If you drive long enough, eventually you will see flashing blue lights in your rear view mirror. It’s unavoidable. You know it’s true. In fact, you should probably consider yourself lucky you don’t get more tickets. If you’re being honest, you are like most people in that you probably do something wrong every time you get behind the wheel.Continue reading “Worst Thing To Do When You Get A Traffic Ticket”
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”
One of the most frequent questions we are asked is from panic-stricken clients who call us with fear dripping from their voices. They ask, “What happens if I miss the deadline to pay a ticket?” Well, we’re happy to say the world doesn’t end. However, missing a deadline is not good and will eventually result in negative consequences. But all is not lost.
Depending on how badly you missed your deadline, you can still fight the ticket. It just may cost a little more.
All the options you had initially: 1. Pay the ticket and take the points. 2. Pay the ticket and go to traffic school, or 3. Fight the ticket — may still available to you depending on the county. Most Florida counties will still work with you up to 180 days after the date of incident.
Better than that, you still have time to hire a traffic ticket attorney to fight on your behalf. Who, if he or she does their job right, can usually get the best possible outcome. No Fines, No Points, and No Court Costs.
Remember, traffic citations are big business in Florida. The state wants you to pay the traffic ticket without making a fuss. They’re happy taking your money within 30 days or, even better, the higher amount for a late payment.
Just because the “deadline” for paying a ticket has passed, don’t let the higher amount scare you into paying and running without thinking through your options.
What you absolutely have to remember if you haven’t paid the ticket by the due date is that you MUST TAKE ACTION IMMEDIATELY. The worst thing to do is continue ignoring it. If you do, a simple speeding traffic ticket turns into a major headache. Here’s how:
By doing nothing, the state will eventually suspend your driver’s license. That could actually result in your getting arrested. If you are stopped by police for any reason and they find that you have a suspended license you can be thrown in jail.
The key is not to let your traffic ticket get to that point. The good news is that just because you are “late,” it doesn’t mean you have to pay or face going to jail.
To recap, the best thing to do is take action by contacting an attorney who specializes in traffic tickets and get a handle on the situation.
Unger and Kowitt will be glad to talk and walk you through your options. Call us at 866-374-8355.
One of the first phone calls I received after graduating from law school was from a friend of mine who said, “I just signed a contract, can I fax it to you to take a look at it?.” Of course, my answer was “No” because there was no point in me looking over something that had already been signed. What could I have done if I saw things I wanted to change? It was too late, as the document had already been signed.
When I decided to focus on becoming a Traffic Ticket Attorney, I soon realized I would have the same problem. People called me all the time and asked if there was anything they could do with the ticket they just paid.
Unfortunately, my answer was also “No” because once you pay a ticket, you are either going to get points, or you are going to have to attend traffic school, or you are going to end up paying a hefty fine.
Again, too many people were too late. So, I’m hoping this article catches you BEFORE you make the mistake of just paying it.
One of the reasons I chose to become a Traffic Ticket Attorney was the opportunity to help as many people as I could. I’ve been very fortunate over the years to have helped hundreds of thousands of clients with all types of traffic ticket related matters. Of course, in almost all of those situations, the client contacted me before taking an action that could not be undone.
Therefore, when you or someone you love gets a ticket (and let’s be honest, it’s really a question of when, not if) whatever you do, don’t rush into anything. For most tickets in Florida, you are given 30 days before you have to decide what to do.
By all means, take your entire 30 days. There’s no prize for deciding early.
As long as you don’t wait until the time has expired (which might mean that you have to pay more money, but not that you can’t still fight the ticket), you will be in the exact same boat if you decide to fight the traffic ticket the day you received it or the last day you were still eligible to notify the court of your decision.
So, now that we’ve established that you have time, let’s discuss what you should do with the time.
The first thing I tell people is to take a deep breath. Forget about the ticket for the rest of the day (if you can). Getting all upset and letting it negatively affect the rest of your day is not going to help you make the situation better.
In fact, when you go to sleep and wake up to realize the planets didn’t collide and the world kept spinning, you will probably have the ticket in a little better perspective.
It’s not the end of the world, just something you have to deal with.
And deal with it you will. By doing the very first thing I always recommend, which is doing a little bit of research into finding a local traffic ticket attorney in your area.
Let’s be honest. Who knows more about the ticket you received and what you can expect than a traffic ticket attorney? If you call the right one.
As much as we all have a friend who “swears” he’s got a guy who knows a guy who’s mother is best friends with the chief of police and gets all of his tickets dismissed, there’s just no better resource for your ticket than a local traffic ticket attorney who goes to court every day doing nothing but tickets.
The last part of that sentence was very important because believe it or not, there are plenty of attorneys who put “traffic ticket attorney” on their marketing material, but don’t really do this as a major or exclusive part of their practice. They put that down to try and make a few extra dollars by taking cases they plan on passing off to someone at the last minute who doesn’t really have your best interest at heart. That’s not the kind of Traffic Ticket Attorney I’m talking about.
Before you hire ANY traffic ticket attorney, you must read a post I wrote that will give you the 5 questions you must ask BEFORE hiring a traffic ticket attorney. Only then will you be prepared to make the best decision that’s right for you.
Basically, any honest traffic ticket attorney should tell you what will happen to you if you pay the ticket, pay the ticket and elect traffic school, or what will probably happen to you if you fight the ticket.
Only by knowing your options can you decide what to do. Many times, my office ends up telling people to just pay the ticket because there’s no sense to hire an attorney for some matters. We are in the business of helping people and the right decision is obvious when you consider all the options.
My office offers a FREE CONSULTATION with an attorney (not just a secretary) to anyone who calls our office at 866-374-8355. Go ahead and call, you might learn something for FREE.
We’ve all been there. Not exactly sure where we’re going, looking on both sides of the street for an address, and when we spot it, it’s on the other side of the street and we’re going in the opposite direction away from it.
And, of course, we’re late.
What to do?
You quickly weigh your options, look around and decide to do it.
An Illegal U-turn.
As you sit waiting for the cars to pass so you can turn, you again take a quick look around, and turn the wheel as fast as you can hoping not to get caught.
But, I ask you, do you know if the U-turn you just made was legal or illegal? Do you know how to tell the difference?
In actuality, in Florida, it’s fairly easy to tell. Most U-turns are, in fact, legal.
Here’s what you need to know.
The Florida Statute on U-turns is 316.1515 and it’s very short and easy to read.
Basically, what it says is that you can make a turn in the opposite direction (a U-turn), on any street, as long as it can be made safely and without interfering with the other traffic.
However, there is also one additional thing to consider.
You have to make sure there is no sign saying that you cannot make a U-turn. Sometimes they use fancy language and say things like “U-turn Prohibited” and sometimes it’s a picture of an arrow in the direction of the U-turn you are about to make along with one of those red circles with the line through it, made famous from the movie Ghostbusters.
At any rate, the sign is really the main thing to look out for. No sign, you should be OK, as long as you do it safely and don’t get in anyone’s way. Watch out for pedestrians as well. Sometimes, they are walking along and don’t expect a car to make a U-turn.
The worst thing to happen, is that you get the ticket for making an illegal U-turn. Not only will you be even later to your appointment, but if you don’t fight the ticket and just pay it, you will end up with points on your license.
As a reader of this blog, you know how I feel about just paying a ticket and taking points (hint: always fight your tickets).
If you received a ticket for an illegal U-turn and want to fight it with a traffic attorney whose law firm has fought over 500,000 tickets, feel free to call 866-374-8355.
Nothing can ruin your day faster than seeing flashing blue lights pull up behind you.
You go through a range of emotions starting at disbelief (Is he pulling me over?) to shock (You can’t be serious?) to denial (I wasn’t doing anything wrong) to despair (This sucks) to anger (I’m fighting this with my traffic attorney) all in the time it takes you to pull to the side of the road and hand over your license.
All of those emotions are perfectly normal, but what many people are confused about is what to do when stopped by police. Because when the police pull you over, there is a certain protocol you should follow to ensure your safety and that of the officer.
Running out of your car screaming, “It wasn’t me, didn’t you see the other guy!” generally isn’t recommended. In fact, sudden movements are generally a big no-no, especially at night when there is less visibility.
What’s important to keep in mind is that the more comfortable you appear and you make the police officer feel the more likely you may get a reduced ticket, or no ticket at all.
Here’s a short list to teach you what to do when you are stopped by the police.
- Slowly and safely pull over to the side of the road.
- Stay in your vehicle unless instructed to get out.
- Don’t make any sudden movements. Keep your hands in plain sight.
- If you have any weapons in the car, it’s always better for the officer to hear it now, instead of discovering it after the car’s been searched.
- Don’t unbuckle your seat belt. If you need to unbuckle it or move to get something out of the car, ask permission. (If you unbuckle it too early, you may get a ticket for not wearing a seat belt)
- Last, and this is up to you, you may want to consider turning on your cell phone camera to record everything. I’m not sure what good it would serve, but if the officer testifies in court that you had a bad attitude, this may be used as evidence to the contrary.
Always remember to be polite and respectful. It never hurts and you just might find yourself getting lucky and not getting a ticket after all.
ARTICLE UPDATE: 2/25/19
Since this post was written, much has been happening in the Red Light Camera Ticket world. First of all, the Florida Supreme Court ruled in Jimenez v. State, on May 3, 2018, that the cities are within their rights to have these cameras installed and issue tickets. As soon as that ruling came down, it caused a huge blow to our (and all attorneys) ability to fight them. Basically, once that ruling came down, the courts had to allow the cities to write tickets and it made it nearly impossible to fight them successfully.
Now, I say it’s almost impossible to fight “successfully” it is because it has always been our philosophy at Unger & Kowitt to only charge people money to fight them IF we firmly believe that we can beat them and get them thrown out. Once that ruling came down, it became obvious that Courts were no longer going to allow the attorneys to make motions or arguments to get cases thrown out. Therefore, in almost every instance, we stopped handling these types of cases.
The one exception is if you received a Red Light Camera Ticket and forgot about it, or missed your deadline to pay the $158. If that did happen to you, your notice of violation automatically turned into a Uniform Traffic Citation and now you must pay $277.00 AND you will receive a mark on your driving record. We are fighting those mainly to keep the adjudication from appearing on your driving record, which we can do. But again, if you have the option of paying $158, we still recommend that at the moment because it’s the better and cheaper option.
If you notice, I did write “at the moment” because as you write this, new challenges are being made to the way some cities are ticketing drivers. Mainly, those making a right turn on red, and I believe those will be successful soon. As soon as that’s the case, I will blog again and keep you posted.
In the giant scheme of things, getting a traffic ticket for running a red light, doesn’t have to ruin your day. In fact, as I tell my clients if this is the worst thing that has happened to you, you’re doing pretty good. It’s all about perspective. In fact, you might look at it as a slight reminder to slow down, take an extra 5 minutes, smell the roses sort of thing.
Sure getting a ticket is annoying, but it doesn’t have to be the huge pain you might think. And it doesn’t have to mean a pain in the wallet either. The first thing you need to do is determine what type of ticket you received.
A ticket for running a red light can come in two forms. You can either get a ticket from an officer who pulls you over, or you can get a camera ticket in the mail. They are both different and must be dealt with differently.
A traffic ticket from a police officer carries points and is a more “traditional” type of ticket. The police officer pulls up behind you, turns on the flashing lights, and your heart sinks. As he slowly walks over to your car, all you can think of is how to try and get out of it (by the way, that topic is covered here). Unfortunately, in most instances, you can’t get out of it and are stuck with the ticket.
No worries, really, it’s going to be okay.
You have three options, but two of them aren’t in your best interest. As I’ve written about before, you can either pay it and get points, pay it and go to school, or fight it. Whether you fight it with a traffic attorney or fight it by yourself, fighting a ticket is the only way to get it dismissed. There are legal defenses that can be used for running a red light, only by fighting your ticket, can you take advantage of them.
Now the other type of ticket you can get for running a red light is from a camera. These “camera” tickets are the latest and greatest (according to the cities that put them in and have them generating revenue 24/7) but have loads of constitutional issues that make them unpopular (and, if you ask me, illegal too).
In Florida, one of the ways the legislature was able to pass these red-light cameras through, was to take the element of points out of them. So, even if you pay it, you will not get points. That’s the good news. The bad news is that if you pay it within 30 days, you will pay $158.00 (ouch) and if you pay it 30 days after that, you will have to pay $277.00 (double ouch).
Of course, just like a red light ticket from an officer, the way to avoid paying the fine is to fight it. Successfully fighting a red light camera ticket is different than fighting a ticket from an officer, but it can be done. In fact, we do it all the time.
There are a whole host of issues that can be raised with a camera ticket ranging from whose name is on the vehicle registration, who was driving, who is the owner, was the driver turning or just flying right through?
The important thing to remember is that just because you were pulled over, or received a ticket in the mail, doesn’t mean you have to let it ruin your day (or your insurance premium).
Knowing you can fight it, and knowing that you aren’t stuck with the points, will go a long way towards your peace of mind. There are too many more important things out there to really worry about.
One of my main goals on this blog is to educate the public on all things relating to traffic tickets. Part of that goal sometimes requires me to let you in on the “dirty little secrets” being propagated when I learn about them.
Well, I was recently reminded of something that has been going on in this industry for a while and it’s time you learned the truth.
When you hire a traffic lawyer, your ultimate goal should be to have your traffic ticket dismissed. There’s no shame in that. It’s what you’re paying for. As a traffic attorney for over 17 years, I am painfully aware that it is my client’s and my firm’s number one goal.
However, as much as we try, there isn’t an attorney in the world who handles traffic tickets that gets them all dismissed. But if you read some of the letters sent by some traffic attorneys to their clients after their case was resolved, you would think some of these attorneys get every case dismissed.
But here’s the rub: One attorney’s version of a traffic ticket dismissal is another’s change of plea. Confused yet? I’m not surprised.
Oh what a tangled web we weave when we first practice to deceive. (Somewhere my 9th grade english teacher is smiling)
What I have always known, but couldn’t verify (until recently) is that some traffic attorneys are changing the plea of their clients in court from “not guilty” to “nolo contendere” (no contest) and receiving court costs in exchange.
In and of itself, that’s no big deal, but here’s the dirty little secret. Those attorneys are telling their clients they got their traffic ticket dismissed.
Liar, Liar, Pants on Fire!!! (somewhere my 6 year old is smiling)
Wow! These attorneys are lying to their clients all in an attempt to garner some goodwill or positive feedback. The troubling part is many clients don’t even know they’ve been lied to. They inform me their prior attorney got their last speeding ticket dismissed and they only had to pay court costs of $200.00
Here it is in plain English folks. If your traffic ticket is dismissed, you do not have to pay anything to the court.
Nada, Zilch, Nothing.
It’s like it never happened. There will be no record of it because it was dismissed. In a perfect world, you’d get a letter from the police officer and the clerk’s office apologizing for wasting your time.
Sorry to burst your bubble, but if you pay money to the clerk’s office, your traffic ticket was not dismissed. In addition to paying the money to the clerk’s office, you also have a mark on your driving record (which you wouldn’t have if it was dismissed). This can be troubling if you have done this multiple times as your driving record is not as clean as you think it is.
I’d love to tell you the attorney probably just made a mistake when he notified you of your result, but then I’d be lying too.
If you have a ticket and want an honest assessment of your case and possible outcome, give me a call at 866-374-8355.