Are You Eligible for School?
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Receiving a traffic ticket is probably not your most pleasant experience. Now that you have one, what are your options? What is Traffic School? How long do you have to make your decision? Should you "elect" to take a 4 hour Basic Driver Improvement (BDI) course? Or should you just pay the fine and forget about it?
First, you need to consider the Points associated with your ticket and the financial consequences of accepting the Points. Points are important for two reasons.
Now that we know why Points are important, you have three options available to you. You will need to make a decision about what you intend to do and notify the County Court within 30 days of receiving your citation.
|The 4 Hour Traffic School Class is Mandatory for a Red Light Ticket, Passing a Stopped School
Bus, Racing on a Highway (Participant or Spectator), and Reckless Driving .. see more
Option 1 -- Accept the Points and Pay the Full Fine
If you take this option, you will pay the full amount of the fine. Additionally, if you do not "Elect" to attend a Defensive Driver Improvement Course, the points associated with the citation go on your driving record for 36 months and while you do not have to appear in Traffic Court, you are automatically adjudicated "Guilty".
Option 2 -- "Elect" to Attend a Defensive Driving School Class and receive Zero Points
Within 30 days of receiving your Citation, select the Defensive Driving School (DDS) Option (commonly called Traffic School). This will notify the court you will be attending a Certified School like Nations to take your 4 hour Traffic Ticket Class (officially known as the 4 Hour BDI Class), adjudication is automatically "withheld" and no points are added to your record.
Florida gives you an added incentive for selecting the DDS Option. By State Law, attending a Defensive Driver Improvement class prohibits your insurance company from raising your rates or refusing to renew your policy if there was no accident.
Keep in mind, when you choose the Traffic School Option, you must attend and successfully complete the 4 hour class within 60 days of your citation. (Some Florida Counties permit 90 days - check with your County Courts Offices). Upon completion of the class, you simply provide the Completion Certificate to the Traffic Court.
Nations recommends you attend a Traffic School Class within the first 30 days of receiving your ticket. This will allow you to pay the fine and provide a Defensive Driving School Course Completion Certificate with your payment.
Option 3 -- Go to Traffic Court
You notify the County within 30 days of your citation that you want to attend Traffic Court. On your scheduled day of Arraignment, you will have the opportunity to enter a Plea of "Not Guilty" "Guilty", or "No Contest". If you decide to plea "Not Guilty" at your arraignment, you return to court on another day for the judge to hear testimony from the Police Officer and yourself.
Attending a Traffic School is your smartest choice financially. Accepting the Points will cause most insurance companies to raise your rates from 10% to 25%, and you will continue to pay that increase for 3 years.
Consider this. If you currently pay $100 per month for insurance and your rates are increased 15%, you will pay an additional $180.00 per year. Over the 3 year period the Points stay on your driving record, it will cost you $540.00 or more in additional insurance payments. That is generally more than the actual fine!
Elect Defensive Driving School Option -- It's the smart choice! Don't compound your financial costs when you receive a ticket. Attending a 4 hour BDI class saves your Florida "SAFE DRIVER" Status, plus Florida Law guarantees your insurance rates can not be increased because of your traffic ticket .. if there was no collision. If there was a collision, call your Insurance Company. Many will raise your rates less if you go to a class, plus you get the benefit of no points being added to your record.