Completely off subject from real estate, but how to fight a speeding ticket in Miami sure is a popular subject! If we had a dollar for every time one of our relocation customers said they got a ticket just after moving here... we'd be buying the Versace Mansion on South Beach! So we hope this helps someone in need! Everyone seems to have questions about what to do when you get a ticket, how to fight a speeding ticket, or how best to deal with any ticket or other traffic infraction you may get while you're in Miami.
Remember, as soon as you get the ticket write down what happened, details of how it happened, what was said, where it happened etc. The more you write down, the better. Your memory will fade, but be sure the officer's memory in court will seem crystal clear! Your details and ability to recollect (which your notes will help you do) could be very important later, especially if you end up hiring an attorney or take it to court.
The information we're including on this page is IN NO WAY LEGAL ADVICE on how you should handle your particular situation. Attorneys are professionals. They went to school for and practice law every day. They are experienced and know what they are doing. If you have a question, don't have the time to deal with a ticket yourself... or want to be SURE it gets done right... FIND A GOOD ATTORNEY!!
First. Why so many speed traps
and red light cameras these days??!!!
Our Governor, the Mayor of Miami-Dade County and many mayors across Miami in our municipalities have done a good job of trying to lower property taxes, or keep them from climbing. What does that mean?
They all need to find money in other places!! Property taxes pay for our public services. If revenue is down, Miami-Dade County and our other municipalities will find ways of making money to compensate for any losses from lower property taxes. How?
TICKETS! Tickets from red light cameras, tickets from speeding and other moving violations, tickets for no registration or seat belts. Tickets for not re-registering your dog over and over. You name it, they'll try to ticket you for it!!
Haven't you noticed more speed traps lately? A lone cop who stakes out one particular street in one particular town for weeks and months at a time... and seems very content writing ticket after ticket after ticket... perhaps at the direction of his department... and also to pad his own overtime pay... at your expense? Notice all the traffic light cameras ALL OVER THE PLACE? And how mysteriously the yellow signals are becoming shorter and shorter? They WANT to make money from YOU running the red lights!! They NEED THE MONEY!!
What do you do when you receive a ticket?
Go online to Miami-Dade Clerk of Courts, look up your citation number (on your ticket) and...
Why take it to court / fight it?
Ok. So what happens when I choose to fight the ticket?
Request a trial date online or at your nearest government center (date will arrive in mail in about a month). The first date is for a "pre-trial" which will be held in a courtroom with a judge (so dress and speak respectfully). The judge will usually call everyone alphabetically. The officer that wrote the ticket won't be there. You won't have any opportunity to plead your case, tell the judge how wrong the officer was, or how he made a mistake on your ticket. When called, you'll step to the podium and the judge will be looking at your driving history. He will announce what your ticket/violation was for. Then he'll offer you a deal.
Example: you got a speeding ticket for going 40 in a 30. You had one other speeding ticket in the last four years. He'll say "okay, you have a good driving record and I'll offer you no points on your license, no driving school, and a reduced total fee of $150 which includes the ticket and court costs". He'll look at you and ask "would you like to take the deal now, or take it to trial?" Often, the judge will even be nice enough to give you 30 or even 60 days to pay that fee. Then you answer what you'd like to do.
IF you take the deal, you simply walk to another room and pay, or go online or back to the government center when you have the money and pay then. Pretty easy. Depending on the location, you could be done within an hour.
**THE REASON THE COURT OFFERS PRE-TRIAL DEALS IS TO SAVE THE TAXPAYERS TIME AND MONEY. EACH TRIAL TAKES MUCH LONGER THAN THE 30 TO 60 SECONDS THE JUDGE SPENDS ON YOUR CASE AT PRE-TRIAL. THEY WANT TO HANDLE AS MANY CASES IN PRE-TRIAL AS THEY CAN. SO IT'S OFTEN TO YOUR ADVANTAGE TO SHOW UP, AND TAKE THE DEAL.
This is a compilation of experiences and opinions of those that have received Miami-Dade speeding and moving violation tickets, and from advice from law enforcement insiders. This is BY NO MEANS legal advice!! This entry is meant to help those that aren't used to getting tickets, aren't sure how to navigate the system properly... and are doing their research to understand what happens when.
ALWAYS SEEK THE ADVICE OF AN ATTORNEY for legal matters.