Avoiding Points to Your Driving Record in Florida After Getting a Ticket


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Like most other states, Florida uses a point-based system regarding residentsí driving licenses. Points may accumulate for a number of situations, including speeding, not obeying traffic signals or running a stop sign. To avoid acquiring additional points on a driverís license, residents should familiarize themselves with their options to avoid the negative consequences of having too many points.

If a person accumulates points, his or her insurance rates may increase. If he or she gets too many points, his or her license can be suspended or revoked.

Point Rules

In Florida, if a person accumulates 12 points within one year, his or her license is suspended for 30 days. If the person acquires 18 points within 18 months, he or she is facing a three-month suspension. A 12-month suspension can result if the driver receives 24 points within three years.

Each offense is associated with a different number of points. For example, littering equals three points. So does not restraining a child in a child safety seat. Going seven miles over the posted speed limit which results in an accident is six points.

Consequences

Individuals who accumulate too many points face serious consequences. Even a few points can result in increased car insurance premiums. Too many points can result in suspension, potentially interfering with a personís ability to maintain employment. At the very least, a driver is highly inconvenienced when having to rely solely on public transportation or the generosity of friends or coworkers. If a person drives while on a suspended driverís license, this is a criminal offense and can subject the driver to criminal penalties.

Options

When a person receives a ticket for which points will accumulate, he or she has a number of options, including:

Pay the Ticket

The driver can simply send in the ticket with the proper amount for the fine. However, doing so means that the individual is pleading guilty and he or she will accumulate points.

Attend Traffic School

Miami-Dade and Broward County allow for individuals to attend traffic school as an option. The individual still has to pay for traffic school. He or she must also pass a test at the end of it in order to receive proper credit. In some cases, traffic school attendance may interfere with work or other obligations. However, passing traffic school allows the driver to avoid accumulating points on his or her driverís license.

A person can only elect to attend traffic school once within a year and only five times throughout his or her entire lifetime.

Fight the Ticket

Points only accumulate if the person pleads guilty or is found guilty of the offense. In some situations, drivers have viable defenses that will help them avoid conviction. Additionally, the burden is on the prosecution to prove the driverís guilt. Therefore, if a police officer does not show up to testify or does not bring adequate proof, the driver may have his or her case dismissed.

When fighting a traffic ticket, it is usually preferred to have legal counsel. An attorney can request a trial date for the ticket and represent the defendant in court. He or she may argue to have the ticket dismissed. If this is not possible, he or she may be able to negotiate a deal on the driverís behalf to withhold adjudication. This means that the driver would pay the fine but there would not be any points that accumulated on his or her record.

When hiring an attorney, it is important to weigh the costs associated with this. In many cases, hiring an attorney may cost more than the fine. However, the driver should consider other costs associated with a guilty plea or the election to attend traffic school. Traffic school costs money. Additionally, losing a license because of too many points or attending traffic school can represent lost earnings from work. Additionally, hiring an attorney may be able to prevent the accumulation of driving points, which can help keep insurance premiums from increasing.

When retaining an attorney, it is also important to hire someone with the relevant knowledge and experience in handling traffic ticket cases in Florida.

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Disclaimer: While every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of this publication, it is not intended to provide legal advice as individual situations will differ and should be discussed with an expert and/or lawyer. For specific technical or legal advice on the information provided and related topics, please contact the author.

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