If you received a traffic ticket in Florida, you are required to satisfy your traffic citation within thirty (30) calendar days. If your drivers license is in good standing typical options are:
- Traffic school: The benefits of electing the traffic school option in Florida are that your auto insurance cannot go up and your policy cannot be cancelled. If you complete a state approved traffic school course and submit your certificate of completion to the clerk of court in the county where you received the ticket by their specified deadline adjudication is withheld, which means you are not deemed guilty and you received no points. 123Driving.com offers Florida DMV approved traffic school online.
- Pay the civil penalty: If you pay the full fine points will be applied against your drivers license when applicable and your auto insurance rates may go up or your policy may be cancelled.
- Request a court appearance: If you elect the option to request a court appearance for the violation(s) it is a good idea to hire an attorney to assist you.
Speeding is a strict liability offense in Florida, which means that your intent in driving over the speed limit is not an issue. if the prosecutor shows that you were driving in excess of the posted speed limit, the evidence is sufficient to sustain a conviction.
There are, however, some defenses to a speeding ticket in an absolute speed limit state, including:
- Your excessive speed was caused by dangerous actions of law enforcement officers
- You encountered a sudden emergency which could only be avoided by driving your car above the speed limit
- You were not driving the speeding vehicle
- Your vehicle was not the vehicle that was speeding
- The police officer who gave you the speeding citation was out of his jurisdiction (the place where he has authority to write a traffic ticket), the officer did not engage in “hot pursuit” to stop you, and state law did not extend the officer’s jurisdiction
Defenses to Radar Systems and Laser Guns
Depending on the method used to determine your speed, your Florida traffic attorney may be able to challenge the officer’s assessment of your speed. You must know that method the officer used, then the attorney will base the challenge on the method of determining your speed.
Laser and radar guns must be calibrated professionally every six months, and must be calibrated at the beginning and end of the officer’s shift, using accepted practices. Your attorney can question the officer about the calibration testing done on the machine used to clock your speed. The officer must also be trained in the use of radar or laser, and your attorney will ask him or her to produce documentation which proves this training.
Laser speed guns used by police can measure distance and calculate speed by comparing the change in distance against a specific span of time. Your defense might be that the gun was measuring some object other than your vehicle. Your attorney may be able to challenge the officer’s identification of your vehicle, particularly if your vehicle is similar to many others on the road.
It would be very helpful for you to have an attorney in this situation because the equipment and the defenses are complex.
A radar system like the kind used by police to monitor traffic simply tells the operator how fast the vehicle with the most dominant reflective surface is going, but can’t measure distance or pick out one moving vehicle among several. It’s up to the officer to make that discretionary call. One of the best defenses against a radar unit is that the radar system picked up another vehicle or more reflective surface instead of your vehicle. Reflective or interfering surfaces can include:
- Metal traffic or other types of signs (even neon signs)
- Utility lines
- Power stations
- Vehicles moving around you in dense traffic.
If the officer measured your speed via aircraft, then both the aircraft officer and the ground officer must show up for your court hearing. If one of them does not show up, your attorney may request your charges be dismissed.
If you received a speeding ticket in Tampa, Florida or Saint Petersburg, Florida call Defense Attorney Jhenerr Hines at 813-815-0291.