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January 2013 Archives

Take a Notice of Violation of the Red Light Camera to Court

Many people contact me about the Dunnellon red light camera as soon as they receive a notice of violation. The red light camera system was put in place supposedly for traffic safety. A driver is not supposed to be issued a notice of violation of the red light if the driver was turning right at the time.  If you are to be accused of running a red light the first listed owner of the vehicle will get a notice of violation in the mail.

Mistake in the Order! Oral v. Written Orders in Florida

You leave court and realize, there is a mistake in the Order!  Clerks are people, what happens if the Clerk makes a mistake? For instance what happens if the judge orders one thing from the bench but the written order says something different? There is a mistake on the judgment, sentence or final order! This happens from time to time and if you have ever been to criminal or traffic court you know why. One hundred cases are handled within 120 minutes and there is simply a lot of paperwork moving really fast. Most of the orders are simply forms and the Clerk will check boxes as the judge speaks from the bench. Sometimes, the wrong box gets checked.

Stop for Flashing Bright Lights.

Some time in recent years law enforcement began seizing people for flashing bright lights accusing people of supposedly warning drivers about the presence of police or troopers on the road ahead. The question was whether you could flash my lights at another driver.

Blood Test or Blood Draw in DUI, DUI Serious Bodily Injury, DUI Manslaughter -

In Florida when a person is suspected of DUI Manslaughter or DUI causing serious bodily injury the police can use reasonable force to get a blood sample to test. A blood test can only be obtained when there is probable cause to believe the driver is under the influence and caused a serious bodily injury or death. This includes serious bodily injury to the driver. Law enforcement DOES NOT have authority to force a blood test or blood draw in a plain DUI, DUI with property damage or DUI with bodily injury.

What if You Forgot to Pay Your Traffic Ticket?

What happens when you forget to pay your ticket? A new traffic law went into effect on January 1, 2013 that changed what can happen if you forget to pay your traffic ticket or citation. Under former law once you went past 30 days you were convicted or adjudicated, points were assessed and your license was suspended and that was it.

Carrying a Concealed Firearm a Criminal Felony with Exceptions

Carrying a concealed firearm is a felony criminal offense in Florida with several exceptions that almost eat the rule. All of the exceptions of course require that you are not otherwise prohibited from carrying a firearm concealed or otherwise. For example the exceptions do not apply to people who have an active domestic violence injunction, are on probation, or are a convicted felon.

I Received a Traffic Ticket, Now What?

You received a traffic ticket for speeding, failure to yield, violation of a traffic control device, careless driving, or some other reason so now what? For some reason many people believe they must pay a citation within 30 days. While that is an option it is not necessarily a requirement.

Reckless Driving and Vehicular Homicide - preseve evidence

Recently I took a Reckless Driving with Property Damage case to trial. Reckless Driving is a criminal traffic offense. Recklessness requires the State to prove a willful and wanton driving pattern likely to cause damage. Furthermore, Reckless Driving is needed to prove Vehicular Homicide, but not DUI Manslaughter.  Careless driving is a civil citation, see my blog on the difference between reckless driving and careless driving for more. 

Red Light Camera Violations

Red light cameras and red light camera violations are becoming more prevalent. It seems that every month I get more phone calls from people who receive a notice of violation on a red light camera.

Pre-Trial Release and Violations

A violation of pre-trial release in a criminal case can lead to having a bond revoked. According to numerous sources, comedian Katt Williams was arrested on Tuesday January 8, 2013 for failing to appear in court while out on bond. His bond was revoked and re-set. Several of my clients have missed court or otherwise had their bond revoked while out on bond. Not all of my client's bonds were re-set.

Criminal cases, Drug Possession or Drug Trafficking from a Traffic Stop

Many drug possession, drug trafficking or other criminal charges begin with a mere traffic stop. For years I have advised clients that if they are driving a blue car and the registration states it is to a white car then that alone is a sufficient basis for a stop. This would mean that if I purchased a used car that was white registered it and then had it painted black with red flames the mere fact that I had painted the car would cause an inconsistency with the registration sufficient for a traffic stop. Many times this is where the officer says they smell marijuana or they have a dog that alerts to cocaine or other narcotics. Upon the ensuing search after the traffic stop when drugs are found a person is charged with possession or drug trafficking. In other words painting your car is going to get you stopped but only at the discretion of the officer's suspicion. Fortunately as of the 21st of December 2012 in the First District, this is no longer true. In a case titled Kerick Van Teamer v. State of Florida the First District held that if the color inconsistency is the only basis for the stop then the stop is illegal. Unfortunately other district courts within the state disagree. Therefore if you are driving a car and the registration says it is white and it is painted bright green and you are in Fort Lauderdale or Ocala, then that stop will be upheld. However if you are driving a bright green car that used to be white in Gainesville, Starke or Lake City then evidence gathered from the traffic stop could be suppressed. Now that there is a certified conflict amongst the districts, hopefully the Florida Supreme Court will give us an answer. While it does seem outrageous to me that you can be stopped merely for painting your car, I certainly can see how that may appear suspicious to a government worker driving a government car who is not responsible for the government paint job. That and people who steal cars tend to switch the plates of similar make and model cars. Obviously in the eyes of law enforcement officers anyone who paints their car is suspicious. This decision will be important because of the number of cases including drug possession and drug trafficking cases that begin at a traffic stop. In addition several other types of cases could be generated from a traffic stop such as driving on a suspended license, driving without a valid license, driving under the influence or DUI and certainly after a stop a driver with a warrant would be arrested. If you have any kind of case generated from a traffic stop it is important to have an attorney review whether that stop was legal, no matter if it is a drug case for possession or trafficking of marijuana, cocaine or prescriptions, or a DUI or even a driver's license case such as suspended or no valid. For a free consultation click or call today.

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