Yes, but only for first-time arraignment dates (criminal and civil infraction hearings). All other requests must be directly made through the appropriate judge.
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A criminal traffic or misdemeanor charge requires a court appearance and carries with it criminal penalties that may include a fine and/or the possibility of a jail term. Payment of a criminal traffic ticket cannot be automatically made to the Clerk’s office. Persons charged with a criminal offense, if not given a court date at the jail, will need to come to the Clerk’s office and set a court date or will be notified by mail.
A civil traffic infraction is a non-criminal charge, such as a speeding violation, that can usually be disposed of by payment of a civil penalty or an election to attend a basic driver improvement course. A court appearance is not required, except in cases where the violation involves an accident with serious bodily injury or fatality to another. Payment can be made by mail by using the traffic envelope provided by the officer or to:P.O. Box 9000Drawer CC-10Bartow, FL 33831
You may also pay in person by coming to our full-service counter windows in the traffic division.
Infraction violations must be paid within 30 calendar days from the date the ticket was issued. Criminal violations are due on or before the date the court authorizes. If a ticket is not paid within 30 calendar days from the date of issuance, a suspension will be entered against your driver’s license, which could affect your insurance rates and will subject you to additional penalties.
If you receive a letter from the State of Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (Florida DHSMV) informing you that your license will be suspended, you must comply on or before the business day prior (before) the date stated on the letter. The suspension date listed on the letter goes into effect at midnight on that date. Therefore, if you come in on that date, you will be late and your license will already be suspended.
Within the first 30 days from the offense date, the Clerk is allowed to extend a one-time continuance for 60 days from the original due date. If a payment continuance is requested for a civil infraction payment, this request waives the individual’s right to elect driving school or later plead not guilty and request a court date. If you were charged with failing to carry your driver’s license, registration, or insurance, you must provide proper proof to the Clerk of Court within 30 days of the time of the stop along with the required $10 dismissible fee. Payment extensions are not allowed for dismissals.
If you were cited for failure to maintain proof of insurance and did not have valid insurance at the time of the stop, you may elect to enter a plea of nolo contendere and present proper proof of insurance to the Clerk of Court. Adjudication is withheld. This election and payment of costs ($78.80) must be made within 30 days to the Clerk of Court. Payment extensions are not allowed for elections as set forth in section 318.14(10)(a), Florida Statutes.
A suspension will be entered against your driver’s license that could affect your insurance rates and subject you to additional penalties. Effective July 1, 2004, Florida Statute 938.35 authorized the Clerk to employ a collection agency for all unpaid debts. If this citation is referred for collection efforts, an additional service fee up to 35% will be added onto the total amount of the unpaid financial obligations which remain unpaid 90 days or greater from the payment due date.
You must notify the Clerk’s office, in person or in writing, within the required time frame. Your case will be scheduled for an infraction arraignment hearing where you will be formally advised of the charge against you. You may at that time change your plea and disposition will take place. If you still want to contest the charge, the case will be continued over to a non-jury trial for a later date.
The officer who issued the traffic ticket and any other witnesses called by the officer or any other witnesses that you wish to call to testify on your behalf. If you choose to subpoena witnesses on your behalf, it will be your responsibility for the preparation and costs, generally costing $27 per person. Most civil infractions are heard by hearing officers. Contested parking ticket cases are also heard by the hearing officers.
If you are found guilty of a civil traffic infraction the court may assess the fine and costs, order you to attend a basic driver improvement course, or impose other penalties. If you should fail to pay the fine and costs in the time allotted you by the court, a suspension will be issued against your driver’s license and additional penalties will be imposed. If you are found guilty of a criminal charge, the court may assess the fine and costs, order you to attend driver improvement, place you on probation, or impose other penalties. If you should fail to pay the fine and costs in the time allotted you by the court or fail to complete any other sanction placed upon you by the court, a suspension may be issued against your driver’s license, a warrant may be issued for your arrest, or varying additional penalties may be imposed by the judge.
No, deputy clerks cannot advise you of the number of points assessed against your driver history record or how points will affect your insurance. The Clerk’s office can provide a full history for a nominal fee averaging $16.25 for the first page and one dollar for each additional page for a lifetime history. Otherwise, you must address your questions to the Bureau of Driver Licenses and/or your insurance agent.
For information on the election requirements and costs involved, contact the nearest traffic department of the Clerk’s office. For information on the basic driver improvement course locations, hours, and costs, please contact an approved school. A listing of names, addresses, and phone numbers of approved schools are available in your local telephone directory under "driving instructions."