Florida Visitors Rack up Traffic Tickets

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Florida had over 85 million visitors in 2005, many of them in the summer. They go home with a great tan and in many cases a speeding ticket. And Florida has a policy of reporting these tickets back to the home state of the driver.

While Florida does not track how many of the almost 5 million annual traffic tickets are issued to out of state drivers you can imagine its not uncommon. Many drivers think that they can ignore a ticket received in a state that did not issue their drivers license. But ignoring a traffic ticket can result in bigger fine or license suspension. In many cases this catches a driver by surprise.

The Florida Driver Improvement System

Florida has one of the most forgiving systems in the nation for traffic tickets assuming you know your options and meet the schedule. If you have a Florida drivers license then you can take a Florida traffic school course online, receive no points, and your auto insurance cannot go up. Florida drivers can exercise this option five times in their life for most non-criminal infractions such as speeding or a moving violation.

Out of State Drivers License

If you have an out of state drivers license you may still be able to take traffic school also known as Defensive Driving from a Florida accredited school and receive all the same benefits. When drivers complete a driving course Florida closes the case and the status is recorded as adjudication withheld which means you were not found guilty (or innocent) of the infraction. Each state DMV has its own rules. California for example will recognize the adjudication withheld status from Florida and assign no points to California drivers.

If you are visiting Florida and get a traffic ticket follow these simple steps.

  1. Contact your state DMV office and ask them if they will assign you points for a Florida ticket with a status of adjudication withheld.
  2. If they will it makes sense to complete a traffic school class, which you can do online.
  3. Be sure to pay your traffic citation fine within 30 days and if you are electing defensive driving then inform the clerk at the time of your payment.
  4. Complete your class within the allotted time. Each Florida County Clerk sets their own deadline. Typically you have 60 to 90 days from the date your pay your fine.
  5. Most important is that you do not just forget or ignore the traffic ticket. Your state will hear about it and in many cases it will affect your driving record.

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