So, you’ve got yourself a traffic ticket in Florida. Congratulations on joining a special club that stretches from Pensacola to Miami – and to plenty of tourists as well!
The Sunshine State may even lead the country in terms of numbers of speeding tickets, according to the National Motorists Association. And it makes sense — drivers can encounter everything from theme park parking lots as large as some states; some of the most crowded urban interstates in the country, and all sorts of coastal highways and byways where it’s easier to watch the beautiful scenery instead of a rapidly-rising speedometer.
What to do with your Florida Traffic Ticket
Do not pay it right away. You have 30 days to think over your options. But don’t wait too long, after 30 days, the state begins applying fines and other possible penalties!
Paying can, however, lead to more “points” on your license. Too many points over a certain amount of time can lead to a suspension or revocation of your license from Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles. If you’re at this point or getting close, consider finding an online traffic school, which can reduce the number of points.
You will also however, have to pay the ticket along with attending traffic school. Luckily, Florida makes it easy to pay tickets. Payment can be mailed in, dropped off at a county courthouse or a state Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles office, or online in some counties.
Steps To Pay Online Payments
Step 1. Check County
Check County with the county where the ticket was incurred if this service is available. If you can’t remember, the county name and instructions will be printed on the ticket. If you can’t find your ticket, contact the county where you believe it happened, and they’ll assist and either send you a reprint or at least tell you the payment procedure.
Step 2. Check Clerk List
Look at list of all 67 county clerk offices, provided by Florida’s Division of Library and Information Services. Here, you can get a geographic address, phone number and other contact information, such as email, fax or web site. The list doesn’t say whether any particular office offers online payment; this requires browsing or calling the office to ask about payment, the process and what site to visit.
Counties that do offer online processing make it fairly easy to find this information, such as Bay County, which provides a well-organized menu of fees and services, everything from license reinstatement costs to late fees.
As with most legal situations, the burden to properly comply is up to the person with facing the penalty, so excuses like “my email bounced back” or “my Internet was down” are rarely adequate.
3. Provide Info
If a county can securely process online payments through its site, it generally requests information from ticket-holders such as:
• Your valid recognized credit card
• Your ticket citation number and other information about it (day/time)
• Your driver’s license info
• Your full name
• The amount to be paid
Counties may also charge their own surcharge for local court/processing fees beyond the standard citation fee. This is usually no more than a few dollars.
By the way, those who don’t want to pay their ticket online, or at all, don’t have too many good options. Ignoring it can lead to a suspension of your license within a month and bigger fines as time goes by.
You can also contest it, which includes requesting a hearing, calling witnesses, discussing the law and presenting evidence on your behalf to a judge. It can be time-consuming and ultimately more expensive in terms or time and effort, even if it’s dismissed.