As a traffic ticket defense attorney, a question I am often asked by drivers from other states is the where the smaller municipalities along US 301 between Jacksonville and Gainesville conduct their traffic violation hearings. In Florida, there is no municipal court. All civil traffic infraction hearings are held in County Court and depending on the county either by a county judge or a hearing officer. A driver may elect to have a traffic hearing determined by a judge.
Therefore, a traffic citation received in the municipalities of Lawtey, Hampton or Starke, will be heard by the county judge of Bradford County in Starke, Florida. If the traffic ticket is in Belleview, Dunnellon, Reddick, Ocala, Silver Springs or Summerfield, then the case will be heard in the Marion County Courthouse. If the traffic violation was issued in the towns of Alachua, Archer, Gainesville, Hawthorne, or Waldo then it will be heard in Alachua County court in Gainesville, Florida. Many courthouse locations can be found on the resources page of this website.
While the small towns of Alachua, Belleview, Dunnellon, Hampton, Lawtey, Starke, and Waldo do issue many traffic tickets, the towns themselves do not have to expend the monies to support traffic court. However, the officers do have to travel into the county seats of Gainesville, Ocala and Starke. Sometimes this creates a situation where the officers cannot show. These towns seem to depend on drivers merely paying the citations and not electing a contested hearing. This makes some citizens feel that Hampton, Lawtey and Waldo are speed traps and AAA did list Waldo and Lawtey as traffic traps.
The only way to have a traffic citation dismissed is chose to go to court, choosing to have a hearing. In Florida traffic tickts where no appearance is required, a driver must choose to have a hearing within 30 days of the issue date of the traffic infraction. A lawyer will take care of filing the paperwork to make chose a hearing and can assist after 30 days too. To hire a traffic lawyer to go to court with or instead of the driver, please click, call, or fill out the form.