Traffic tickets are a sure way to ruin your day, but being charged with a criminal traffic ticket comes with a whole host of extra issues, beyond the fine and raised insurance premiums.
Here are answers to all of your burning questions about criminal traffic tickets in Florida.
Most traffic tickets are civil offenses given to pedestrians or motorists by an officer who witnessed them violating a civil traffic law. Civil traffic tickets are usually given for things like running a stoplight or stop sign, making an illegal U-turn, speeding, or crossing the street illegally. There are even non-moving offenses like parking meter violations. (If that was considered a criminal offense, there would be a huge criminal population in Florida.) These types of violations do not come with criminal penalties.
To warrant a criminal charge for a traffic offense, more serious violations would be involved. Common criminal traffic cases include:
Conviction for a motor vehicle criminal offense can result in serious penalties, including the revocation of your driver’s license, time in jail, and heavy fines. DUIs are generally considered to be the most serious among criminal traffic-related charges. The best way to limit the severity of the consequences on your life, your wallet, and your driver’s license is with the help of an experienced criminal traffic violations lawyer.
The guidelines for a ticket to be enforced are very specific here in Florida, so some traffic offenders can get their charges reduced or dropped simply by showing up to their court date. There’s a persistent myth that law enforcement mistakes can get a traffic case automatically dismissed. While that’s not true, addressing the mistake in court can get your case dismissed. If you believe that there were mistakes made by the police officer, your best bet is to hire an attorney and have them evaluate your case.
A good attorney can not only help you challenge mistakes, they can also help you reduce the severity of potential fines and charges, if they can’t get the citation dropped altogether. At Speedy Legal, we have had countless successes in helping clients reduce ticket prices for traffic violations and avoid additional points being added to their license.
Criminal speeding tickets are issued to motorists who were driving well over the speed limit. While a civil speeding ticket can cost you a fine and add three to four points to your driver’s license, a criminal speeding offense can result in a conviction that remains on your record and comes with other consequences.
Potential consequences for criminal speeding vary depending on how far over the posted speed limit you were driving at the time of the ticket. Up to 29 miles per hour over the limit comes with the usual consequences associated with civil tickets, but 30 or more miles per hour over the limit comes with a ticket and a mandatory court appearance. Driving 50 or more mph over the limit can result in your being charged with a felony offense, which means you could be facing a $1,000 fine, court fees, and more points.
If you’ve been convicted of criminal speeding before, you license could be suspended. A second conviction comes with a one-year license suspension, while a third conviction comes with a ten-year suspension. A charge of reckless driving could also be added if you were speeding within a school or construction zone.
If you’ve been charged with criminal speeding, hiring a reckless driving lawyer will give you your best chance of getting the ticket reduced or dismissed altogether.
Florida’s point system assigns values to convictions for various moving violations. Most traffic tickets come with three or four points against your driving record, and these points are cumulative and remain on your record for several years. When too many points are accumulated within a set time frame, your license can be suspended.
Reckless driving earns four points, leaving the scene of an accident earns six, speeding earns three, criminal speeding earns four, and failing to stop at a red light earns three. Racking up 12 points within 12 months would earn you a 30-day suspension, while 18 points in 18 months would mean a three-month suspension. Earning 24 points on your driver’s license within 36 months would result in a one-year suspension of your driving privileges.
To reinstate your license once the suspension period has expired, you must apply, submit proof of enrollment in Advanced Driver Improvement school, and pay a fee.
Rather than simply paying the fine for a ticket, it’s best to try to avoid having the points added to your license by fighting the ticket with the help of a knowledgeable traffic offense lawyer. Having an attorney saves you time and potentially hundreds of dollars, not to mention the price of raised insurance premiums that follow points on your license.
At Speedy Legal, we’ve got years of experience specializing in criminal traffic tickets and can help you fight the charges here in Safety Harbor, FL.