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Seatbelt stops - Click it or Ticket campaigns

Recently, the Gainesville Police Department announced that it will begin a "Click it or Ticket" campaign. Some will feel as if this is really to generate revenue or is really a fishing expedition. Several years ago, the law changed allowing police to stop cars when the driver or a passenger is not belted. Before that, an officer could not conduct a traffic stop merely for not wearing a seatbelt. Presently, an officer in Florida can pull you over just for not wearing a safety belt.

Drivers are either going to be ticketed for no seatbelt, a non-moving violation, or worse. Whenever, an officer stops a car they also look for people driving with no valid license, driving on a suspended license, people with warrants and anything that is inside the vehicle. A check for warrants will lead to an arrest. If the officer sees or smells marijuana or other drugs, then a stop will lead to a search and likely arrest or a notice to appear in court. Drivers and passengers can be arrested after a search reveals drugs.

According to GPD's Facebook page, "law enforcement agencies around the country will be stepping up enforcement November 17th - 30th, which includes the Thanksgiving holiday weekend". Furthermore, GPD wrote "one focus of the Click It or Ticket campaign is nighttime enforcement. Participating law enforcement agencies will be taking a no-excuses approach to seat belt law enforcement, writing citations day and night." The stated justification for these campaigns is to get people's attention and educate the public. Their focus on night time driving raises questions such as how can they tell and are they really looking for something else like drunk drivers, DUI or narcotics?

Law enforcement still cannot search your car without probable cause. They do not get to search just because they feel like it or ask politely. The answer to "can I look inside your car real quick for my own safety?" should be "no thank you". If the officer searches without consent or permission, then you may be able to have evidence thrown out.

Seatbelt tickets are non-moving violations so there is no points consequence when paid. The infractions will appear on your driving history or MVR. If you or someone you know was caught up in the net of "Click it or Ticket" and accused of a moving violation, criminal traffic offense, drug possession, trafficking, DUI or other crime whether arrested or given a notice to appear, then click, call or fill out the form to the right for a consultation.

GPD Facebook Page

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