with severe penalties it is especially important to seek effective counsel. Most people who are successful in court are those who have a knowledgeable lawyer handling their case. It may be desirable to go to court on a minor ticket because the points on your license could add up and any later infractions could be devastating.

How to Take your Case to Court

When you receive a traffic ticket you will have 3 choices. You may choose to pay the ticket, attend driving classes, or request a court hearing. If you plead not-guilty you will be granted a court date and will receive notice as to when it will occur. Your lawyer will attend court with you and will plead your case in front of the judge. If you are found guilty the judge will impose your penalty including any fines and points on your license. Your attorney will review your case and advise you on your choices – every case is different. When you have received a ticket it’s best to contact a lawyer as soon as possible so that he can begin to learn the details of your case and give you the best advice about your specific situation.