The Internet is full of myths about traffic tickets in Florida. There are the silly ones and the serious ones. The website Scopes.com will debunk some of them but as a traffic ticket lawyer, I want my readers to know the law not the myths.These myths keep getting repeated over and over again. Most of them are not worth a full article to address, but as a traffic ticket lawyer in Miami, I want to address some of them briefly. Let’s do it in list form:
Myth: If you sign the ticket, it’s an acknowledgment of guilt. This is an old myth that predates the Internet. The idea is that when the officer asks you to sign a Miami Dade traffic ticket, or any ticket for that matter, he is asking you to agree that you did what the ticket says you did. It’s not true. Signing the ticket is merely an acknowledgment that you received the ticket. Just sign it and move on.
Myth: You can get out of a ticket by paying extra. The idea is that if you receive a ticket for $100, you should send a check for $105 into the clerk’s office. The clerk will send you a check back for the extra $5. That much is true. What is not true is the belief that until you cash the $5 check, the ticket will not be reported and you will not receive points against your driver’s license or increased insurance rates. The myth states that the Broward County Clerk’s Offices don’t close and report ticket cases until they receive notice that the $5 check has been cashed. There is no truth to this myth at all. Maybe someone got lucky once and by coincidence a clerk forgot to report the ticket, but ordinarily, paying extra will not get you out of the ticket.
Myth: You won’t get stopped if you have an out of state license plate. This myth used to be at least partially true in South Florida. Tourists used to be very unlikely to get traffic citations especially in Miami-Dade for minor offenses. The thought was that the police, who depend on tourist dollars, would not want to bite the hand that feeds them. However, that is no longer the case and tourists are more likely to be stopped than locals now because most tourists just pay the tickets while many Miami residents fight them in court.
Myth: You can be convicted of a crime for flashing your lights to warn other drivers of a speed trap. When many drivers see a speed trap set up, they turn on their headlights as a way of letting other drivers know that they are about to run into the trap. It’s a common courtesy and a universally understood signal by drivers throughout the United States. The police in South Florida hate it and they perpetuate the myth that it is illegal to interfere with their job by warning other drivers. Sometimes they even try to write traffic tickets for it. However, the courts have ruled that you can flash your lights and that it is a constitutionally protected expression under the First Amendment right to freedom of speech. So flash away and help out a stranger.
Myth: A Florida traffic ticket lawyer can’t do anything for you. This might be the biggest myth of them all. Some people like to spread a rumor that if you pay a traffic ticket lawyer, the lawyer will just pay the ticket out of that money. That is not true. It is not what we do at our firm. We help you take care of the ticket in a way that will not result in an increase in your insurance rates or in points against your driver’s license. A good Florida traffic ticket lawyer can be the difference between a one-time cost for a Miami Dade traffic ticket or ongoing costs for months or years. The usual way it works is as follows. You pay us $69, we either get the ticket tossed out of court or we will make sure you get no points and not school. You may pay a court cost, but if you get points or school, we refund your money. That is how simple it is and there is no fine print.