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A criminal traffic or misdemeanor charge requires a court appearance and carries with it criminal penalties that may include a fine and/or the possibility of a jail term. Payment of a criminal traffic ticket cannot be automatically made to the Clerk’s office. Persons charged with a criminal offense, if not given a court date at the jail, will need to come to the Clerk’s office and set a court date or will be notified by mail.
A civil traffic infraction is a non-criminal charge, such as a speeding violation, that can usually be disposed of by payment of a civil penalty or an election to attend a basic driver improvement course. A court appearance is not required, except in cases where the violation involves an accident with serious bodily injury or fatality to another. Payment can be made by mail by using the traffic envelope provided by the officer or to:P.O. Box 9000Drawer CC-10Bartow, FL 33831
You may also pay in person by coming to our full-service counter windows in the traffic division.
Infraction violations must be paid within 30 calendar days from the date the ticket was issued. Criminal violations are due on or before the date the court authorizes. If a ticket is not paid within 30 calendar days from the date of issuance, a suspension will be entered against your driver’s license, which could affect your insurance rates and will subject you to additional penalties.
If you receive a letter from the State of Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (Florida DHSMV) informing you that your license will be suspended, you must comply on or before the business day prior (before) the date stated on the letter. The suspension date listed on the letter goes into effect at midnight on that date. Therefore, if you come in on that date, you will be late and your license will already be suspended.
Within the first 30 days from the offense date, the Clerk is allowed to extend a one-time continuance for 60 days from the original due date. If a payment continuance is requested for a civil infraction payment, this request waives the individual’s right to elect driving school or later plead not guilty and request a court date. If you were charged with failing to carry your driver’s license, registration, or insurance, you must provide proper proof to the Clerk of Court within 30 days of the time of the stop along with the required $10 dismissible fee. Payment extensions are not allowed for dismissals.
If you were cited for failure to maintain proof of insurance and did not have valid insurance at the time of the stop, you may elect to enter a plea of nolo contendere and present proper proof of insurance to the Clerk of Court. Adjudication is withheld. This election and payment of costs ($78.80) must be made within 30 days to the Clerk of Court. Payment extensions are not allowed for elections as set forth in section 318.14(10)(a), Florida Statutes.
Yes, but only for first-time arraignment dates (criminal and civil infraction hearings). All other requests must be directly made through the appropriate judge.
A suspension will be entered against your driver’s license that could affect your insurance rates and subject you to additional penalties. Effective July 1, 2004, Florida Statute 938.35 authorized the Clerk to employ a collection agency for all unpaid debts. If this citation is referred for collection efforts, an additional service fee up to 35% will be added onto the total amount of the unpaid financial obligations which remain unpaid 90 days or greater from the payment due date.
You must notify the Clerk’s office, in person or in writing, within the required time frame. Your case will be scheduled for an infraction arraignment hearing where you will be formally advised of the charge against you. You may at that time change your plea and disposition will take place. If you still want to contest the charge, the case will be continued over to a non-jury trial for a later date.
The officer who issued the traffic ticket and any other witnesses called by the officer or any other witnesses that you wish to call to testify on your behalf. If you choose to subpoena witnesses on your behalf, it will be your responsibility for the preparation and costs, generally costing $27 per person. Most civil infractions are heard by hearing officers. Contested parking ticket cases are also heard by the hearing officers.
If you are found guilty of a civil traffic infraction the court may assess the fine and costs, order you to attend a basic driver improvement course, or impose other penalties. If you should fail to pay the fine and costs in the time allotted you by the court, a suspension will be issued against your driver’s license and additional penalties will be imposed. If you are found guilty of a criminal charge, the court may assess the fine and costs, order you to attend driver improvement, place you on probation, or impose other penalties. If you should fail to pay the fine and costs in the time allotted you by the court or fail to complete any other sanction placed upon you by the court, a suspension may be issued against your driver’s license, a warrant may be issued for your arrest, or varying additional penalties may be imposed by the judge.
No, deputy clerks cannot advise you of the number of points assessed against your driver history record or how points will affect your insurance. The Clerk’s office can provide a full history for a nominal fee averaging $16.25 for the first page and one dollar for each additional page for a lifetime history. Otherwise, you must address your questions to the Bureau of Driver Licenses and/or your insurance agent.
For information on the election requirements and costs involved, contact the nearest traffic department of the Clerk’s office. For information on the basic driver improvement course locations, hours, and costs, please 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."
Payable civil infractions may be satisfied in one of several ways:
Fees for traffic fines may change during the year. The fine provided by the deputy may not be accurate. Please refer to the current fee schedule for the most current information.
Extensions to pay are granted for a one-time, 60 day period if requested on or before the original 30 days due date. This can be done by calling our Clerk’s Call Center during office hours, or you must notify the Clerk’s office, in person, or in writing, within the required time frame of 30 calendar days from the date of issuance of the ticket. Once this option is selected, it waives your right for a court date or to elect to attend a basic driver improvement course.
You must notify the Clerk’s office, in person or in writing within the required time frame of 30 calendar days from the date of issuance of the ticket.
If you wish to plead not guilty to a traffic infraction ticket, and you cannot appear for a hearing because you live outside Polk County, you must complete an Affidavit of Defense (PDF) and file it with Polk County Clerk’s office on or before the 30-day due date.
Effective October 1, 2006, speed in excess of 30 mph over the posted speed limit requires a mandatory court appearance. The fine is doubled for a second or subsequent conviction within 12 months when speed exceeds the limit by 30 miles per hour or more. A person may not elect to attend a basic driver improvement course in lieu of a court appearance.
If you are found guilty of a civil traffic infraction, the court may assess fine and costs, order you to attend a basic driver improvement course, or impose other penalties. If you should fail to pay the fine and cost within the time allotted you by the court, if any, a suspension will be issued against your driver’s license and additional penalties will be imposed. Fines for civil infractions are governed by Florida Statutes. For the most current fine schedule refer to a current Civil Infraction Fine Schedule for the applicable fee.
Fines are distributed to various funds established by the legislature with a portion being returned to the issuing law enforcement agency and a service charge retained by the Clerk of the Circuit Court.
Please allow 5 to 7 days for our office to receive and process your citation before attempting to make a payment. Methods of paying traffic fines include:
Tickets must be satisfied in the county in which they were issued. For example, if you received a traffic ticket in Orlando, Florida, you must pay for it in Orange County. You may not pay for it in Polk County.
Any person charged with a moving or non-moving violation, other than violations involving driver’s licenses, vehicle registration, or proof of insurance, is eligible to elect to attend a basic driver improvement 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.
There are two benefits:
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 to $35. At the time of the election, please refer to your local telephone directory under the heading "Driving Instruction" for the names and locations of the basic driver improvement course nearest you."
You must come to the Clerk’s office to make your selection, or, if you reside outside of Polk County, contact your local Clerk’s office and you may make your election to attend a basic driver improvement course by mail. Read the Affidavit carefully. Within 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 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 basic driver improvement course within 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.
Yes, you must present proof of completion of the basic driver improvement course to the Clerk’s office. Proof must be received in the Clerk’s office within 90 calendar days of the date you elected to attend the course.
If you elect to attend a basic driver improvement course, you must enroll and complete the course, with proof of completion being presented to the Clerk’s office, within 90 calendar days of your election. If you fail to meet any one of these requirements for any reason, an additional 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 90 days and state that you no longer wish to attend the basic driver improvement course, you will be assessed an $18 processing fee to the case per section 318.15 Florida Statutes. Upon receipt of the fee, the case will be closed and the points will be assessed to the license.
You may make an election to attend a basic driver improvement course to satisfy an eligible traffic violation one time in a 12 month period, but no more than five times within a lifetime.
You must make your election and pay the associated fines and costs to attend a basic driver improvement course in the county in which your ticket was issued. You may, however, attend a basic driver improvement 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 basic driver improvement courses in other counties.
For information on the election requirements and costs involved, contact the nearest Traffic Department of the Clerk’s office. For information on the basic driver improvement 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."