What if you received a traffic citation in Florida but you live in another state and cannot come back to fight the ticket in Court? There is a fundamental right to travel in the United States. However, when using the roads such as north Florida's main arteries of I-75, US 301, US 441 a driver can be ticketed even if they ain't from around here and are unfamiliar with the area. Some drivers call the office and feel that they may have even been targeted because they are from out of town or just visiting. We can defend the citation in court and maybe have it thrown out, dismissed or have a driver found not guilty, but we cannot change the circumstance that the driver stands accused. We defend against the accusation.
In DUI defense a common question or problem involves the "ignition interlock device". The law on the ignition interlock device states that the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles "shall require the placement of a department-approved ignition interlock device for any person convicted of committing an offense of driving under the influence as specified".
Traffic tickets are issued for single vehicle or car crashes. A person ticketed for careless driving, failing to maintain a lane, or any other traffic citation charge brought as a result of a crash involving only one vehicle should always chose to take the infraction to court. In that instance the person cited received the ticket because there was an accident and for no other reason.
In criminal and traffic defense a common complaint from an accused individual or their family is that the arrest affidavit, arrest report, accident report or citation contains one or more errors. For example, if there is a DUI accusation with a child in the car but the officer marks on the DUI citation that there were no passengers under the age of 18 or marking "no injury" on a traffic ticket in a case involving a near fatality. (actual examples). The ugly truth is that the police, deputies and troopers filling out these documents are people too and they make mistakes. Unfotunately, typographical or similar errors will usually not lead to a case being dismissed.
Some traffic tickets are issued as "Infraction Court Appearance Required" sometimes also referred to as Mandatory Appearance citations. The only choice is whether to hire a lawyer or go into court unrepresented. In general, if the case requires an appearance, then the person should have counsel. Failure to appear in court will cause harsh consequences. Near the bottom of a Uniform Traffic Citation, on the left hand side there are three boxes. From top to bottom those boxes should be Criminal Traffic, Court appearance required and, Infraction which does not require appearance in court.
School zones are heavily monitored. Therefore, in traffic ticket defense, we seeseveral citations issued to people for failing to stop at a red light (or behind the stop bar), failing to yield, failure to obey a traffic control device and of course speeding through a school zone. The cities on US Highway 301 (Waldo and Lawtey) still write a bunch of tickets even though their signage has improved over the years.
Often times, people will call my office immediately after having received a traffic ticket and ask "what are my options?" The answer like everything else in the law is that 'it depends'. Traffic citations can be criminal or civil infractions. People accused of some civil traffic infractions are required to have a hearing. We refer to these as mandatory citations.
The Florida Move Over Law requires that a driver move over or slow down 20 miles per hour under the speed limit when approaching an authorized emergency vehicle that is using any visual signals and is parked on the side of the road, or a wrecker displaying amber or flashing lights that is performing a recovery or loading on the roadside, or sanitation vehcile peforming its function.
Many criminal cases such as drug possession, drug trafficking and not just DUI or other criminal traffic charges begin with a mere traffic stop. Until recently, clients were advised that if they are driving a blue car and the registration states the registered vehicle is white then, that alone is a sufficient basis for a stop. This would mean that if a person purchased a used car that was white, registered it and then had it painted black with red flames the mere fact that the car was painted would cause an inconsistency with the registration sufficient to justify 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 drugs. 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. While it may seem outrageous that you can be stopped merely for painting your car, 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.
I finally got to litigate the Dunnellon red Light Camera; after what feels like an eternity of fielding calls a resident finally issued a challenge to the government. The Dunnellon red light camera case was dismissed. Fighting the red light camera ticket was worth it because the government is lacking a very necessary step. I am not going to say what they are missing. If the Dunnellon officer in court was paying attention, they know why the case was dismissed. I urge all of you issued a citation from a red light camera in Dunnellon, Florida to fight back.