Hamilton County is a mostly rural county in North Florida. It borders Georgia and is a means of entrance and exit to the State. The county has beautiful nature parks, preserves, and festivals. The county is surrounded by Georgia to the North, Columbia County to the east, Suwanee County to the south and Madison county to the west. The smaller population of approximately 15,000 people does not accurately depict the large amount of traffic crossing the county. Many interstates cross the county. These interstates and major roadways include: Interstate 75, US Route 41, US Route 129, State Road 6, State Road 100, State Road 136, and State Road 143.
These roadways are patrolled by Hamilton County Sheriff’s Department, Jasper Police Department, and Florida Highway Patrol. The law enforcement agencies can write two types of citations—criminal and civil. Criminal citations require a hearing before a judge or magistrate. There are also higher fines and fees associated with a criminal citation. At the hearing, you, your Hamilton County Traffic Attorney, any witnesses, the officer that issued the citation or arrested you, and the judge or magistrate presiding over the case will be in attendance. You will get a chance to present your side of the case including any and all pertinent facts. You can also present any defenses that are available to you depending on why your citation was written.
You have three options to cure a civil citation. The first one is just paying the fine or fee associated with your penalty. The penalties range from $10-$5,000 or more depending on the violation. A DUI will cost you significantly more than a dismissal fee for showing proof of valid registration, for example. The nature of the DUI makes it a crime, which carries a higher fee than the civil infraction of not having proper proof of insurance. This option keeps points on your record. The more points you get, the higher chance your insurance premiums will go up and your license may be suspended.
The second option is to attend a Driver Improvement Course. The Driver Improvement course will keep points off of your license, but you will still need to pay the fines or fees associated with the violation. The course is a four (4) hour course and it is available in person in a classroom setting, online, or on DVD/video. There is a test at the end of the course. Once you have completed the course, you will need to receive a certificate of completion. You will need to take the certificate to the Clerk of the Court in order to avoid paying any more costs or fees. Keep in mind you will need to notify the Clerk as well within the first thirty (30) days after a citation that you intend to take the Driver Improvement Course in writing. The address is: Hamilton County Clerk of Court, Hamilton County Courthouse, 207 1st St. NE, Jasper, FL. After you notify the Clerk, you must take and complete the course within sixty (60) days. The Clerk may issue a D-6 request for your license to be suspended and/or impose more fines/fees if you do not have your certificate of completion into them within the appropriate sixty (60) day time period.
The third option is to contest the ticket. This requires a hearing. You will need to also alert the Clerk of the Court at the same aforementioned address in writing within the first (30) days after your citation. The Clerk of the Court will give you a court date. If you are unable to attend that court date, you will need to request a second court date. You may wish to seek out the assistance of a Hamilton County Traffic lawyer to help you organize your case and determine the best possible way to get to the best possible outcome. There are defenses available to you, and your attorney can explain what the defenses are and how they apply to your particular case. They can also appear in court for you so you do not have to present your case on your own. This option can also result in points being kept off of your license. If the court still finds you guilty of the violation, they may order you to pay fines or fees associated with the ticket.
Points are important to keep off of your license. An accumulation of points can result in the following suspensions:
|POINTS IN TIME FRAME||SUSPENSION LENGTH|
|12 points in 12 months||1 month|
|18 points in 18 months||3 months|
|24 points in 36 months||1 year|
|Additional violation resulting in points||Additional 3 months added to any existing suspension|
Also, the points accumulating may affect your insurance premiums. If your insurance company deems you ot be a “high risk” driver, you may be required to carry SR-22 insurance. This insurance has premiums that are up to four (4) times as much as safe driver policies.
As you can tell, the penalties for a traffic violation go above and beyond just paying a small fee. It is important to determine the likely outcomes of your case and whenever possible to contact your local Hamilton County Traffic Lawyer to have them set up a case plan for you and determine the best way to protect your rights.