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Traffic Program - FAQ

The following is intended for information purposes based on the same type of questions the program receives.  If you have questions, you are advised to consult an attorney for legal advice regarding your ticket and court appearance.  The Clerk's Office and Traffic Magistrates are not permitted to give you legal advice.

Q:  How do I change my court date?
You must go to any courthouse and fill out a Defendant Request form. If it is your first request the Clerk can help you reset your case. If it is a second or more request you must state the reason you need your case reset and attach any supporting documents.   The court will review your request and decide whether or not your date can be changed. Unless and until you receive a court order saying your request was granted, you must attend court at the scheduled date and time.

Q:  Can I send someone like my Mom, Dad, spouse, child, significant other, or relative to court for me?
No. The Notice/Subpoena is for you, the Driver.  The only person who can speak for you in court is your attorney.  If you do not appear, your driver's license will be suspended.

Q:  What if I am out of the country, state or county on my court date or I just cannot physically be in court on my scheduled date and time?
You can get an Affidavit of Defense form from the Clerk of Court or from the Florida Rules of Traffic Court.  Fill it out and post a $75 bond.  The Affidavit takes your place in court.  If you are found not guilty, the $75 bond is refunded.  If you are found guilty, it is applied to your fines and court costs.

Q: What is the difference between fines and court costs?
Court costs are the amount of money it takes to process your case in the system. They must be paid by each case and cannot be waived.  Only a dismissal or acquittal results in no court costs.  A fine is what the court gives you to change your driving behavior and can be from $0 to $2,500 per ticket.  A fine is given in addition to court costs.

Q:  What do I do if I missed my court date?
Don't drive.  You driver's license is most likely suspended.  Go to any courthouse and reset your court date. There is a charge of approximately $18.  Then you have to go to DMV and reinstate your license, there is a charge of approximately $47.  YOU MUST DO BOTH OR YOUR DRIVERS LICENSE IS STILL SUSPENDED AND YOU CANNOT DRIVE.

Q:  What do I do if I tried to pay on-line and hit the wrong button?
Contact the Clerk of Court for assistance.  You may also go to any courthouse and fill out a Defendant Request Form explaining the problem and what solution you want.  The court will review your request and make a decision.  You will be notified in writing of the court's ruling.

Q:  What do I do if I did not complete driving school within the 90 days?
Don't drive.  You driver's license is most likely suspended.  Go to any courthouse and reset your court date, there is a charge of approximately $18. Fill out a Defendant Request Form and ask for an extension to complete school or for the court to accept your late completion of school.  You will be notified in writing of the court's ruling.  Then you have to go to DMV and reinstate your license, there is a charge of approximately $47. YOU MUST DO BOTH OR YOUR DRIVERS LICENSE IS STILL SUSPENDED AND YOU CANNOT DRIVE.

Q:  What happens if I do not pay my court imposed fines/court costs within 60 days?
Don't drive.  You driver's license is most likely suspended.  Go to any courthouse and reset your court date, there is a charge of approximately $18. Then you have to go to DMV and reinstate your license, there is a charge of approximately $47.  YOU MUST DO BOTH OR YOUR DRIVERS LICENSE IS STILL SUSPENDED AND YOU CANNOT DRIVE.

Q: Can I make payments?
Yes.  Payment plans are available from the date of your court date for 60 days. The Clerk of the Court at any location can assist you with setting up a payment schedule you can afford based on your financial circumstances. 
      
Q:  How can I get the points off my driving record?
You can't.  If points are assessed and already on your record they will stay there for 10 years.  Insurance companies are allowed to raise or cancel your insurance rates based on the number of points on your driving record.  If there is a special circumstance, you may fill out a Defendant Request Form and explain the situation to the court.  Attach any relevant documents.  The court will review your request and make a decision.  You will be notified in writing of the court's ruling.

Q:  If I hired an attorney do I need to go to court? I got a blue notice. 
No. Your attorney can appear for you.  You should check with your attorney when you receive the Notice to make sure they will be appearing on your behalf and if they want you to attend. Based upon the facts of your case, your attorney may want you to be present to testify.

Q:  If I change my plea at the Pre-trial session do I still have to go to trial?
No. When you change your plea to no-contest, no trial takes place. Your case is over at the time you enter your plea.

Q: Will my case be dismissed because the Officer is not present?
It depends.  Officers do not attend Pre-trial sessions, so no cases are dismissed for the Officer not attending the plea conference.  Officers are subpoenaed for trial sessions and they do attend.  If the Officer has not requested a reset of your trial, your case could be dismissed or the court could reset the case.

Q: I want to go to trial. Can I bring in photos, diagrams, or videos to show the court?
You can bring in anything that is relevant to your charge or defense.  Relevant items are things that will help the court understand your defense or that prove a part of your defense.  The court may accept or exclude items as it applies the law.

Q: What do I do if I do not agree with the Magistrate's decision in my case?
If you think the decision is legally incorrect, you can, within 30 days, appeal the case to the Circuit Court.  Appeal procedures can be found in the Rules of Court and in the Clerk's office. 
 
Q: Are Traffic court cases recorded?
No. If you want a record you will need a tape recorder or court reporter transcript.

Q: Do I need to appear in court to contest my parking ticket?

No. You may write your defense and submit it prior to the hearing date.  Your written statement will take the place of your personal appearance.


Q: Can I appeal the decision the Magistrate made on my parking ticket?
No. The parking hearing is the appeal.  Parking tickets are not charged under State statute like traffic tickets.  They are violations of city or county ordinances and come into court with the presumption that the violation occurred.  At the hearing you must convince the Magistrate that the parking ticket is not valid.