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Should You Pay Your Traffic Ticket or Fight It?

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Florida hands out a surprising number of traffic tickets every year. In 2004, the DMV assembled data about the total number, and it amounted to more than 4 million tickets. These citations can also be granted for any kind of traffic violation, from speeding to car pool lane violations to failure to stop. However, sometimes these tickets are issued in error. For example, if someone steals your car and runs a red light, you will still be sent the ticket because your address is linked to your license plate number. In cases like these, fighting the ticket or paying will depends on your circumstances.

Your traffic ticket, if not issued directly by a police officer, will come in the mail. Once you receive it, you have 30 days after getting it to inform the proper county clerk you want to fight the citation. Each county will have a different way of beginning a case, but the information needed is usually included on the ticket itself. It will indicate which court to contact, phone numbers and addresses of those involved, and how to communicate with the person you need to speak to.

Pleading not guilty to a traffic ticket indicates your official legal stance, which is that you did not violate the law or laws in question. Once your plea is noted, the court will schedule your pretrial. If your ticket was issued by a police officer, he or she is not obligated to attend the pretrial; however, he or she must be present at the actual trial. At the pretrial, you will inform the judge you wish to have a trial to determine your innocence. He or she will then set your case down in a few months.

At your trial, you or your attorney can call witnesses, argue the law, present evidence in your favor, and question a police department representative. The burden is on the state to prove you actually violated the law. If you or your criminal defense attorney can prove the crime you’re accused of doesn’t completely fit the wording of the law, you might be able to avoid the ticket altogether.

However, if you can’t prove your innocence, you will need to pay the ticket, any legal fees, and you will have the violation on your driving record. Points on your license will increase the cost of your auto insurance, and you might have to miss work to attend your court dates.

Determining whether or not to fight a traffic ticket will depend on what you find when you weigh the costs of both. Can you afford to pay the ticket and get another point on your driver’s license? If you already have a number of points on your license, will your license be suspended?

If you can’t afford any additional points on your license, and you think you have a good chance of proving your innocence, it may be worth your time to fight your traffic ticket. Talk to one of our Jacksonville traffic crimes attorneys at Owenby Law, P.A. Our skilled attorneys can look at your situation and give you legal advice concerning the strength of your case.

Contact us at (904) 770-3141 or fill out our online form to schedule your free, initial 30-minute case consultation today. We look forward to speaking with you.