CLERK OF COURT & COMPTROLLER
HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY, FLORIDA
What are your Civil Traffic Ticket Options?
PAY: By paying the civil penalty, you are admitting guilt. The Florida Department of Motor Vehicles will assess points on your driving record (or share the information with the out-of-state authority that issued your driver's license) for moving violations. You have up to 60 calendar days from the date the traffic ticket was issued to pay the entire penalty. There are no options for extending the payment period, as you were already automatically granted a 30 calendar day extension. If you do not pay for the ticket within the 60 calendar days, your penalties will increase and your driver's license may be suspended.
SCHOOL: If you are eligible for, and select, pay for and complete an approved driving school (also known as traffic school or the Basic Driver Improvement Course), adjudication (judgment) is withheld, the cost of the ticket is changed, and the Florida Department of Motor Vehicles will not assess points against your driving record. Your auto insurance cannot be increased and your policy cannot be cancelled if you successfully complete driving school. A course certificate of completion provided by the driving school* must be returned to this Clerk's Office within 60 calendar days from the date that the ticket was issued. There are no options to extend the time you have to complete driving school and pay for the ticket. You might not be eligible for driving school, depending on your driving history. Florida allows the driving school election once in a 12-month period and no more than five times in your lifetime. If you have a Commercial Driver's License (CDL) or you were operating a commercial vehicle at the time, you cannot opt for driving school. You cannot opt for driving school if your ticket was for a driver's license, insurance or vehicle registration violation. You must elect driving school within 30 calendar days from the date the ticket was issued; if you fail to elect driving school within that 30 day time frame, you will have to pay the full penalty and be assessed points. If you do not complete and your school* does not submit the school completion certificate to the Clerk by the deadline, your penalties will increase, you will be adjudicated as guilty, and you will be assessed points. If you do not pay the additional penalties from not completing driving school, your driver's license may be suspended until those payments have been received by the Clerk's Office.
*Effective July 1, 2019, driver improvement course providers must submit the B1 Basic Drive Improvement course completion information electronically to the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles within five (5) days after the course is successfully completed. Course providers then have three (3) days to submit the information to the Clerk of the Circuit Court of the county where the citation is issued. It is your responsibility to ensure the school electronically submitted your certificate. School completion certificates for the 8 hour Basic Driver Improvement, Advanced Driver Improvement, DUI and DUI Level II must be submitted to our office within 60 days. Failure to ensure that the school completion certificate was submitted will result in the suspension of your driving privileges, points being assessed to your record, and assessments of additional costs. You can check online 24/7/365 to see if the Clerk received your certificate. If it is not shown as received, you must contact your school and ask them to submit it electronically.
COURT: If you decide to challenge the traffic ticket in court, you are making a plea of not guilty. Once you request a court hearing, you give up your right to pay the civil penalty amount and you give up your right to elect the driving school option. If you are found guilty, you might, in some cases, be fined up to $1,000 plus court costs. You will also be responsible for your attorney's fees. You must request a court hearing within 30 calendar days from the date the ticket was issued. If you wait until after the 30 calendar days to request a court hearing, you must pay late fees and suspension fees before a court hearing date will be scheduled. If you request a court hearing, you need to let the Clerk's Office know if your address changes -- your hearing notices and court information are mailed to your last known address. If you fail to appear in court on the day, time and location of the hearing, your penalties may increase and your driver's license may be suspended. There is no option to select the court hearing date of your choice; you will be scheduled for the next available date.
NO SELECTION: If you do not make a selection of pay, school or court within 30 calendar days from the date your ticket was issued, the only option available to you is to pay the traffic ticket penalty in full within 60 calendar days from the date your ticket was issued and be assessed points.
Now that you know what your options are with this type of traffic ticket, here are links on how to resolve the ticket.