After a DUI arrest in Florida, a person will be asked to submit a sample of their breath for analysis. Also referred to as taking the breath test. Upon refusing to provide a sample, the arresting officer is supposed to read a warning that the license will be suspended. Sometimes, people change their mind and provide a sample immediately. What if the officer says it is too late to blow and announces the arrestee has refused?
The criminal traffic charge of Leaving the Scene of an Accident (LSA) or Hit and Run from a crash involving a death is a serious felony.
Reckless Driving, not to be confused with careless driving, is a criminal traffic offense in Florida. An accusation of Reckless Driving does not require a crash, but property damage does enhance the offense. In a recent case, an attempt at defending a charge of Reckless Driving was made via a motion for immunity under the Stand Your Ground law.
In traffic law, the term "crash" does not mean what many people think. Seemingly many people believe that a "crash" means that there is some degree of damage to vehicles. Some have even argued that at crash should equate to a significant amount of damage. Does a crash require damage? What then is a traffic crash?
School zones are heavily monitored. Therefore, in traffic ticket defense, we see several 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.
For some it is getting the letter or notice of Habitual Traffic Offender ("HTO") in the mail. For others it is getting arrested after being pulled over for no reason or even if there was a traffic citation, surprise! The license is being, or has been, suspended for five (5) years. The driver has been habitualized! After Notice from the DHSMV, we can determine the next step to attempt to reinstate the license. An analysis of the driver record may be required.
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.
The law on Leaving the Scene of an Accident (LSA), aka Hit and Run, with injury or death had been interpreted to require that the accused knew or should have known that an injury occurred. There is a knowledge requirement to LSA with injury or death because they are a criminal traffic offenses that are felonies. LSA with property damage is a misdemeanor. The requirement of knew or should have known has been applied to the injury element of the offense even if there is a death. However, the Florida Supreme Court had said in the opinion that led to the standard jury instructions that "knowledge of the accident is an essential element of the offense". State v. Mancuso, 652 So. 2d 370 (Fla. 1995). In addition, the court wrote that "one cannot 'willfully' leave an accident without awareness that an accident has occurred". Id.
What happens when you forget to pay your traffic ticket? A new traffic law went into effect on January 1, 2013 that changed what can happen if a person forgets to pay or otherwise act upon the traffic ticket or citation. Under former law, once 30 days passed, the driver would be convicted or adjudicated, points were assessed and the license was suspended and that was it.
In Florida criminal and traffic law there is an enormous difference between reckless driving and careless driving. While some people use the terms "reckless driving" and "careless driving" interchangeably, a traffic attorney or criminal defense lawyer should never do so. The terms do not mean the same thing and are separate and distinct criminal or civil traffic offenses.