My question involves traffic court in the State of: FL (I reside in NH and hold a NH license)
I reside in New Hampshire. I was in Florida on vacation with my wife this May. We were driving late one night from Key West to Miami on the Card Sound Rd. Its an old 2-lane highway (one lane each direction) which is usually an evacuation route, but we decided to use since it was the last day of the Memorial day weekend and the main route was very congested. I started passing 2 cars in front of me when the center yellow line was broken (the road does not have double yellow lines), but by the time I finished passing in about 300 yards, we had just entered a bridge. I was shortly pulled over and issued an 'Improper Passing' citation for passing on a bridge. I tried explaining to the officer that we weren't aware there was a bridge ahead, but he was in no mood to listen.
We returned to New Hampshire the following day and I was checking if there was a way I could pay the citation online; I could not go back to FL to contest it and figured why go through the trouble. I found the Monroe County website and was very happy to find an online payment facility, but that soon faded when it turned out they only accept Mastercard/Discover. I had only VISA at the time, as did my wife and most of my friends. I knew my bro-in-law had a Discover so I called him up for help. He took my citation number and agreed to pay on my behalf while I stayed on the line. He told me there was this 'traffic school' option to keep points off my record. I wasn't too concerned about the points since I heard out-of-state violations don't add points to your NH driving record, but he told me that the website said I could take it online, so I figured what the hell and asked him to choose it. He paid for the citation and that was that.
I've since had a very busy phase at work, and I also moved to a new address (same city). I had no time to enrol in the online school, but didn't worry about it since I'd already paid my citation. Little did I know though, that the traffic school option actually causes a (very small!) discount on the citation fine, and I was therefore running up a balance payment with the FL court system.
Yesterday (i.e. 4.5 months since the original citation), I was shocked to receive a suspension notice from the NH DMV, with the suspension becoming effective 12/20/2008 unless I produced a receipt from 'Monroe County' stating that my business with the court was done. It was then that I went to the Monroe County website and looked up traffic cases and found a case for me with the following events:
10/7/2008 RETURN MAIL * INSUFFICIENT ADDRESS
9/25/2008 TRAFFIC COLLECTION LETTER SENT
9/24/2008 D6 ORDERED AND ISSUED FAILED TO COMPLETE SCHOOL ELECTION
6/23/2008 Defendant Elected Traffic School Option
6/3/2008 CITATION FILED *
The county had issued a D6 automatically 90 days after traffic school was elected! I did not receive the collection letter since I had moved. I did have forwarding service setup with USPS, but the letter probably did not request forwarding service.
I called the Monroe County clerk's office this morning and found that I could get a receipt from them by sending a money order for $43.80, which includes both the discount originally offered on the citation and some kind of late fee. I will be sending it today and I expect that I will be able to provide the documentation needed to my state's DMV so that the suspension never really reaches the 'effective date' of 12/20/2008.
Here are my questions. Assuming that I get my reinstatement from the NH DMV BEFORE the suspension goes into effect:
1. Will I still have the suspension on my driving record?
2. Will my insurance rates go up?
3. Will there be a criminal record? I am here on a work visa, so this is important for me.
4. Will there be an entry in the NDR for me that will show up when prospective employers perform background checks?
5. If the answer to any of 1-4 is YES, is there any means at all of getting things back in order?
I have a very clean record (no other tickets) except for this FL citation. I'm kicking myself every minute now for my own stupidity.