Officer issueing a speeding ticket to a Florida driver

One of the questions we ask everyone before they hire us is “how’s your driving record?”  More often than not, the response is “perfect.

Having come across very few actual “perfect” records, we have learned to ask follow up questions that usually lead to a person saying something like “Well, I have no points on my license,” or “I haven’t had a speeding ticket in years. Both of which are nice to hear, but unfortunately, doesn’t mean that the person has a “perfect” record. It means most people really don’t understand how the driving record system works.

If I asked you “How long does a speeding ticket stay on your record?” would you know the answer?

Well, don’t worry, my job here on this traffic ticket blog isn’t to try and trick you, it’s to educate you.  So here goes.

Your driving record, is your record FOREVER.  That ticket your received when you were 16 . . .it’s on there.  The speeding ticket you thought no one knew about because you went to traffic school . . . it’s on there.

When we run a person’s record, because they swore they never had a ticket, there is always that weird moment, when I bring up a speeding ticket from their past and the response is “Oh, I didn’t think that was still on there.”

Part of the confusion is that the points that you may have received from paying a ticket or from a judge, will only stay on your record for 3 years, but your record is your record forever.

According to the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, speeding ticket violations, where a person elected traffic school, has to stay on the record forever, because the state has to keep track of how many times you went to school.

Other speeding ticket results will be on your record for 75 years (which is essentially forever, because even if you got your speeding ticket at 16, that would mean you’d be 91 when it came off the record and who are we kidding, you probably shouldn’t be driving at 91)

Here’s another question.  “How long does a speeding ticket stay on your record if you hire a traffic attorney to fight it and it gets dismissed?”  HA! That’s a trick question.  By fighting a speeding ticket successfully and getting the case dismissed, it will NEVER appear on your record. 

See why I preach to ALWAYS FIGHT YOUR TICKETS.  So if you have a speeding ticket and think it’s no big deal to just pay it and go to school, think again.  Getting that ticket dismissed is the only way to keep it off your driving record.  That’s why, before you do anything, you should go get a free consultation with a traffic attorney.

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.