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.
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.
There is no such thing as a traffic ticket for a moving violation being issued as "no points, no school". Unfortunately, cops on the road seem to be telling people that they can get no points by paying a citation. That is not true. (They give other misadvice too, see my blog on Bradford County Traffic Tickets). Paying a citation without talking to a lawyer first is the worst thing that you can do. This is because it is a plea of guilty, an admission to the offense, points will be assessed to your license, your insurance may increase and your guilty plea could be used against you later even if your guilty plea cannot be entered into evidence in another court proceeding. Entering a guilty plea by paying an infraction can be disastrous if you are accused of driving on a suspended license.
The top was blown off an illegal traffic ticket quota requirement at the city of Waldo, Florida just days after I issued a blog about traffic ticket quotas. According to a presentation by several officers to the city council, Waldo, long designated a speed trap, did in fact maintain an illegal traffic ticket quota. While this traffic citation quota allegation remains under investigation, two officers have been suspended. Obviously, those officers failed to appear in court this morning.
It appears that Tony Stewart's crash which killed another driver will be investigated by law enforcement. A few minutes into the business day and I am already being asked "for what?" While some feel this is an incident for which Mr. Ward waived any civil actions by assuming the risk of death when he exited his vehicle and tried to confront a race car, there are others that want our police state to investigate all incidents of death with an eye towards prosecution.
In Florida, the criminal offense of Hit and Run is called Leaving the Scene of an Accident. The severity of this crime sometimes referred to as LSA, as do so many other criminal traffic charges, depends upon the nature and the extent of the damage.
Yesterday, May 28, 2013 the Governor signed into law SB-52 a ban on texting while driving in Florida. A violation of the texting law is a non-moving violation and can only be enforced as a secondary offense. This means you must be pulled over for another reason other than texting. A driver charged with violating the law is subject to six points if there is a crash or two additional points if the primary moving violation occurred within a school zone.
In Florida criminal and traffic law there is an enormous difference between reckless driving and careless driving. While many people use the terms "reckless driving" and "careless driving" interchangeably, you should never hear a traffic attorney or criminal defense lawyer do so. The terms do not mean the same thing and are separate and distinct criminal or civil traffic offenses.
When a driver is charged with careless driving it can be a very serious matter. A citation for careless driving normally means you should contact a traffic ticket defense lawyer as soon as possible. Many times the charge is the result of a traffic crash or accident.