Traffic violations are often dismissed as trivial events. Who hasn’t been stopped for speeding or done an illegal U-turn when they realized they were going in the wrong direction? However, the fact that traffic offenses are common doesn’t change the fact that they can result in higher insurance premiums, loss of your driver’s license, fines, and even jail time.
If you’ve been stopped for speeding, careless driving, or any criminal traffic violation, get help from a Tampa criminal defense lawyer at Sulte Law Firm. We will review the circumstances of your arrest and fight to have the charges reduced, dismissed or the points withheld from your driving record.
Everyone is in a hurry these days, which can make it tempting to drive faster than you should. Next thing you know, you’ve been pulled over and issued a speeding ticket. If you were accused of illegal speeding in a school zone or in the presence of construction workers, the fine could be especially high.
While it may be tempting to simply pay the ticket and move on, there are benefits to fighting it. Many tickets are issued without sufficient proof, and they can have a negative impact on your driving record and will cause your insurance rates to rise. Contact a Tampa traffic ticket lawyer at Sulte Law Firm for advice and assistance.
Although the term ‘careless driving’ sounds a bit vague, it’s actually a civil infraction that can lead to fines and points as well as increased insurance costs.
According to Florida Statute 316.1925, you can be penalized for careless driving if you operate your motor vehicle without a ‘careful and prudent’ regard for the safety of others and their property. Examples include:
- Failing to come to a complete stop
- Violating someone’s right of way
- Drifting into another lane
If you are cited for careless driving, fight your case, even if you believe you are at fault. Cases involving lay witness or non-law enforcement can be beneficial to your case. Talk to a Tampa careless driving lawyer about how you can fight the charge.
Florida Statute 316.192 defines reckless driving as operating a motor vehicle with willful or wanton disregard for the safety of other people. In essence, it means that you deliberately drove in a risky manner or were indifferent to the consequences of your actions.
Common examples include:
- Driving in and out of traffic at a high rate of speed
- Violating traffic control devices while speeding
Florida law regards reckless driving as more serious than careless driving, so you could face criminal charges. Even a first-time offender can face up to 90 days in jail and a $500 fine. A subsequent conviction can result in a six-month jail sentence and fine of up to $1,000. If someone is hurt by your reckless driving, the penalties can be harsher, so talk to a lawyer right away.
Following Too Closely
Following too closely is similar to careless driving in that there’s not a precise definition. According to Florida Statute 316.0895, motor vehicle drivers should not follow another vehicle more closely than is reasonable given:
- The rate of speed
- Traffic conditions
- The condition of the highway
Unlike reckless driving, this is a traffic law, so you can be subject to the same civil penalties as a speeding ticket. If you accumulate enough points, your license can be suspended.
Criminal Traffic Violations
There are several Florida traffic offenses that can result in criminal charges. They include, but are not limited to:
- DUI: Florida law takes an aggressive stance on drinking and driving, so you risk loss of your license, expensive fines, and months in jail, especially if you’re not a first-time offender.
- Driving While License Suspended or Revoked: This offense can be prosecuted as a misdemeanor or felony, depending on the reason why your license was suspended, any prior offenses you may have, and whether or not you knew about the suspension.
- Vehicular Homicide: You will face this charge if you operate your motor vehicle in a way that is likely to cause injury or death to another person, and someone actually dies.
- Vehicular Manslaughter: You can be charged with this violation if you operate your motor vehicle in a negligent manner and kill another person.
- Hit and Run: If you are involved in a car accident that injures another person and intentionally fail to stop and remain at the scene, you can be charged with a third-degree felony. If that person dies, you can be convicted of a first-degree felony.
Arrested for a Traffic Violation? Call our Tampa Traffic Lawyer Right Away!
If you have received a citation or been arrested for a traffic or criminally-related matter, you need to work with a traffic ticket attorney who understands Florida traffic law and can help you fight the charges. Ryan Sulte defends clients who’ve been charged with a wide range of traffic offenses, so call Sulte Law Firm at 813-223-4343 to discuss your case.
How Does Florida’s Driving Points System Work?
Florida’s driving point system assigns a certain number of points to common traffic violations. The number of points depends mainly on the severity of the offense. For example, going 15 miles over the speed limit or parking on a highway can result in three points while running a red light or passing a stopped school bus is a four-point violation. Leaving the scene of a crash with more than $50 in property damage is a six-point violation.
If you receive 12 or more points within a one-year period, your license can be suspended for 30 days. Anyone who receives 24 points in three years can have their license suspended for one year.
Does an Out-of-State Traffic Ticket Go on Your Florida Record?
Yes. Florida participates in what is known as the Driver’s License Compact with other states across the country, so any traffic violation you make in another state will affect your Florida license. State DMVs and other motor vehicle agencies share information, so if you were ticketed for speeding in New York, the New York DMV would contact its Florida counterpart.
Some people ignore out-of-state tickets, assuming that their Florida driving record won’t be affected. It’s not true, and failure to address the ticket now can result in harsher penalties later on. Contact Sulte Law Firm to find out how we can help your case.
How Can a Tampa Traffic Lawyer Help?
When you’ve been charged with a civil or criminal traffic offense, don’t leave your future to chance. You need to work with an attorney who dedicates some of their practice to Florida traffic law and knows how to get the charges dismissed or reduced whenever possible.
At Sulte Law Firm, we will carefully examine your case to identify circumstances and facts that work in your favor, so that you stand a better chance of keeping your license and avoiding a criminal record. We are also experienced in protecting your interests in out-of-state incidents, so contact us for a consultation today.