When most people get a uniform traffic citation, one of the first things they do is flip it over and look at the back.
Because the back is where the officer usually writes down how much the traffic ticket is going to cost. I understand why this would be an area of interest.
Sometimes, the officer will give a booklet in addition to the ticket, that explains in more detail how much the ticket is.
However, this is not the place you should be focusing your attention.
Because as a traffic attorney for over 17 years, I firmly believe that it is in almost everyone's best interest to fight the ticket and NOT pay it. Paying a ticket will almost always result in points on your license.
In case you don't know, points will cause your insurance to skyrocket. You can read about how points on your license affect your insurance, but take my word for it, they do and you want to avoid points at all cost.
So what part should you look at? Well, that depends. It depends on what you want to do with the ticket. I recommend fighting most tickets. You can either fight it with a traffic attorney, or you can choose to fight it yourself. Either way, you will need to know exactly what type of ticket you received.
Don't assume because you were speeding and got pulled over that you got a speeding ticket. I was talking to a client the other day who told me that he thought he got a speeding ticket, but the officer gave him a ticket for failure to obey a traffic control device (which is a fancy way of saying he ignored a sign on the side of the road that gave the speed limit).
He was confused because he said the officer told him if he went to court, the officer would amend the Florida Uniform Traffic Citation to a "real" speeding ticket and he didn't understand what the officer meant.
This is a fairly common occurrence. The officer was trying to cut this person a break in the dollar amount of the ticket. I explained to him that there are Florida Statutes that the officer can cite when writing a Uniform Traffic Ticket for speeding, and the statute is actually what determines the charge, not the handwritten stuff in the middle of the ticket.
By choosing a statute that was for a vague type of violation, like failure to obey a traffic control device which carries with it a lower dollar amount than a ticket for speeding, the officer was attempting to save the client a few hundred dollars.
Sounds great, right? Not exactly, and this is why you need to focus on the front of the ticket and not the back.
The real concern when paying a ticket shouldn't be the dollar amount of the ticket (although I understand that's a concern), it should be what will happen after you pay the Florida Uniform Traffic Citation. In this case, if you pay the ticket for violation of a traffic control device, yes you will pay less money at the clerk's office than you would have had to pay if the officer wrote an actual speeding ticket, but because this violation also carries points, you will pay hundreds more in increased insurance premiums for many years.
So it's extremely important to look at the front of the Florida Uniform Traffic Citation and see what statute you were charged with and determine if it's one that carries points. Most traffic attorneys have some form of protection against points appearing on your license if you hire them.
Our law firm has a very liberal money-back guarantee against points, so you should make sure you compare the guarantees before you make a decision, if you decide to hire a traffic attorney to handle your uniform traffic ticket.
Whatever you decide to do, make sure you've thoroughly weighed your options.