Speeding is such a common occurrence here in South Florida that if you are not the one doing the speeding, you are probably surrounded by several others who are. As a traffic ticket attorney, I get to know a lot of people, but I don’t know of any single person who drives the speed limit all the time. It’s not that my friends and associates are blatant criminals who drive with reckless abandon. It’s just a simple matter that no one can watch the speedometer all the time, and the use of cruise control on Miami-Dade streets is completely impractical. With the varying speed of other vehicles, traffic lights, stop signs, pedestrian crosswalks, school zones, and so forth, cruise control is not an option. These conditions are ripe for police officers to catch people speeding and issue them a speeding traffic citation. Everyone gets a speeding ticket at some point, including me, and some of us get more than others. If you are thinking, “Ha! I have never had a speeding ticket,” just wait because yours is coming. The system in Miami-Dade is set up in a way as to amass funds from as many traffic tickets as officers can generate, and going just a mile or two over the posted speed limit is all the motivated cop needs.
THE NUMBERS ARE STAGGERING
On a national scale, there are approximately 100,000 traffic tickets written on a daily basis and the ramifications for these traffic tickets vary widely. Here in Florida the penalty for a speeding ticket can result in 3 or 4 points on your license and the fine could run between $150 and $650, depending upon the speed you were traveling when you got pulled over. According to the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles’ annual uniform traffic citation report, there were nearly 100,000 speeding tickets issued last year in Miami-Dade County alone. If you just average the amount of speeding tickets issued with the average cost of a speeding ticket, this raises a tidy sum of $40,000,000 a year in what I call ticket taxes. With 2.6 million people living in Miami-Dade, and most of them driving, it has be like shooting fish in a barrel for the various law enforcement agencies whose officers patrol the county looking to write traffic citations. Another factor to consider when you are speeding is that if you end up in an accident, you may find yourself being charged with a criminal violation which could result in your going to jail.
Although I pointed out what the average revenue from speeding tickets in Miami-Dade could be, the reality is that for the State of Florida, it is much greater at $6,150,000,000. Most of us can’t even imagine a sum of this magnitude, yet traffic tickets are a huge business for those involved in the process. The cop who initially writes the speeding ticket has a vested interest in doing so. In spite of law enforcement agencies’ repeated denials to the contrary, there are quotas to be met and many times police officers are trying to impress the boss. The more speeding tickets he writes, the more likely it is that his superiors will feel that he is doing a good job, and the likelier it is that he will be considered for promotions.
EVERYONE TAKES A PIECE
Another interested party in this ticket writing process is the county in which the ticket is issued. The county gets a substantial portion of the funds generated by traffic tickets so the Clerk of Court happily collects those fines. The clerk’s budget is often influenced by the amount of money that is collected. Then, of course, there is the great state of Florida’s piece of the pie. Part of the state’s budget is funded by the anticipated revenue that is generated by the issuance of traffic tickets. These funds are counted upon to make improvements to roads, bridges, and to increase the number of law enforcement agents to help maintain or even increase this steady stream of income.
Another important factor to remember is that a speeding ticket raises your car insurance rates for at least three years. With just one speeding ticket, the average cost of insurance goes up and insurance companies make about $44,000,000,000 beyond their usual premiums. There is no driver who gladly pays auto insurance so taking such a substantial financial hit can be a crushing blow. This is especially true for those who are already in a higher insurance bracket than many others, such as teenagers. If a teenager gets a speeding ticket, it may very well become so expensive for them to drive as to be prohibitive.
Generally speaking, we have a modicum of control over our auto insurance rates when getting a traffic ticket. Your driving record is a huge determining factor when your insurance company sets your rate because they do so based upon the amount of risk you present. Some states such as Florida permit drivers to attend driving school which prevents any points from being assessed against your license. Although this sounds good in theory, there are some drawbacks to attending driving school. You should NEVER just pay your traffic ticket because this is an admission of guilt. If your speeding ticket results in an accident, this admission of guilt can be used against you in a civil matter if the other party chooses to sue you.
These are just a few of the reasons why you should contact an experienced traffic ticket attorney. Yes, it may be just one more expense added to your speeding ticket infraction, but it’s a nominal amount when you consider that here at the Traffic Ticket Team, we get about half of all tickets dismissed, and the others almost always result in no points against your license, ergo no insurance rate hikes, and no traffic school. We are the good guys who are here to help fight your Miami-Dade County traffic ticket, so give us a call at 954-967-9888. We will provide you with a free consultation to help you obtain the best outcome possible, regardless of what type of traffic ticket you may get.