old woman judge

As I was sitting in court today I had an opportunity to watch not only the other traffic attorneys, but the unrepresented people (that would be the people who choose to fight a ticket themselves and not hire a lawyer), and I noticed something interesting.  Anyone can get ONE traffic ticket dismissed.  Here’s how.

Continue reading “How To Get Traffic Tickets Dismissed in Florida”
teddy bear wearing a seat belt

The question of whether you can get pulled over by a police officer for not wearing a seat belt gets asked quite a bit by clients, and because the law has flip flopped, I can understand the confusion.  Prior to 2009, if a police officer saw you driving without your seat belt, he could not pull you over. You could have waved to him with your seat belt off and there wasn’t much he could do about it.

But in 2009, then Governor Charlie Crist signed into law the ability for police to pull you over if you are not wearing your seat belt.  In doing this, seat belt enforcement went from what’s called “secondary” enforcement to “primary” enforcement.

Now we all like to think the Governor was looking out for the residents of Florida because we all know seat belts save lives and by allowing officers to pull people over, the hope was that more people would buckle up and stay alive.

The reality is, that was probably a nice byproduct, but I’m sure the real reason was that by changing the law, Florida became eligible to receive up to 35 million dollars to promote highway safety.

“What did they do with all this money”, you may ask?  Well, let’s look at two things that we all know promote highway safety that they didn’t do.  They didn’t bring back auto inspections that would get all these cars with bald tires, no windshield wipers and no working headlights off the roads.  Additionally, they didn’t repeal the law that lets people ride motorcycles without helmets.

Oh well, so much for public safety.

Of course, back in 2009 (all of three years ago), seat belt tickets only cost $30, which seemed reasonable.  However, much has changed in the past few years, and what seemed quaint like a $30 fine has now gone up. . . . wait for it . . . .almost 400%.

Yes, you read that right.  In less than 3 years, a ticket for not wearing your seat belt has gone up 400%!!!!!!!  This was during the worse economic period in our lifetime.

The truth is, a seat belt ticket, if it’s the only ticket you receive is around $120.00, but it doesn’t carry points, as it’s a non-moving violation, so you should just go ahead and pay it.

However, if your seat belt ticket came with a moving violation that carries points, and you would like to fight it, please feel free to give us a call for a FREE consultation regarding your case.

cartoon that says don't pay that ticket

Regardless of what our government would have us believe, these are tough times, and they don’t look like they are going to be getting better anytime soon.

No one seems to have any extra money laying around, and the last thing anyone needs is an unexpected speeding ticket with a bill that can easily exceed $250.00. If you were unlucky enough to get pulled over, (and you didn’t read my article giving you tips on how to avoid getting a ticket if you are pulled over by the police), you’re probably wondering how you’re going to manage to pay for it.

Well, what if you didn’t have to pay for it at all or could delay paying it for almost a year? Would you want to know how to get out of paying a speeding ticket? And this tip isn’t just for speeding tickets, it’s for all traffic tickets issued in Florida.

As you know, when you get a ticket in Florida, you only get 30 days to tell the court how you wish to proceed.

Basically, you can pay the ticket within 30 days and get points. You can pay the ticket within 30 days, elect traffic school and pay for that as well. Or you can choose option 3, which is to fight your ticket.

In past articles, I’ve given many reasons why I feel fighting a ticket is your best option. Most of the reasons are based on not getting points on your license (which will cause your insurance to increase), and the intense desire of most people to avoid attending traffic school (and having to pay for the school).

However, never have I explained how choosing to fight your speeding ticket could also have an immediate economic benefit. Here’s why.

Most of the courts are backed up as a result of layoffs at the clerk’s office, and because they have more tickets than they can process, are not setting matters for court until 2-3 months after the citation was written. What that means for you, is that you can get out of paying for your speeding ticket for the first 29 days by going to the clerk’s office and having your matter set for trial, and then you will also not have to pay it for the next 2-3 months while you wait for a court date.

In other words, the day before your ticket is due, if you elect to fight your speeding ticket (by pleading “not guilty”), you will not have to pay for it. Your matter will be set down for court and you will get a letter in the mail with an upcoming court date (usually 2-3 months after the date you plead “not guilty”).

Now in Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach Counties, the first court date is your pre-trial conference, not your trial. Technically, you can delay having to pay for your ticket for ANOTHER 2-3 months by attending your pre-trial conference and maintaining your plea of “not guilty.”

Your matter will be set for trial and then you have 2-3 months before you have some decisions to make. So for your scorecard at home, so far, you’ve delayed having to pay anything for 4-6 months from the date you received your ticket. Not bad.

I would hope that during this time you’ve been saving your money, because at some point, you may have to pay the piper. I say “may,” because so far all you’ve done is delay your paying of your speeding ticket.

The final decision on what to do, now must be made. Do you want to walk into the clerk’s office and tell them you’ve changed your mind and want to pay it? If so, you will have to pay the original amount and take the points (not my first suggestion, but hey, at least you’ve been able to keep your money an additional 4-6 months after the original deadline, so stop complaining).

However, you can also decide to stick with your decision to fight your ticket (my suggestion for most tickets). This can be done by yourself or with an experienced traffic attorney. If you’re not sure if you should pay it or fight it, you can read this article I wrote.

Most traffic attorneys will represent you for less than $100 and in many cases, either get your matter thrown out (in which case you’ll pay nothing for the ticket), or reduce the amount you would have had to pay and keep the points off and keep you out of traffic school.

But here’s another benefit. By fighting your ticket, if you do have to pay court costs, you will usually get additional time to pay. So, in theory, if you’ve pushed everything off by fighting your ticket, you may not have to pay that speeding ticket for up to 7-9 months after you received it. By then, hopefully, you’ll be in a better position to make the payment.

Final note in all this, whatever you do, don’t ask for a continuance unless there is a valid reason why you need one. By asking for, and receiving a continuance, you’ve eliminated one of your defenses if you choose to fight the ticket. If you want to know which one, click the link below about how to get out of a speeding ticket.

If you’ve decided to fight the ticket and want a traffic attorney to assist you, my office will be happy to give you a FREE consultation at 866-374-8355.

CLICK HERE FOR MORE GREAT TIPS ON HOW TO GET OUT OF A SPEEDING TICKET

man standing in front of question marks

Hiring an attorney for a traffic matter should be done in the same manner as hiring anyone to do anything for you.  You must ask questions BEFORE the job begins so you know what you are getting into.  Don’t wait until the after the money changes hands before you think of things to ask. 

Here’s 5 questions you must ask BEFORE you hire a Broward County Traffic Attorney. (with some bonus material thrown in)

  1. How long have you been fighting traffic tickets?
  2. How many traffic tickets have you done?
  3. Do you guarantee anything?
  4. What’s this going to cost?
  5. Who will actually appear in court on my behalf and what does that person know about my case?

How long a person has been practicing law in a specific area is very important.  But length of time is only part of the equation.  Experience comes not only from the number of years, but more importantly, in the number of citations defended.  In many ways, that is the more important number.  So don’t be fooled by asking one question about experience.  Both are important.

The next two also go together, as you absolutely must know what the costs are going to be and essentially what you are getting for your money.  Is the price you are being asked to pay the same that was quoted on the phone or from the advertisment you saw?  Here’s an insider tip, most attorneys use bait and switch to advertise a fee that is not the fee you will pay once you call.  I mean seriously, do you honestly think you are going to get an attorney to go to court for $5.00? (a fee I’ve seen on some mail advertisements)  Here’s a better question, do you think you should hire an attorney that begins your relationship with a sneaky, sleazy sales tactic that is often used by car dealers? 

In addition to the cost, you should find out if there will be a money back guarantee.  Many attorneys make a guarantee of no points or your money back, but not all guarantees are equal.  Make sure you ask what the guarantee is before you spend your money.  Additionally, make sure it is written very simply (a sentence or two) and that you fully understand what it is you are signing (that should go for anything you sign). 

Finally, you should ask who will be the actual attorney who will appear on your behalf in court AND how much that attorney will know about your case.  Here’s another little insider tip, there are four courthouses that handle traffic tickets in Broward County (and many more in Dade and Palm Beach County).  It is impossible for one attorney to cover all of them at the same time.  Almost all attorneys hire other attorneys to cover the cases they can’t attend.  There is nothing wrong with that IF the attorney who is covering the case has EXACTLY THE SAME EXPERIENCE AND INFORMATION as your attorney that you hired.  Sadly, that is not always the case. 

Imagine if you hired a noted surgeon to perform brain surgery and when you were being wheeled in, your doctor was someone who was not who you hired (and didn’t have the same experience or knowledge about your problem). 

It’s the same thing when you take your time and energy to hire the attorney you feel comfortable with and explain all the facts of your case in detail; and then, the day of your trial, an attorney right out of law school with no more information than your name and courtroom date and time “defends” you.  Believe me, I see it happen all the time.

Therefore, you should ask in the beginning, who will handle the case if the attorney will not.

These are just 5 important questions, but there are more.  Feel free to subscribe to this blog so you won’t miss further tips and important information.