Sep 3, 2023 | Traffic

As a dedicated traffic ticket attorney, I’ve seen firsthand the frustration and concern that many Florida drivers face when it comes to their driving records. In the Sunshine State, traffic citations are like stubborn shirt stains, unable to be removed from your Motor Vehicle Report (MVR), no matter how much time has passed or how responsible a driver you’ve become. Today, we’ll delve into the complexities of this issue and shed light on the absence of court or administrative procedures to erase these indelible marks.

A Stain That Doesn’t Fade

Your driving record is a reflection of your past actions on the road – a mix of safe journeys and perhaps a few missteps. However, unlike some states that offer a chance for redemption through expungement or record sealing, Florida’s policy on traffic citations takes a more unforgiving stance. Once a citation makes its way onto your MVR, it’s there to stay, potentially haunting your driving history for years to come.

No Court or Administrative Remedies

One of the most frustrating aspects of this situation is the absence of court or administrative procedures to remove a traffic ticket from your MVR. In many legal matters, the court system provides avenues for individuals to rectify their records after demonstrating good behavior or meeting specific criteria. Unfortunately, when it comes to traffic citations on your MVR in Florida, the door to expungement remains firmly closed.

The Ripple Effect on Your Life

The repercussions of a permanent traffic citation on your MVR can be far-reaching:

  • Insurance Premiums: Your insurance rates could skyrocket, impacting your finances for years, even if you’ve since proven to be a cautious and responsible driver.
  • Employment Opportunities: Certain jobs require a clean driving record, and a permanent citation could potentially stand in the way of career advancement or even job prospects.
  • Professional Licenses: For individuals whose professions depend on a clean driving record, such as commercial drivers or delivery personnel, the inability to remove a citation can hinder their livelihood.
  • Legal Consequences: Accumulating multiple citations without the opportunity for removal might lead to more severe penalties, including license suspension, fines, or even legal trouble.
  • Personal Well-being: Beyond the professional and financial aspects, a tarnished driving record can affect your personal reputation and self-esteem, perpetuating a sense of being judged by past mistakes.

Advocating for Change

The lack of a path to remove citations from your MVR has prompted discussions about whether Florida’s approach aligns with principles of fairness, rehabilitation, and second chances. Advocates argue that providing drivers with a means to expunge certain minor violations after a demonstrated period of responsible driving could help alleviate some of these long-term consequences.

Why Isn’t this a bigger issue?

The way Florida sees it, you still have the potential to get a withhold of adjudication on a traffic ticket, which translates into no points. If you have no points then the insurance companies can’t use the mere fact that you received a traffic ticket to increase your rates. Even if you hold a Commercial Drivers License (CDL), a withhold of adjudication on your citation should not affect your employment because the employer’s insurance should not increase to continue your employment.

In Conclusion

Florida’s unyielding policy on traffic citations casts a shadow over many drivers, limiting opportunities for rehabilitation and personal growth. As a traffic ticket attorney, I believe it’s crucial for the legal system to evolve and offer drivers a way to redeem themselves and move forward. While we navigate the uncharted waters of this issue, it’s my hope that our state will consider adopting a more equitable approach that takes into account an individual’s ability to learn, grow, and improve on the road.

Sergio Cruz

I’m a criminal and traffic attorney with 17+ years of experience. I was a prior chairman of the Florida Bar Traffic Rules Committee. I’m the lawyer other lawyers call when they need advice on any traffic matter, criminal or civil.