So you got pulled over. Now, you’re wondering how to make this whole ordeal as minimally painful as possible. And that means you might be looking for a way to dismiss your Florida traffic ticket.
We’ve got good news and bad news. Good news: some tickets are ultra-easy to dismiss in the Sunshine State. Bad news: others will require you to fight it out in court. (But we’ll give you an alternate way to minimize your headache if you’d have a court battle ahead of you.)
Learn all of your options to dismiss a traffic ticket in Florida — or at least make it as cheap and convenient as possible.
In an ideal world, you’ll get your ticket dismissed entirely. That means it won’t go onto your record, so you won’t have to worry about points on your license or an auto insurance premium increase. But your ability to get your ticket dismissed depends on why you got the ticket in the first place.
Certain tickets are a breeze to dismiss. On the statewide uniform traffic citation template, you can see that Option 2 on the right lists a few cases when you can dismiss your ticket relatively simply. If you’ve got the valid documents but you just couldn’t show proof at the time, you’re in luck if you got a ticket for any of these offenses:
All you need to do is go to the Clerk of Court and show proof that you have what you need. So if you got ticketed for expired tags, you’ll need to show your current ones. Or if you got ticketed for an invalid driver’s license, you’ll need to show your current, valid one.
You don’t quite get off scot-free. You’ll need to pay a dismissal fee to the Clerk, but don’t sweat. It’s usually $5 to $10.
Unless you got ticketed for the paperwork mixup we just explored, the only way to get your ticket dismissed is to fight it in court. You can show up for your court date by yourself and hope the officer who ticketed you doesn’t show. In most cases, the judge will then dismiss your ticket.
But that usually only works for minor tickets. For more serious violations, you’ll want to lawyer up.
If you don’t want to go through a court battle, there’s another way you can at least minimize the headache (and cost) for yourself: elect to go to driver improvement school.
If your ticket wasn’t a criminal violation and you don’t have a commercial driver’s license, you can take an affordable, 4-hour basic driver improvement course. When you finish the course, the points from the ticket won’t go on your license and your car insurance company can’t raise your premiums (unless you’ve had another ticket recently or were speeding by 15+mph). Plus, you can take your driving course online and at your own convenience.
Something to keep in mind: if you fight your ticket in court and lose your case, you won’t be able to take the driver improvement course for lessened penalties.
Ultimately, though, you don’t need to panic if you just got a Florida traffic ticket. You’ve got options.