Who may make an election to attend Defensive Driving School?
Any person charged with a moving or non-moving violation, other than violations involving driver's licenses, vehicle registration, proof of insurance, is eligible to elect to attend a defensive driving course in lieu of accumulating points on the driver history record. Effective July 1, 2005, per s. 318.14(9) and (10), drivers holding a commercial license may no longer make a school election.
What is the benefit of making an election?
There are two benefits. (1) No points will be assessed against your driver's license. (2)Attending a defensive driving course to satisfy the violation will be entered on your driver history record as an "adjudication withheld."
Do I have to pay to elect a defensive driving course?
Yes, the civil penalty is required by law to be paid in addition to the cost for the driving course which may range from $20 - $35. At the time of election, please refer to your local telephone directory under the heading "Driving Instruction" for the names and locations of defensive driving course nearest you."
How can I elect to attend a defensive driving course?
You must come to the Clerk's Office to make your election or, if you reside outside of Polk County, contact your local Clerk's Office and you may make your election to attend a defensive driving course by mail. Read the Affidavit carefully. Within thirty (30) calendar days of the date your ticket was issued, complete the affidavit, have your signature notarized and return the affidavit to the Clerk's Office in the envelope provided. Be sure to include a check or money order for the civil penalty and allow sufficient mail time to ensure your affidavit is received in the Clerk's Office with the thirty (30) calendared days required. After you have completed and paid the costs for the election, contact an approved school to arrange a schedule for the course (you may find a listing a driver improvement courses in your local yellow pages). You must enroll, attend and complete the defensive driving course within ninety (90) calendar days from the date you elected to attend. You will need to be prepared to pay for the course at the time of enrollment.
Do I need to do anything else after I attend the defensive driving course?
Yes, you must present proof of completion of the defensive driving course to the Clerk's Office. Proof must be received in the Clerk's Office within ninety (90) calendar days of the date you elected to attend the course.
Can I change my mind after I elect to attend a defensive driving course?
If you elect to attend a defensive driving course, you must enroll and complete the course, with proof of completion being presented to the Clerk's Office, within ninety (90) calendar days of your election. If you fail to meet any one of these requirements for any reason, an addition delinquency fee will be owed, your driver's license will be suspended, a reinstatement fee to reinstate your privilege to drive will be required and a conviction of the violation will be reported on your driver history record. If you contact the Clerk's Office before the ninety (90) days and state that you no longer wish to attend the defensive driving course, the case will be closed and the points will be assessed to the license.
How many times can I elect to attend a defensive driving course?
You may make an election to attend a defensive driving course to satisfy an eligible traffic violation one time in a twelve (12) month period, but no more than five times in a 10-year period.
What if I receive a ticket outside Polk County?
You must make your election and pay the associated fines and costs to attend a defensive driving course in the county in which your ticket was issued. You may, however, attend a defensive driving course approved by the State of Florida, in the location of your choice. Refer to your local telephone directory for the names and locations of defensive driving courses in other counties.
Where can I get more information about an election?
For information on the election requirements and costs involved, contact the nearest traffic department of the Clerk's Office. For information on the defensive driving course locations, hours and costs, contact an approved school. A listing of names, addresses and phone numbers of approved schools are available in your local telephone directory under "Driving Instructions."