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Frequently Asked Questions For Traffic

Welcome to the questions and answers area.
We have a large database of FAQs so we have organized them by topic. For frequently asked questions related to a specific topic, select it from the list below.

  

What is a civil traffic infraction?
Under the Florida statutes, a civil infraction traffic ticket is a case in which a person is suspected of committing a non-criminal traffic infraction. These violations are classified as either moving, non-moving or bicycle/pedestrian. A moving violation normally assesses points against the driver license while non-moving and bicycle/pedestrian violations do not. These violations are not punishable by incarceration and there is no right to trial by jury or to court appointed counsel. Examples of Moving Violations are careless driving; fail to yield at a stop sign, etc. Examples of Non-Moving Violations are no seat belt, improper parking, etc.

In most instances, a civil traffic infraction may be disposed of by:

  • A payment of a civil penalty, otherwise known as a fine
  • The election and completion of an authorized driver improvement course
  • A hearing before the Court

You may request any of these options by completing the Traffic Citation Option Form and returning it to the Clerk of the Court within the time allowed.

What options are available for disposition of a civil traffic infraction?

Pay the fine

  • You must make payment to the Clerk of the Court within 30 calendar days of the date the citation or ticket was issued.
  • Citations may be paid by cash, check, money order or credit card.
  • You may make payment in person, through the mail or online.
  • You may verify the correct amount of the civil penalty through the Clerk's Fee Schedule.
  • Failure to pay within this time period may result in suspension of your license and an assessment of reinstatement fees, and late fees.

Attend driver improvement

In accordance with Florida Statute 318.14 (9), anyone holding a Commercial Drivers License (CDL) is prohibited from electing driving school.

  • You may choose this option no more than once every 12 months.
  • You must complete and return the completed Traffic Citation Option Form along with the applicable payment to the Clerk of Court within 30 calendar days from the date the citation or ticket was issued.
  • School must be elected and fine paid within 30 calendar days from the date of your citation.
  • School must be completed and the certificate of completion returned to the Clerk of Court within 90 days from the date of your payment.
  • Failure to attend school timely and return your certificate of completion to the Clerk of Circuit Court Manatee County will result in points being assessed to your driver's license, additional penalties, and possible suspension of your driving privilege.
  • You may attend any Driver Improvement course approved by the State of Florida in any county in Florida. For a list of approved driver improvement schools visit the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles website.
  • You may receive mail from private Driver Improvement Schools through the mail or you may contact local schools for additional information. You will find them listed in the phone directory under "Driving Instruction" or at the Department of Highway Safety and Motor vehicles website at www.flhsmv.gov/ddl/bdis.html.

Request a Court Hearing - Deny the violation

  • You must notify the Clerk in writing within 30 days of the date the citation was issued to request a civil hearing be scheduled. You may use the Traffic Citation Option Form.
  • You will receive a notice from the Clerk advising you of the date and time of your hearing.
  • The law enforcement officer that issued the citation will be present at your hearing, as well as any witnesses listed by the officer.
  • You are responsible for making sure any witnesses you want to testify appear at your hearing.

If the Court finds you committed the offense, you may be ordered to pay a fine up to $500.00, court costs and/or attend driver improvement school.

Where do payments for traffic citations get mailed?
Manatee County Clerk of Court
P.O. Box 25400
Bradenton, FL 34206
Attention-Traffic
What forms of payment are acceptable for a traffic citation?
You may pay with cash, money order, or a personal check drawn on a United States bank, we also accept Visa, MasterCard, Discover and American Express.
What are the procedures for handling a citation for failure to carry or display a driver’s license, registration, and/or a license tag?
If the officer charged you with no/failure to carry or display a valid driver's license, registration, license tag, proof of insurance and you have proof that it was valid at the time the officer issued the citation, you may submit proof of your valid document(s), a dismissal fee (see Traffic Fee Schedule for fee amount), and the copy of your citation to the Clerk's Office. Clerk Office personnel will dismiss the charge.
Which citations require a mandatory court appearance?
The following charges require a mandatory court hearing:
  • Leaving a child in an unattended vehicle
  • An accident involving a serious bodily/personal injury
    If found guilty of an offense involving serious bodily injury to another, a mandatory fine of $500.00 and a mandatory license suspension of 3 months shall be imposed
  • An accident involving a fatality
    If found guilty of an offense involving a fatality, a mandatory fine of $1,000.00 and a mandatory license suspension of 6 months shall be imposed
  • Passing on enter/exit side while bus is stopped
  • Speed 30+ MPH in excess of posted speed limits
What steps do I take after I complete the driver improvement school?
Whether you attend a driver improvement school in Manatee County or in another Florida county, you must present proof of completion of the driver improvement school to the Manatee County Clerk's Office within 90 calendar days of the date you elected the option.
Does attending defensive driving school keep the citation off my driving record?
The citation will show on your full driving record, but will show adjudication withheld. This means no points will be assessed.
Can I elect to attend defensive driving school after I have paid my citation?
Once you pay your citation, you have made your one election for that violation. If you wish to attend school, you must make that election at the time of payment.
Does attending defensive driving school keep my insurance rates down?
Please consult your respective insurance company for this information.
Will the defensive driving school notify the Clerk’s Office when I have completed the class?
You must send your completion certificate to the Manatee County Clerk’s Office within 90 calendar days from the date the option was elected. The clerk does not accept notification from the traffic schools.
What if the price of the ticket is different from what the officer gave on the citation?
The Clerk’s office is required to collect the correct amount as required by Florida statute even if the officer may have written an incorrect amount.
Can the Clerk’s office notify me of the amount of points I have on my license?
The Clerk’s office can provide a printout of your driving record (see Traffic Fee Schedule for fee amount). You may also contact the appropriate Drivers License Bureau to find out how many points are assessed against your license.
What do I do if my citation has been sent to collections?
You must contact SC Service & Associates, Inc. at (386) 752-0068. You will be required to remit payment for the original fine, late fees, and a collection fee.
Helpful Links
Traffic school information - www.flhsmv.gov/ddl/bdis.html  
Driver’s License check - www6.hsmv.state.fl.us/dlcheck/dlchecking 
On line payment - www.myfloridacounty.com
Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles - www.flhsmv.gov/