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Barry D. Kowitt is one of the founding partners at Unger & Kowitt, where they have helped over 500,000 people fight back. 

In this blog, he shares with you his views on the traffic ticket system, as well as providing traffic ticket solutions that really work, no gimmicks. Hint: saying "my car doesn't go that fast" isn't going to cut it.


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How To Read a Florida Uniform Traffic Citation And Get Your Ticket Dismissed


How to read a florida unform traffic citationGetting a traffic ticket, for most people, doesn't happen every day.  As a result, their ignorance about the process, leads to poor decision making, which in turn leads to something other than a dismissal. 

Being a traffic attorney for over 17 years, I've seen hundreds of thousands of tickets, and since my goal on this blog is to educate, please allow me to explain how to read the traffic ticket you just received and hopefully, help you to get your ticket dismissed.

First of all, the technical term for a traffic ticket in Florida is a "Uniform Traffic Citation" or UTC for short.  So if you decide to take your matter to court, you may want to sound like you know what you're talking about and refer to it as a Florida Uniform Traffic Citation and not just a "ticket."

Now, currently, we are in a transition in Florida where some tickets are still being written by hand by the officer (those are the yellow ones) and some are being generated by a computer and printer the officer has at the side of the road (those are the white ones). 

No matter which type of Uniform Traffic Citation you receive, they operate the same way.  They are essentially designed to put you on notice of what you've allegedly done wrong so that you can make a decision about how you wish to proceed.

As you know from reading this blog, when you get a traffic ticket in Florida, you have three choices:

You can pay the ticket and take the points (always a bad decision),

You can pay the ticket and elect traffic school (almost always a bad decision), or

You can fight the ticket (the only way to get it dismissed).

We've detailed in many previous posts why we think fighting the ticket is the best way to go.  To that end, the first thing you MUST be able to do is read that ticket. 

After noting your citation number (which is the big black series of numbers and letters), the first thing you should look at, and it is printed at the very top, is the county in which you received your ticket. 

If you plan on contesting the ticket, you will need to know in which county you will be forced to appear.  Just because you live in Palm Beach doesn't mean that's where the ticket will be heard.  The courthouse within the county where your case will be heard, is determined by the clerk of court, not by you.  Take note.

After that, your personal information appears on the ticket.  What's important to look at here, is that the name and driver's license information is accurate.  Unfortunately, minor errors or typos will not be enough to get a case dismissed, but many times we've seen tickets issued to a completely different person.  I'm not exactly sure how it happens, but obviously the officer can get confused at the scene and give the wrong person the wrong ticket.  In this instance, you must make sure to challenge the ticket on these grounds. 

Moving on, the middle of the ticket is where things start to get interesting.  It is here the officer will indicate what law you are charged with breaking.  There are a series of checkboxes and lines for the officer to fill in details, as well as a spot for the actual Florida statute number.

This area represents the most important part of the ticket, because it is here where due process defenses are born.  The state has a burden to inform you of what you've done wrong.  It is extremely important that you scrutinize this portion of the ticket.  We have gotten more tickets dismissed in my office because of mistakes in this area, than any other. 

You can read many of the other posts here on this blog where I detail ways to get cases dismissed, but, suffice it to say, if the statute is missing, or incorrect, you should make a motion to the court and ask for a dismissal. 

After that section, there is a spot for a signature.  In the past, this was a huge area of dispute.  The fine print, that no one bothered to read, was only saying that by signing the ticket, you agreed that the officer was handing you a piece of paper and that you promised to appear in court or take care of the matter.  Unfortunately, many people took their signature to mean that they were agreeing with what was written on the ticket and refused to sign.  Well, if you refused to sign, the officer could take you to jail and the entire situation became hostile and wasn't working out too well.  Therefore, the requirement that you sign your ticket has been modified (See Florida Statute Here), only requiring a signature in certain situations.

Hopefully, this has given you some knowledge you can use the next time you receive a Florida Uniform Traffic Citation.  If you are staring at your ticket, and still not sure what you're looking at, you can always ask one of the attorneys in my office to look at it and give you their opinion.  We offer a free consultation, and are happy to make suggestions.  We're here to help.  Just call us at 800-489-4125.

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I just received a Florida Uniform Traffic Citation this past Saturday and after I looked at the Citation later, I noticed that the officer put the incorrect vehicle year, make, and model as well as tag number by the last digit wrong on the citation. Should I fight this citation, and are my chances good for a dismissal? Also I was on two lane rural highway that had a short distance passing lane that I was in and didn't realize I was at the end when he caught me. He put on this ticket that I was on a 4 Lane Hwy with 20Ft Median Outside BUS. or RES Dist.
Posted @ Monday, March 18, 2013 11:42 AM by Phillip Ware-Ehlers
I got a ticket that said that i was driving on the "wrong side of the road". The police officer wasn't even near where the accident supposedly happened. he was across that street at a light. I didn't even drive on the wrong side of the road i crossed over and turned. if anything he could say that i did a unlawful turn but thats it. Should i take this to court ? what should i say ?
Posted @ Wednesday, July 10, 2013 11:20 PM by Desiree
I got a traffic citation last Friday. The police officer pooled me over and when I gave him my license he gave me a ticket for failure to change address within 10 days. I had just moved back to Miami from Los Angeles the Monday before that, therefore it had been 4 days not 10. I told the police officer that I had an appointment at the DMV to change my license on Tuesday the 13th, but he gave me the ticket anyway. Where do I have to go to get my ticket dismissed?
Posted @ Tuesday, August 13, 2013 8:43 PM by Maria
Unfortunately, the only way to get this ticket dismissed is by a judge. The only way to get a judge to do that is to file a plea of "not guilty" and demand a trial. At trial, you can show the judge your documentation and hopefully get it thrown out. It will take at least two court appearances and maybe a third.  
If you would like us to do it for you, we'd be happy to discuss the case with you. Our fee for something like this would be $69.00. 
Posted @ Wednesday, August 14, 2013 4:19 PM by Barry Kowitt
I was in a car accident. Brakes failed. Catalytic converter was broken. I was (TG) driving about 10 miles per hour. and rear ended another car. I spoke with various people (atty included) that i should just pay the ticket instead of fighting it because I would need to bring in the mechanic. I also live in New York and the extra expenses of traveling back and forth. Do you think just pay it or fight it. I haven't paid it yet. I really bothers me that the sheriff wrote down it was careless driving. and that i will have four points on my license.
Posted @ Wednesday, September 04, 2013 8:50 PM by Mina
Thanks for your question/comment. Let me ask you, what county did this accident take place in? You should not have to come back to appear and if you "just pay the ticket" you will receive points. I can probably help you with that. 
Posted @ Friday, September 06, 2013 8:56 AM by Barry Kowitt
I just received traffic citation, and I have to appear in court within 30days. I have to fill the flea and send it to the clerk with the yellow citation. My question is do I need to select the court as they wrote on the green paper with my information or what exactly should I do because I have to send it for court schedule
Posted @ Thursday, October 03, 2013 10:48 AM by Ruaa
Best thing to do is call the clerk of court if you have a question. I would make a copy of everything you send them. 
Posted @ Friday, October 11, 2013 2:23 PM by Barry Kowitt
I received a traffic citation in Florida. I was driving on the interstate where I passed a Florida Wildlife Commission vehicle on the left hand side. I did not "fly" past him. A few miles down a state trooper pulled me over where the FWC truck pulled in and parked in front of me. He says he called in that I was speeding to the state trooper where he then proceeded to ask me multiple times if I didn't believe he was a real cop which I never replied to. The state trooper than hits me with a ticket saying I was conveniently going 90 mph. This was completely untrue nor did I pass the trooper going 90 mph. How can I fight this? I believe I was wrongly pulled over and given a ticket to satisfy the ego of the FWC officer. I am going to court in Martin County, Florida. Please help. 
Posted @ Thursday, October 17, 2013 11:02 AM by George G.
Speeding tickets like this are going to require both officers to show up in court. You will need the one that determined you were speeding and the one that wrote the ticket. The officer that determined you were speeding must produce evidence that you were speeding (can't just tell judge you were speeding). Most likely, the evidence will be a pace clock. Be sure to check the paperwork (I've written about it in my blog). 
If you would like us to fight this for you, just let us know. 
Posted @ Saturday, October 19, 2013 12:25 PM by Barry Kowitt
The fact of the matter is we were all caught speeding (including me), why can't our society just accept responsibility and move on?
Posted @ Tuesday, November 19, 2013 7:23 AM by Mike
Mike, this isn't about accepting responsibility, it's so much more than that. First of all, the police make plenty of mistakes and pull over the wrong car or exacerbate the speed to increase the fine. Additionally, because the legislature has made the fines so outrageous and turned traffic tickets into a money making operation instead of a safety issue, people are looking to save money. Many of my clients get handed a $400-$600 ticket and are just expected to "accept responsibility." I think that's an outrageous amount of money. People shouldn't have to choose between food on the table or rent vs. paying a ticket.  
Posted @ Wednesday, November 20, 2013 4:57 PM by Barry Kowitt
I received a 316.187 (2)(a) today in Florida and it had my birth yr wrong. Also if I pay the ticket n they report it to GA can I be fined again under super speeder law in GA?
Posted @ Sunday, December 15, 2013 6:27 PM by Erey10
I received 2 tickets at once both I feel was wrongfully given to me. One ticket was for my 2 year wearing only a lap belt and one for parking-drop off passenger in roadway. First my son was in a car seat strapped from shoulder to waist. officer said lap belt only. as for the drop off, well the only passenger I had in my car was the baby. I was just waiting for kids to cross before making my left turn. I saw the officer about 150 feet away from me. He walked over and ask me for my license. The officer accused me of first making a u turn the changed and said he is just going to give me a ticket for just parking. I wasn't parked and I didn't do anything to break the rules. Was it fair that I got a ticket just waiting for kids to cross before making my left turn to go towards dropping my son off to daycare. Please help me on what I need to do.
Posted @ Monday, December 23, 2013 12:16 AM by Debbie
Debbie, what you've described certainly sounds unfair. We'd love to help you fight these. Feel free to give us a call and we'd be happy to discuss it with you. 
Thanks. Barry
Posted @ Saturday, December 28, 2013 11:13 AM by Barry Kowitt
I recieved a ticket in Florida for improper lane change, which resulted in my being rear ended. However, I was in the lane for nearly 5 seconds before impact. The posted speed limit is 45 but the ticket states it as 55. I was driving 45 and the ticket states the other driver was going 50. Does the error in speed limits on the ticket and the other driver going 5 miles over, constitute grounds for dismissal of the ticket? Thank you
Posted @ Friday, January 17, 2014 10:06 AM by C.Jackson
Hi. I received a ticket today in Orange County for 40 in a 30 statute 316.189(2) but the actual posted speed limit Is 35. Is this grounds for a dismissal. Also I was clocked w radar 
Posted @ Friday, January 17, 2014 6:51 PM by Alex
Alex, hi and thanks for your question. You can certainly try to use that as an excuse, but be careful not to admit you were exceeding the speed limit, even by one mile per hour as that is all the state needs to find you guilty of speeding. 
Good Luck. 
Posted @ Saturday, January 18, 2014 9:14 AM by Barry Kowitt
C. Jackson, Thanks for your question. You didn't get a ticket for speeding, so I would be hesitant to think that error could allow you get your case dismissed. You may want to consider the other driver's speed as a mitigating factor however. 
Good Luck and if you want us to help you with it, feel free to give us a call. 
Posted @ Saturday, January 18, 2014 10:19 AM by Barry Kowitt
My husband got a ticket for careless driving because he sideswiped a long tractor trailer. The following info was incorrect.... year, color, license plate number on the car. The officer also wrote the wrong direction, and weather conditions at the time of the accident. He put down rear end accident instead of side swipe. It was dark and there were no witnesses. He wrote down that the road was lit but at the time of the accident, they may not have been and the lights on the tractor were not on. My husband says he saw the lights on the cab but not on the end of the tractor. There were no injuries and the only thing damaged was my car. This occurred in Palm Beach County. 
Are the mistakes on the ticket enough to get it dismissed? 
Posted @ Saturday, January 25, 2014 2:41 PM by Helen
You are starting to see why accident cases tend to get dismissed more than other types of cases. If the officer didn't witness the accident, they can't testify in court. The testimony will have to come from someone who saw or heard something with their own eyes or ears. 
I say fight the ticket. If you don't want to take the time to fight it, we can appear on your behalf. 
Posted @ Wednesday, February 12, 2014 6:35 PM by Barry Kowitt
I got a red light violation ticket from a cop who was just behind me. I stopped at green in W.central blvd as the straight way is closed for work and detoured to left. I stopped to yield another car came straight in my opposite direction. But he didnt go straight and stopped to turn his left, so I suddenly made a left as I couldn't see the signal but cop who was just behind me caught me saying I ran at steady red. I know cop was behind me and I just stopped at green to yield other guy. But in my citation its mentioned as W.washington street where cop gave me the ticket. Please let me know if we can fight and possibilities of winning the ticket. 
Posted @ Tuesday, March 04, 2014 5:53 PM by Maharajan Shunmugam
You did not say if this was Florida. I am only licensed to practice law in Florida. If it is, we can certainly fight it and when I know more details, I'll tell you what I think about your chances of a dismissal. 
Posted @ Wednesday, March 05, 2014 11:03 AM by Barry Kowitt
Thanks for your reply. It happened in Orlando near by downtown. 
Posted @ Wednesday, March 05, 2014 12:44 PM by Maharajan Shunmugam
No Problem. We can certainly help you out with that. Please call the office at 800-489-4125 to discuss further. 
Posted @ Wednesday, March 05, 2014 4:46 PM by Barry Kowitt
I received a citation on 3/6/2014. I was on my way to work at 3am traveling on I-75. I was running a little late. I was on cruise control doing 85, i went by two state troopers. One clocked me and stopped me. He told me he got me at 85 and that the speed was 70 i kindly agreed and told him i was late for work and where i worked. He took my info, asked why my license was taped i told him i keep it in my pocket and not my wallet and it had gotten bent. He told me i had to get a new one. Then he runs my info comes back and says he is giving me a warning for my license but giving my a citation for the speeding. But i dont have $250 laying around to pay it. Id like to fight it.
Posted @ Friday, March 07, 2014 6:32 AM by Chris
My traffic citation was issued in Palm Beach County, Florida. An officer pulled me over and claimed I didn't come to a full stop at stop sign. The officer wrote on the citation that I failed to stop at stop sign. No statute was listed. I set a court date to argue. How do you defend against his word vs. my word. I have a very clean driving record spanning 37 years.
Posted @ Friday, March 07, 2014 9:12 AM by Michael Lee
I wanted to add to my earlier comment that I heard you can try and beat the ticket by asking for court hearing which could take a few months before hearing and then there is a way to postpone your hearing for another few months and then by the time you have your trial you can hope for that the officer doesn't show and then you wouldn't have to pay. Is this true? Also I checked over my whole citation and it all checks out although, when I tried to look it up online at the clerks website they have no record of it. Could this be because the officer hasn't had it filed by the court yet? it only happened yesterday.
Posted @ Friday, March 07, 2014 11:36 AM by Chris Williams
Hi Chris, 
Please allow 8-10 business days to have your citation filed in the court by officer and to appear online. 
For me it took 9 business days to appear online. 
Try after few days.
Posted @ Friday, March 07, 2014 3:06 PM by Maharajan Shunmugam
You don't argue his word against your word, you will lose. You make a legal argument, like you indicated, which cannot be refuted. "no statute was listed." That isn't his word against yours. 
Good Luck. 
Posted @ Friday, March 07, 2014 4:34 PM by Barry Kowitt
Hi Barry, 
I called your offive today and your staff said that your office is located in Sunrise.How about its possible for you appear in orange county clerk's court,Orlando downtown?
Posted @ Friday, March 07, 2014 6:50 PM by Maharajan Shunmugam
I also heard that you can go to clerks office and ask for community service to get out of paying your ticket also. Is this true?
Posted @ Saturday, March 08, 2014 5:55 AM by Chris Williams
We have attorneys all over the state. No Worries. 
Posted @ Wednesday, March 12, 2014 12:12 PM by Barry Kowitt
Chris, regarding your comment about community service, it's my understanding that only a judge can order you to do community service. However, please understand, if you were able to do that instead of paying, you would be receiving points, which is not good. 
Posted @ Wednesday, March 12, 2014 12:30 PM by Barry Kowitt
I'm sorry for the delay in getting back to you. You never stated what county on I-75 you received your ticket. I would definitely recommend you fight this. If you would like a free consultation, we'll be happy to go over it and give you our opinion. 
Posted @ Wednesday, March 12, 2014 4:16 PM by Barry Kowitt
Hello Barry,  
My husband received a UTC for FL Statute 316.187(1) Alleging unlawful speed of 81 in a 65 on the eastbound crosstown upper deck in Tampa. The officer listed the BEE III 110200021 RADAR as the speed measurement device. Now, here are the issues: The officer listed the address wrong as a Florida address. My husband has a Michigan DL with a Michigan address. The vehicle insurance is under the Florida address that he listed, not his driver's license. Also, the box that indicates "IF DIFFERENT THAN ONE ON DRIVER LICENSE "X" HERE" is not X'd. The vehicle was listed as "SW" for the style, when the vehicle registration lists it as "4 door". The officer also listed the color as "GRY" when it is in fact black. I am not sure if any of this even matters, but it seems like there is an awful lot of mistakes here. Also, my husband was informed (perhaps mistakenly) that the Sheriff had no jurisdiction there. Supposedly, only state police do. Obviously that could be misinformation, but we wanted to double check that. Is there any chance we could beat this? 
Thank you,  
Posted @ Friday, March 14, 2014 11:53 AM by Mae
I received a ticket in Miami for failing to stop at a Steady Red Signal which resulted in a accident. Payment is due on March 31st or I can take it to court. Payment amount on the ticket is $244. However when I called the Court telephone number & go on there website it says the price is $277. How can that be?
Posted @ Wednesday, March 26, 2014 12:56 PM by Oniel
Barry, I received a UTC for speeding on March 30.I really didn't  
look at the citation until 2 days later where I discovered 
that while auto info and tag number are correct,the personal info was someone else completely  
including DL number. The trooper said I was doing 16 miles over the limit,but was only citing me for 9 
mph over.He said that I would be charged for the 16 over if I challenged the ticket.How should I proceed?
Posted @ Wednesday, April 02, 2014 8:12 AM by Rusty
You've given me a lot there. Generally, the things you listed as mistakes by the officer don't give rise to a dismissal, but you listed so many, in your case, you may want to bring them up collectively and see what happens. As for the Sheriff not having jurisdiction, that might be a tougher argument. 
Good Luck. 
Posted @ Wednesday, April 02, 2014 4:10 PM by Barry Kowitt
Thanks for commenting and thanks for your question. I have a few questions about what you wrote about. It would be better if you called my office to discuss. I think the clerk was mistaken in what he/she told you. 
Posted @ Wednesday, April 02, 2014 4:14 PM by Barry Kowitt
This is something we are starting to see more and more. These days, the officers are using the computer to write the tickets and the previous person's information was probably still in the computer. Because some of the information is yours, you can't ignore it. The problem is the mailing information is not yours, so you will not receive notification in the mail. You should try to go to the clerk of court and get this clarified (or try going to the police station). If you hire an attorney, they will get notified of court hearings and explain to the judge, which may be easier/better for you. Up to you. 
Posted @ Wednesday, April 02, 2014 4:21 PM by Barry Kowitt
II recived a traffic citation yesterday for Violation of "traffic control device. I was going 46 in a 30 MPH zone. When the officer gave me the citation he explained thatinstad of making it "unlawful speed" he made it the violation of traffic control device" so it wouldn't be as big a fine but it still is $166 plus if I have to go to traffic school so I don't recieve the points that will be even more money. I just was laid off from my job that I only had for a month after being out of work for quite some time before that so I truely can't afford all of this. Is there any chance that they might reduce it and take away any points if I go to court? 
Thank you for any advice. 
Posted @ Thursday, April 10, 2014 4:17 PM by Bette
The officer did a common move to save you money. The speeding ticket would have been over $250 and the violation of traffic device is $166. In truth, it was nice of him/her. However, $166 is still money you don't have or want to spend on this. I don't know what county this was in, some judges will cut you a break and the clerk can allow you to pay in installments.  
The gamble with hiring an attorney, of course, is that if it's not dismissed, you might pay more and that's not an option for you. I would try walking into court and explaining your financial situation. There's a chance they can order community service which wouldn't cost you anything. 
Good Luck. 
Posted @ Saturday, April 12, 2014 1:37 PM by Barry Kowitt
I was pulled out on Saturday by an officer who said that my window were tinted too much and that I could get a ticket for each one. I told him that I bought the car used in 2010 and it was a 2006. I also told him that I never knew that, which was true. He then proceeded to write me a ticket for my brake lights being out. I told him that I had no way of knowing they were out and asked if he could just give me a warning and I'll get them checked by my mechanic. He refused and gave me the citation. So I take the car to my mechanic on Monday and he said that my brake lights were working fine, nothing wrong with them. I had a look while he sat in the car and he was right. What do I do now?
Posted @ Thursday, April 24, 2014 1:12 PM by johanne
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