Picture this: you’re cruising down South Beach’s Ocean Drive, top down, music blaring, and hair whipping around in the ocean breeze, when out of nowhere you hear a blaring siren and see those telltale blue and red lights in your rearview mirror. Next thing you know, you’re handing over your license and registration to a stern-faced cop and receiving a traffic ticket for speeding or rolling through a stop sign or perhaps throwing your water bottle out your window. After receiving your ticket, you can take a couple minutes to moan and groan about your “bad luck” and joyride turned joyless, but then it’s imperative to quickly take action to avoid getting points on your license since the state of Florida will suspend your driver’s license if you accumulate too many points too fast.
In Florida, 12 points accumulated within 12 months results in a 30-day suspension; 18 points accumulated within 18 months results in a 3-month suspension; and 24 points accumulated within 36 months results in a 12-month suspension. Think that 12 points sounds like a lot of points and that you would have to be the world’s worst driver to accumulate 12 points in 12 months? Think again. For example, let’s say that in the past twelve months you received tickets for littering (that’s 3 points!), going 7 miles over the speed limit and causing an accident (that’s 6 points!), and not properly restraining your child in his car safety seat (that’s 3 points). If you plead guilty in traffic court for these offenses or pay your tickets without electing to attend traffic school, then voila!—that’s 12 points and a 30 day suspension for you. Not only will you lose your driving privileges but you’re also going to have to fork over extra cash to your insurance company as points on your Florida’s driver’s license almost always lead to an increase in car insurance premiums. No license, no money—no fun!
If you receive a traffic ticket in Miami-Dade or Broward County, you have three options: pay the ticket, attend traffic school, or set a trial date. Do not pay your ticket since this will automatically result in the assessment of points on your license. While attending traffic school will help you avoid points on your license, traffic school costs money, requires participants to pass an exam in order to receive credit for the course, and may cause you to miss time from work or school. Additionally, you can only select the traffic school option once within a 12 month period, and up to five times in your lifetime. The best way to avoid points on your record is to request a trial date for your ticket and then hire a Miami ticket attorney or a Fort Lauderdale ticket attorney to represent you in traffic court. Once your ticket is set for trial, your Miami criminal defense attorney or Broward criminal defense attorney will help you avoid points on your record by attempting to have your ticket dismissed by the traffic court judge. If the ticket can’t be dismissed, your attorney will try to negotiate a deal for you to pay a fine and get a withhold of adjudication, which means you will have no permanent mark on your record, and no points on your driver’s license.
Hiring an attorney to defend your traffic ticket is the most effective and easiest way to avoid points on your driving record and avoid traffic school. And contrary to popular belief, hiring a traffic attorney is inexpensive—in fact, it may very well save you money in the long run since your attorney’s fees will typically be substantially less than the cost of missing work due to your suspended license or having to pay increased car insurance premiums every month due to points on your license.