If you are interested in attending a Defensive Driving School, you must first contact the Traffic Division at the Clerk of Court for payment and enrollment information.
A Civil Traffic Citation is a non-criminal traffic violation that is not punishable by incarceration and for which there is no right to a trial by jury or a right to court-appointed counsel. Most civil traffic infractions do not require a court appearance, but can be disposed by paying a civil penalty, requesting an infraction hearing, or electing to attend a driver improvement course.
The Clerk of the Court collects all traffic fines and distributes the proceeds according to law. The total amount of a traffic fine consists of amounts required to be paid by Florida Law as well as by County and City ordinances and may vary from what is written on your citation by the officer. Check with the Clerk's Office for the total amount due on your citation.
Parking Citations for violations that occur outside of the Pensacola Downtown Parking Management District are paid to the Clerk of Court. These citations are payable within 30 days from the date of issuance. If your parking citation was issued by the City of Pensacola Downtown Parking Management District you need to contact their office to determine how and where to pay the citation.
Upon receipt of a civil traffic citation for any non-criminal violation, you have 30 days from the date of issuance of the ticket to exercise one of three options:
- Option 1 - Pay the Ticket
- Option 2 - Pay Ticket & Attend Driver Course
- Option 3 - Contest the Ticket In Court
Payment on your citation is due in the Clerk's Office within 30 days from the date the citation was issued. Payments may be made in person, by phone, mail, or online.
The Clerk's Office accepts cash, money orders, traveler's checks, and credit cards (credit card payments will incur an additional 3.5% service charge on the payment). All payments, regardless of method, must be received by the Clerk's Office by the 30th day.
If you are making a late payment, your clearance document(s) will be prepared and mailed to you via U.S. Mail at the address listed on your traffic citation. Making a late payment online does not automatically reinstate or prevent suspension of your driver's license. You will still need to present your clearance document(s) to a Florida Department of Motor Vehicles or Tax Collector office.
Florida Statute 318.14 provides qualified individuals the option to elect to attend a Basic Driver Improvement Course approved by the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (DHSMV) to prevent points from being assessed to your driving record. To choose this option, you must first complete the Traffic Election Form and make payment within 30 days from the date the citation was issued. The election to attend a Basic Driver Improvement Course along with the payment may be made by mail or in person to the Clerk's Office. To determine the total costs for the traffic school election see the Basic Driver's Course Election Fine Schedule (PDF).
You must make the election prior to attending the course and making payment. A course completed before the election is made will not be accepted and your license will still be suspended unless a new course is completed, and proof is submitted to the Clerk's Office within 60 days after the date of the election.
Upon completion of the approved Basic Driver Improvement Course, you must bring, mail, or email the certificate of completion to the Clerk's Office. Failure to complete the Basic Driver Improvement Course and turn the certificate of completion into the Clerk's Office within 60 days from the date of election will result in a report of non-compliance being submitted to the DHSMV and your driver's license being suspended. If this occurs, additional court costs and late charges will be applied to your citation and will need to be paid before the suspension can be cleared.
Note: If you hold an out-of-state license, it is your responsibility to verify, prior to your election, that the state issuing your driver's license will accept a Florida school election and withhold points for completing the school.
Traffic School Election Qualifications
To qualify for the traffic school election:
- Your must not possess a Class A, B, or C commercial drivers license (CDL)
- You may not have elected to attend an approved Basic Driver Improvement Course within the last 12 months
- You may not have elected to attend an approved Basic Driver Improvement Course 5 times in your lifetime
A list of approved Basic Driver Improvement Course schools can be found on the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles website under "Basic Driver Improvement Courses" or in the Yellow Pages under "driving instruction" or "traffic schools".
If you choose to enter a 'Not Guilty' plea and contest the traffic citation in court, you must notify the Clerk in writing within 30 days of the date the citation was issued to request a traffic infraction hearing. The Traffic Election Form is provided for you to select this option. The completed form needs to be brought to the Clerk's Office in person, by mail, or by email within 30 days of the compliance date. When you choose this option, you plead not guilty and you waive your right to pay the fine or elect to attend a Basic Driver Improvement Course.
After receipt of the completed form, the Clerk will send a notice advising you of the date and time of your hearing. If you reside outside of Escambia County, you may attend in person at your own expense or be heard at the hearing by way of an Affidavit of Defense (PDF). Subpoenas will be issued for the law enforcement officer as well as any witnesses listed by the officer. You are responsible for making sure any witnesses you want to testify appear at the hearing.
At a hearing, the court may impose a fine up to $500 or require you to attend a driver improvement course, or both. In cases of speeding in a school zone, work zone or a death, a fine up to $1,000 may be imposed.
- How long do I have to pay my traffic citation?
- What if I cannot pay my citation within 30 calendar days?
- How do I figure out what I owe on my ticket?
- What can you tell me about points assessed on my license?
- How do I know if my Florida Driver's License is valid?
- How can I obtain a copy of my driving record?
- What are the benefits of attending a Basic Driver Improvement Course?
- What if I receive a ticket outside of Escambia County?
- How many times can I elect to attend the Basic Driver Improvement Course?
- If I choose to attend a driver improvement course and do not attend, does this count as one of the 5 times I am allowed to choose this option?