There are a lot of things about Miami-Dade traffic tickets that have been discussed in this blog, especially the expenses that are incurred when you receive a traffic ticket. The cost of traffic ticket fines, how a traffic ticket effects your insurance rates, and the fact a traffic ticket stays on your “permanent record” forever are all issues that are very important. I have tried to convey these things clearly in an effort to help others and explain why it is so important to almost always hire a traffic ticket attorney. Of all of the blogs that I have written, I don’t think that I have discussed how court costs are assessed for traffic tickets or considerations that you need to think about if you get a traffic ticket in Miami-Dade.
Court costs are the fees that are assessed for the administrative expenses related to your traffic ticket. Even if you just pay your ticket, you still have to pay these fees. The court system seems to justify this with a “cost of doing business” mentality in that even if you just pay the ticket at the Clerk of Court’s office, somebody has to pay for the staff and other expenses. These fees are paid into the state’s general fund, accounting for a large portion of the courts’ appropriate budget.
This cost is usually much higher than the actual fine that you get for the ticket. This practice seems unjust, but hiring a knowledgeable and skilled traffic ticket attorney can be a big benefit to you. Even if a good traffic ticket attorney doesn’t get your ticket dismissed, he or she may be able to get your court costs reduced because the judge has the latitude to decide whether or not to do so. Often traffic ticket attorneys have established relationships with Miami-Dade judges. This can be of significant savings because sometimes these fees can end up being as much as two or three times the amount of the fine.
These costs can be extraordinarily frustrating. This is especially true if you or someone you know has previously gotten a ticket for the same offense yet were charged different court costs. This is again due to the discretionary power of the judge to determine your costs, but there is a cap on the amount that you can be charged.
It hardly seems fair that judges can arbitrarily assign different court fees to different people at different times. It would seem that fighting a traffic citation in Miami should not cost you any more than at any other time, but it does happen and these costs fluctuate greatly. Unfortunately, it is the way the system is set up which makes it that much more difficult to fight your own traffic ticket. So many times, people feel that if they go into court without an attorney present, telling the judge that they were just trying to keep up with traffic or that they weren’t going 15 miles per hour over the speed limit, but only 10 over that this will get their ticket dismissed or reduced. The fact of the matter is, you just confessed to that of which you were accused and the judge is probably going to make you pay accordingly.
There are other factors as well that can effect your court costs. The type of ticket that you get can impact the amount that you are assessed in court costs. There are certainly traffic tickets that are considered more serious than others. Just as a fine for going 10 miles over the speed limit is going to be less than the fine for going 25 miles over, the same is true for court costs. There is, however, a limit on how high the court costs can be.
Another consideration is your driving history. If you haven’t had a ticket in quite some time, you will probably not be charged as heavily with court costs as someone who is a habitual offender or has a penchant for speeding, etc. The courts tend to be harsher in assessing fines and penalties when dealing with someone who seems to have little-to-no regard for traffic laws, and your driving record WILL be checked.
We have all heard the adage “attitude is everything,” and this is true with traffic citations and court costs, too. As I have written before, you want to be as unmemorable as possible. If you are rude or obnoxious to the cop when he pulls you over, he will be taking notes on your citation, and yes, the judge will see these notes and the cop will testify as to your behavior. Just like with habitual traffic offenders, the judge is not very likely to give you a pass or a reduction in court costs if he feels that you were rude and uncooperative with the police officer who stopped you.
Something else to consider is which judge you get. Some judges are nice and try to cut people some slack. Other judges are not so nice, and historically lean toward imposing the maximum amount of court costs that they can. Years on the bench and hearing nearly every excuse can often make judges somewhat jaded. Let’s not forget that sometimes, even the “nice” judges can have a bad day which may color how they assess court costs. It’s not right, but it happens.
Now, hiring a traffic ticket attorney does not always act as a silver bullet when it comes to having your traffic ticket dismissed or reduced. With, however, the benefit of our years of experience and the relationships that we have formed within the Miami-Dade court system working in your favor, our success speaks for itself because we have learned the correct way to handle a traffic ticket in court. Our ability to get traffic tickets dismissed or reduced has been tremendous. This not only minimizes the amount of costs that you incur, but also can help you avoid points on your license. It also saves you time by not having to go to court and help keep you out of driving school. Let us put that success to work for you. Please call the Traffic Ticket Team at 954-967-9888 for a free consultation.