Last time, we started discussing how the time-honored strategy of simply paying a traffic citation may work well for some -- i.e., those motorists who are hardly ever cited -- but not for others -- i.e., those motorists recently cited multiple times or with historically suspect driving records.
Specifically, we examined how the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles assigns a point value to certain traffic offenses and how those who accumulate too many points within a designated timeframe will see their driver's licenses suspended.
When a motorist is cited by law enforcement for a non-criminal moving violation, they have 30 days to go the local clerk of court, where they are essentially presented with three options:
- Pay the ticket, meaning you are not only admitting guilt, but will also see the points assigned to the offense counted against your driving record
- Contest the ticket, meaning you will take the matter to court
- Inform the clerk that you want to go to traffic school, meaning there is no adjudication of guilt and no points will be counted against your driving record (provided you later produce a certificate of completion)
When it comes to the third option, motorists should be aware of a few key points:
- Traffic school -- or driver improvement courses -- are not an option for citations issued in another state.
- A motorist can only attend traffic school once every 12 months
- A motorist can only attend traffic school five times over the course of their life
- Approved course providers can be found via the Internet or telephone directory under terms such as "traffic schools" or "driving instruction"
While motorists are often tempted to go with the first or third option just to get the matter over with -- even if they know they did nothing wrong -- they should strongly consider taking the matter up with an experienced legal professional who can fight to protect their rights instead.