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Traffic Tickets

When you face a criminal accusation, you are innocent until proven guilty. This same burdern of proof, beyond all reasonable doubt, applies to traffic infraction hearing.

Although many people think it's not worth fighting a traffic ticket, you don't have to just pay the citation and accept the consequences that come with a conviction. The consequences of a conviction for a traffic ticket include more than just the payment of a fine. You can also receive points on your driving record and an increase in your insurance premiums for years to come.

To avoid these consequences, contact an experienced traffic ticket attorney in Florida who can help you fight to avoid a conviction.

Lawyers for Traffic Ticket in Florida

You can turn to the experienced traffic violation lawyers at Meltzer & Bell, P.A., "The Traffic Stop," to fight your traffic violation or serious offense. We handle any type of criminal matter that a person can be accused of when behind the wheel of a motor vehicle, and we can represent you.

For non-criminal traffic infractions not involving an accident, we offer a money back guarantee — no points, no school, or your money back. Some restrictions apply and court costs and fees may apply in addition to the attorney fee. For other offenses, we offer dedicated representation, and we will zealously fight for you. In many cases, you will never have to go to court or even our office.

From our offices in Fort Lauderdale, we represent clients on traffic infractions throughout Broward County at the Central Courthouse in Fort Lauderdale, FL, the County Civil North Regional Courthouse in Deerfield Beach, County Civil South Regional Courthouse in Hollywood, and County Civil West Regional Courthouse in Plantation, FL.

From our offices in West Palm Beach, FL, we represent clients throughout Palm Beach County at the Main Courthouse in West Palm Beach, the West County Courthouse in Belle Glade, the North County Courthouse in Palm Beach Gardens, and the South County Courthouse in Delray Beach.

Our attorneys also represent clients in Fort Pierce and Port St. Lucie in St. Lucie County, Hobe Sound and the Village of Indiantown in Martin County, and Miami in Miami-Dade County, FL.

Call us today at (561) 500-5000.

Information Center for Driving Violations

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Non-Criminal Traffic Violations Under Florida Law

Under Florida law, a civil infraction traffic ticket is classified as either moving violation or a non-moving violation. A moving violation normally assesses points against the driver license while non-moving violations do not.

Non-criminal infraction traffic tickets are not punishable by incarceration. Examples of civil citations for moving violations can include:

  • Speeding: By far the most common citation, speeding involves operating a motor vehicle at an unsafe speed. (Florida Statutes Annotated § 316.183)
  • Driving Too Slowly: Highways, including I-95, have a minimum speed of 40 miles per hour. Driving slower could lead to a citation. (Florida Statutes Annotated § 316.183)
  • Red Light Violations: In many cities, traffic signals are regulated by red light cameras. This is illegal, and your attorneys can help fight any citation you receive. (Florida Statutes Annotated § 316.075)
  • Careless Driving: This vague offense may be prosecuted if police did not feel you were driving in a "careful and prudent manner." (Florida Statutes Annotated § 316.1925)
  • Failure to Yield: Drivers are required to yield to certain vehicles, including ambulances, fire trucks, police cars and public transit, to pedestrians and whenever a traffic sign indicates to do so. (Florida Statutes Annotated §§ 316.075, 316.079, 316.0815, 316.126).
  • Improper Passing: There are many rules when one vehicle passes another on a highway involving signaling, lane changes, right of way and when one may pass. (Florida Statutes Annotated §§ 316.083 - 316.0875)
  • Failure to Stop for a School Bus: When a school bus stops to let children in or off, all other vehicles on the road must stop. (Florida Statutes Annotated § 316.172)
  • Aggressive Careless Driving: This offense means committing non-criminal violations that are listed in the statute in succession of one another. (Florida Statutes Annotated § 316.1923)

Under Fla. Stat. § 318.13(3), there is no right to a jury or to court-appointed counsel on an infraction. A person charged with a non-criminal civil traffic infraction, does have the right, however, to retain a private attorney to represent them at all stages of the case including the final hearing.

Examples of Moving Violations in Florida

Examples of moving violations in Florida include:

  • 316.074(1) - Failure to obey traffic control device (sign)
  • 316.074(1) - Failure to obey traffic control signal (failed to stop at traffic signal/red light)
  • 316.075(1)(c)1., FS - Failure to stop at steady red traffic signal [All other moving violations relating to traffic control device, signal, or sign]
  • 316.075(2) - Unlawful possession/use of traffic signal pre-emption device Unlawful speed (in left lane) when overtaken by vehicle at higher speed
  • 316.1576(1) - Insufficient clearance at Railroad-Highway grade crossing
  • 316.1576(2), FS - Insufficient undercarriage clearance at Railroad-Highway grade crossing
  • 316.126(1)(b)1., FS - Failure to move over for emergency, sanitation or utility service vehicle or wrecker
  • 316.172(1)(a), FS - Failure to stop for school bus
  • 316.183(1) or (4), FS - Speed too fast for conditions
  • 316.183(5), FS - Impeding Traffic (Speed less than posted minimum)
  • 316.185, FS - Speed- Special hazards- Failure to use due care and speed too fast for conditions
  • 316.1575(1), FS - Failed to obey traffic control device at R/R crossing
  • 316.1575(2), FS - Driving around/under/through barrier at R/R crossing
  • 316.305(4)(b),FS - Second Violation-Wireless communication device use (Texting)- (secondary offense)
  • 316.613, FS - Child Restraint (primary enforcement -- First time offenders may elect to attend a Child Restraint
  • 320.061, FS - Unlawful alteration of motor vehicle registration certificate/ tag/mobile home or validation stickers; or, to obscure tag
  • 320.0706, FS - Failure to properly display commercial license plate
  • 320.131(3), FS - Unlawful use of temporary tag
  • 320.131(4)(a), FS - Temporary tag – must be displayed in the license plate bracket on exterior of vehicle
  • 322.03(1)(a), FS - Failure to surrender DL/CDL [Note: Making a false affidavit concerning such licenses in violation of FS 322.03(1)(a) is first degree misdemeanor]
  • 322.16(1)(a), FS - Operating vehicle against license restrictions
  • 322.16(1)(b), FS - Failure to obey driver license restrictions
  • 322.16(2), FS - License restriction (after 11 PM/before 6 AM) for person under 17 years of age
  • 322.16(3), FS - License restriction (after 1 AM/before 5 AM) for person 17 years of age
  • 322.1615(2)(b), FS - Learner DL: Driving without a licensed driver at least 21 years old.
  • 322.1615(3), FS - Learner DL: Driving after daylight hours (Exception: Holder of a Learner DL 3 months after issuance may driver until 10 PM)
  • 322.34(1), FS - Unknowingly operating vehicle while DL suspended/ canceled/revoked [Does not apply to: a “habitual traffic Offender” and a CMV Driver (specify reason - failed to pay fine or financial responsibility)]
  • 322.62(11), FS - Driving Under the Influence a Commercial Motor Vehicle (Person who has any alcohol in his/her body) 

Examples of Non-Moving Violations

Under Florida law, the most common examples of non-moving violations include:

  • 316.1955(1), FS  - Parking/Handicap (warning only if no above grade sign) -- Owner of leased vehicle not responsible for violation if vehicle registered in name of lessee
  • 316.1955(2), FS - Parking/Handicap (obstructing access to parking space)
  • 316.2397(3), FS - (Wrecker) Failure to use amber rotating/flashing lights while performing recovery/loading on roadside
  • 316.2398, FS  - Improper display/use of red lights
  • 316.305(4)(a), FS - First Violation-Wireless communication device use (Texting)- (secondary offense)
  • 316.605, FS - No Tag/Registration/Obscured/Defaced/Improper Display Improper Equipment 
  • 316.614, FS - Seat belt violations
  • 316.614(4)(a), FS - Passengers/driver under 18 years not belted or in a device -- (primary offense)
  • 316.614(4)(b), FS - Driver not belted (primary offense)
  • 316.614(5), FS - Front seat passenger over 18 years not belted (passenger to be cited –(primary offense)
  • 316.646(1), FS - Failure to show proof of insurance

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Criminal Traffic Offenses

Criminal infractions are more serious and include misdemeanors and felonies. A criminal traffic violation can lead to a person being put behind bars. Some are:

  • Reckless Driving: Reckless driving means to operate a motor vehicle with "willful and wanton disregard for the safety of persons or property." Charges escalate if there was property damage or injury caused. (Florida Statutes § 316.192)
  • Racing on Highway: Participating in unauthorized drag racing or other speed competitions on the road is a criminal offense. It is also a crime to organize such an event. (Florida Statutes § 316.191)
  • Driving While License Suspended with Knowledge: It is a criminal offense to drive if the driver's license or permit has been suspended, canceled, revoked or is otherwise invalid and the driver has knowledge of the suspension or revocation. The penalties become more serious with a second or subsequent offense. (Florida Statutes § 322.34)
  • Operating Without Valid Commercial License: To drive certain vehicles, a person must have a commercial license in Florida. If that person does not have one, he or she may be charged with a misdemeanor. (Florida Statutes § 322.03)
  • Fleeing or Eluding a Law Enforcement Officer: If a law enforcement officer has turned on the flashing lights of his or her car and is pursuing that suspect, it is a felony for that suspect to knowingly and willingly fail to stop. (Florida Statutes § 316.1935)
  • Leaving the Scene of an Accident (Misdemeanor): If a driver does not stop and give information after an accident that causes damage to any property, including another vehicle, it is a second-degree misdemeanor. (Florida Statutes Annotated § 316.061)
  • Leaving the Scene of an Accident (Felony): If a driver leaves the scene of an accident without giving information in an accident involving injury or death to another, it is a third-degree felony. If under the influence of drugs or alcohol, there is a two-year minimum sentence. (Florida Statutes Annotated § 316.027)
  • Vehicular Homicide: If prosecutors can prove that a driver caused the death of a person or viable fetus due to driving in a reckless manner, it is a serious felony. (Florida Statutes Annotated §782.071)

If you face a criminal allegation, you may be arrested and have a first appearance where you plead guilty or not guilty. You may have the opportunity to pay a bond to be released.

In many misdemeanor traffic cases, the officer will hand you a notice to appear (the citation) and release you from the scene with a court date. Although the notice to appear might seem less serious since you were not formally booked into the jail, it is still a criminal offense that comes with criminal penalties.

At Meltzer & Bell, P.A., “The Traffic Stop,” we have handled a combined total of more than 10,000.00 traffic criminal cases and know that each case needs to be taken seriously.

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Procedures After a Traffic Ticket is Issued

When you are pulled over and given a citation, the police officer will ask you to sign the citation. It is very important to realize that this is, in no way, an admission of guilt. It is simply an acknowledgment that you received the citation.

A traffic citation contains seven alphanumeric characters not including the dash. The citation number is located at the top right-hand corner of the citation. Rule 6.010 of the Florida Traffic Court Rules provide the “practice and procedure in any traffic case and specifically apply to practice and procedure in county courts and before civil traffic infraction hearing officers.”

Most offenses are either civil or criminal but some can be classified either way depending on the circumstances. For instance, driving while license suspended without knowledge is a civil infraction under Florida Statute Section 322.24.

However, driving while license suspended with knowledge is a second-degree misdemeanor for a first offense, a first-degree misdemeanor for a second offense, or a third-degree felony for a third offense or while designated as a habitual traffic offender.

In Florida, you have up to 30 days to decide how to respond to your citation. You may plead guilty pay paying the fine, but then you will be convicted and points will be added to your driving record. You can also hire an attorney to request a hearing so that you can contest the citation.

In both criminal and noncriminal matters, you can have a dedicated attorney fighting for your rights to avoid the significant consequences of a traffic ticket or criminal conviction.

At the end of the hearing on a traffic citation, the court must find the defendant either guilty or not guilty. If the court finds the defendant has not committed the offense alleged in the traffic ticket then the defendant is found not guilty. If the court finds that the defendant has committed the offense alleged in the traffic ticket then the court must decide whether to adjudicate or withhold adjudication of guilt.

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After Hearing Motions in Traffic Court

A conviction is not necessarily the end of the story. Even after paying the ticket or a conviction after a hearing, certain post-conviction motions can be filed.

Traffic Court Rule 6.540(a) permits a motion for new hearing or motion for arrest of judgment if filed within 10 days (or up to 30 days after the trial if allowed by the court). The motion can be written or oral and made at the conclusion of the hearing and heard immediately. See TCR 6.540(b)&(c).

Traffic Court Rule 6.490(b)(1) also gives the defendant a final opportunity to request that the court reduces the penalty imposed if filed within 60 days. If the court finds that an illegal penalty was imposed then the court may at “anytime” correct such an error. See TCR 6.490.(a).

Under Florida Rule of Appellate Procedure 9.030(c)(1)(A), an adverse decision at trial on a traffic ticket can be appealed to the Circuit Court in the same manner as any other county court case.

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Finding a Lawyer for Traffic Tickets in Florida

For any noncriminal violation, misdemeanor or felony that a person can be accused of while behind the wheel, the attorneys of Meltzer & Bell, P.A. can fight for you.

Don't just accept the points, driving school, fines, or other consequences of a ticket. And remember — we offer a money back guarantee: no points, no school, or your money back for civil traffic infractions.

Contact us to set up a consultation with an experienced traffic ticket attorney in Florida at Meltzer & Bell, P.A.. Call (561) 500-5000.

This article was last updated on Friday, March 23, 2018.