Traffic Citations Information
A civil traffic infraction is a non-criminal violation which usually can be disposed of by payment of a civil penalty or election to attend a defensive driving course. A court appearance is not required, except in cases where the violation involves an accident with serious bodily injury, a fatality or certain other violations.
A traffic payment is due in the Clerk’s office by the compliance date (within 30 days of receipt of the citation). Payments received, regardless of postmark, or made after the compliance date will incur an additional $23.00 late fee and a suspension of license.
Your options for a Traffic Citation
In Columbia County, you have 30 days from the date of issuance to elect one of the following:
- Option 1: Plead guilty, accept points on your driver license and pay the ticket
- Option 2: Pay the ticket and Elect Traffic School to withhold adjudication off your driving record
- Option 3: Contest the ticket and request a court hearing
Option 1 - Pay the Ticket
By paying the Traffic Civil Penalty, you are admitting guilt and the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (DHSMV) will assess points on your driving record for moving violations.
Pay Online, by mail, in person or by phone at 386-758-2193.
Option 2 - Go To Traffic School
If you choose to go to school, you must sign the Driver Improvement Course Affdavit Form and file it with the Clerk’s office, along with your payment, within 30 days of the date you received the ticket. Upon receipt of your affidavit and payment you will be granted an extra 60 days to attend a driver improvement school in the State of Florida. Failure to attend the school or pay the fine will result in suspension of your license or late fees being assessed.
If you elect the Basic Driver Improvement Course option, adjudication is withheld and the DHSMV will not assess points against your driving record. A course certificate of completion form must be returned to the Clerk’s Office within the 60 day timeframe to be accepted.
Remember, you may only elect the traffic school option five (5) times in your life and the election can only be made once every twelve (12) months. Failure to timely complete the school course or timely submit your completion certificate or pay the fine will result in removal of the fee reduction, points being assessed, and suspension of your license and/or late fees being assessed.
Option 3 - Contesting Your Ticket
If you choose to contest the ticket, you must make your request for a hearing in writing to the Clerk within 30 days of the date of the citation. You will be notified of your court date.
Columbia County Clerk of Court
173 NE Hernando Avenue
Lake City, FL 32055
Phone: 386-719-7588 or 386-758-2193