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Dealing With Traffic Tickets During COVID-19 in Florida

While Florida is in a state of emergency as a result of widespread Coronavirus concerns, many drivers may find themselves questioning the current state of traffic tickets and related court proceedings.

Take a look at these frequently asked questions regarding the impact of Coronavirus on Florida traffic tickets, and our answers:

What if I was scheduled to appear in court to fight my ticket?

As of March 16th, Florida’s chief justice has suspended all court proceedings that require face-to-face interaction through May 1st. This decision came as a result of social distancing recommendations from state and federal governments, as well as the Safer at Home order put in place by Governor Ron DeSantis, and is meant to limit the spread of Coronavirus. The temporary suspension includes all non-essential matters, jury proceedings and civil and criminal trials – including those involving traffic proceedings.

Because of these restrictions, if you had a court date after March 16th in the state of Florida, you are not required to appear until told otherwise by the state government. In fact, most local courts are pleading with those whose business at the court is non-essential to stay away. To check the status of your local Clerk of Court services, visit https://www.flclerks.com/page/covid-19.

If your original court date fell between March 16th and May 1st, you should expect to receive a notice in the mail with your new court date.

Are traffic tickets still being issued?

At this time, police officers in Florida are proceeding with business as usual when citing traffic violations.

Traffic violations are considered discretionary, meaning the police officer witnessing the violation can choose whether it is dangerous or reckless enough to warrant a ticket. While Florida is in a state of emergency, officers may choose to be more lenient with certain violations like expired registrations or illegal tints. However, these decisions are in the hands of the individual officers.

Officers will, however, be taking extra precautions to ensure their safety and the safety of the public as they issue tickets and respond to violations.

Do I still have to pay the fine for a ticket I received while courts are suspended?

Though in-person interactions at all Florida courts have been suspended, online services are still available on county courts’ websites. Because of this, Floridians are still expected to pay fines within the standard 30-day window. However, most courts are offering payment plans to accommodate those who are unable to pay traffic fines at this time.

What if I plan to fight the traffic ticket I received?

If you received a traffic citation and plan to fight it in court, you must follow the regular guidelines and notify the courts of your plans in writing or online within the 30-day window. It is important to note that failure to respond to a citation, even during the court’s suspension of in-person transactions, is still a punishable offense and could result in heftier fines and the suspension of your driver’s license.

If you have received a traffic ticket during the Coronavirus pandemic and wish to fight it, call The Ticket Clinic for a free consultation at 1-800-CITATION (1-800-248-2846) or hire us online. Our experienced traffic lawyers have resolved over 3,000,000 traffic offenses nationwide since 1987.

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