Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, all civil traffic infraction pretrial hearings will be conducted remotely using the ZOOM platform. There are no "in person" pretrial hearings scheduled at any of our courthouse locations at the present time and therefore you should not appear at the courthouse for your hearing. Similarly, there are no "in person" trials set at the courthouse at this time. On June 17, 2020, we will begin phasing in remote civil traffic infraction trials.
In order to receive the most up to date notifications about your hearing, you must advise the Clerk of your current email address. You can do this on the Clerk's website.
If you have not yet received your court date or are not sure when it is scheduled, please go to Traffic Violations page and look up your case to see when your hearing has been set.
If your hearing will be conducted remotely, you should not appear at one of the Palm Beach County Courthouses for this hearing.
The email will include instructions for accessing your remote hearing. In order to appear remotely, you will need either a multimedia device connected to the internet: PC Mac, iPad, iPhone or Android device equipped with a microphone and preferably a webcam; OR a cellular phone or land telephone line. If you do not receive a notice that your traffic trial will be conducted remotely, you will instead receive a new notice of final hearing from the Clerk's office resetting your case.
If for any reason you are unable to participate remotely, via the Zoom platform, you must file a letter with the Clerk explaining why you are unable to appear remotely. This letter must be filed with the Clerk at least three business days prior to the date of your hearing.
Conditional Plea of No Contest and Waiver of Appearance
The Florida Rules of Traffic Court allow civil traffic infraction defendants to enter written pleas of no contest and also allow judges and civil traffic hearing officers to withhold adjudication of guilt on a civil traffic infraction when not otherwise prohibited by statute or rule of procedure. The Court has determined that considerable time and expense can be saved by created a process for civil traffic infraction defendants to seek a withhold of adjudication (no points) via a plea of no contest without the necessity of attending a hearing.
Any Defendant with a pending civil traffic infraction that does not arise out of a traffic crash and does not require a mandatory hearing under section 318.19, Florida Statutes, may enter a written “Conditional Plea of No Contest and Waiver of Appearance” wherein Defendant requests a withhold of adjudication of guilt resulting in “no points” on their driving record.
To file your Conditional Plea of No Contest and Waiver of Appearance, please visition the Clerk's E-Filing & How to File page for more information.
|Conditional Plea of No Contest and Waiver of Appearance|
Additional Information About Your Civil Traffic Infraction Hearing:
All motions to dismiss and any proof of compliance shall be filed with the Clerk no later than three (3) business days prior to the scheduled hearing. At the time of the remote pretrial hearing, it shall be the responsibility of the attorney/defendant to advise the Court that a motion to dismiss and/or proof of compliance has been filed. Any evidence that you want to show the Court at the time of your remote hearing must scanned into your device so that you can share the document(s) with the Court at the time of your remote hearing if you are making a video appearance. If you are only appearing by telephone and you wish to submit evidence/documents for the Court to consider, you must file that evidence with the Clerk at least three days prior to your telephonic appearance. You may also e-file your evidence with the portal. To learn more about e-filing, go to Self-represented Filers page.
Technical Requirements To Appear Remotely
In order to participate in civil traffic infraction hearings remotely you will need either a multimedia device connected to the internet: PC Mac, iPad, iPhone or Android device equipped with a microphone and preferably a webcam; OR a cellular phone or land telephone line.
Testing Your Device
At any time after receipt of this notice, you may begin testing your device by going to Zoom.us.
Approximately 7-10 days prior to your scheduled remote civil traffic hearing, you will receive an email or letter from the Clerk's office inviting you to the remote civil traffic hearing. You will need the information contained in this notice to connect on the day of your civil traffic infraction hearing. You will not get a reminder notice. If you do not receive this notification, check your spam or junk email folders or go to the Traffic Violations page.
Connecting on the Day of Your Remote Civil Traffic Hearing
On the day of your civil traffic infraction remote hearing, at the time specified on your notice of hearing, open the invitation email and click on the link provided to join the remote hearing. If you have not provided the Clerk with your email address, you may log in to your hearing using the phone number, meeting ID and password previously provided to you. You will be joined into the remote (video) civil traffic infraction pretrial docket. You may be one of many persons on the docket. All parties will be muted until their case is called. When asked, click on the button to unmute your microphone.
If You Were Cited for a Compliance Ticket
If you were issued a citation for having defective equipment on the vehicle you were driving, not having proof of registration or insurance, not having your license with you at the time of your stop, having illegally tinted windows, driving on a suspended license (without knowledge), having an expired registration or insurance, or not having timely changed the address on your license and you have since fixed the problem or obtained the necessary paperwork to show that you are now in compliance, you may file your proof of compliance with the Clerk at least three business days prior to your scheduled hearing along with a letter requesting a dismissal of your case. Upon receipt of said proof, the Court will review your paperwork and if it is in order, an order will be entered dismissing your case. If you elect to timely file proof of compliance with the Clerk, you should check the Clerk's website to see if your case has been dismissed prior to your scheduled hearing. If your case has been dismissed, you do not need to attend your scheduled remote hearing.
What to Expect at the Pretrial Hearing
The presiding traffic hearing officer will ask you if you wish to resolve your traffic infraction case at the pretrial hearing. If you would like to close your case at that time, you may do so by either entering a plea of guilty or no contest. A no contest plea simply means that you are not admitting the charges nor contesting them and instead are willing to accept a penalty for them. If you enter a guilty or no contest plea, the Traffic Hearing Officer will look at your citation and driving record and tell you what the penalty will be. You will be given sufficient time to pay your penalty and/or attend driving school, if ordered. Alternatively, if you wish to maintain your previously entered plea of not guilty, the Clerk will give you a trial date for you to attend a few weeks after your pretrial hearing.
What to Expect at Trial
The state has the burden of proof in a civil traffic infraction case to try to prove you guilty beyond and to the exclusion of reasonable doubt. Because of this, the officer will be asked to testify first. At the conclusion of the officer's testimony, you have the right to ask the officer questions commonly known as cross-examination. If there are other witnesses that have been subpoenaed by the Clerk, they will testify next and you will have the right to cross-examine them, as well. You then have the right to testify in your own behalf, although you don't have to if you don't want to. You may also call witnesses to testify in your behalf and produce evidence. If you are going to produce evidence at your trial, you must do so in compliance with the directions listed above under the heading Additional information about your civil traffic infraction hearing. The Traffic Hearing Officer may ask questions of you or any of the witnesses who have testified. At the conclusion of the trial, the Traffic Hearing Officer will announce his/her findings as to whether you are guilty or not guilty. If you are found not guilty, that will conclude your remote hearing. If you are found guilty, the Court will look at your driving record to determine the appropriate penalty and give you time to pay it. Should you lose your trial, you have the right to appeal that decision to the next highest court so long as you file your Notice of Appeal with the Clerk within 30 days of the date of your trial.