Skilled Pensacola Traffic Ticket Attorneys
If you have been charged with a traffic crime in Florida, it can be challenging to know what to do. The criminal justice system has many moving parts, and it is hard to track them all alone. Even with all you have to juggle, the prosecution actively works against you to obtain a conviction. When there is so much at stake, you must take the necessary steps to ensure you put on the best defense and protect your rights and interests. The Watson Firm, PLLC traffic violation lawyers understand the consequences and are ready to represent you. To learn more or schedule your initial case consultation, call (850) 607-2929 or visit our website today.
- Skilled Florida Traffic Crimes Representation
- Common Florida Criminal Traffic Offenses
- Driving Under The Influence (DUI)
- Reckless Driving
- Driving While License Suspended
- Vehicular Homicide
- Leaving The Scene/Hit And Run
- Florida Drivers License Point System
- Habitual Traffic Offender Revocations
- Hiring A Florida Criminal Traffic Offense Attorney
Florida traffic offenses are those offenses that are more serious than commonplace speeding or other minor traffic infractions. Traffic crimes are criminal charges that arise from issues like driving under the influence of alcohol, failing to pay traffic citations, or receiving too many points under Florida's driving point system. This page discusses common traffic crimes in Florida and the penalties you may receive if you are convicted.
Common Florida Traffic Violations
Florida law covers an extensive range of traffic offenses. Each offense varies in severity and comes with different punishments if committed. Some of the most common Florida criminal traffic offenses include:
- Driving Under The Influence (DUI);
- Reckless Driving;
- Driving While License Suspended;
- Vehicular Homicide;
- Vehicular Manslaughter; and
- Leaving the Scene / Hit and Run.
Driving Under The Influence (DUI)
Driving under the influence (DUI) is an offense where you operate or are in physical control of a vehicle while under the influence of an intoxicant, like drugs or alcohol. The penalties for DUI vary depending on various factors like the type of intoxicant used, age, number of previous DUI convictions, aggravating factors, and more. The penalties for this type of traffic offense can be particularly severe and long-lasting depending on the particular circumstances of your case. You must have an experienced traffic offense attorney on your side to ensure that you are properly represented in these proceedings.
Reckless driving consists of two elements that the prosecution must prove beyond a reasonable doubt to obtain a conviction. The prosecution must prove that:
You drove a motor vehicle, and
You did so with a "willful or wanton disregard" for the safety of people or property.
Proving that you were driving is typically not difficult. Often, arrests occur immediately or soon after the alleged driving incident occurred. It is more difficult to demonstrate "willful and wanton disregard." Willful means that you intentionally, knowingly, or purposely committed the actions that led to the charges. Wanton means that you drove with a conscious or intentional indifference to the consequences and knew that harm could come to people or property because of your actions. Penalties for reckless driving can range from as little as 90 days in jail or six months of probation and a $500 fine or up to five years in prison or five years of probation and a $5000 fine.
Driving While License Suspended
You may be charged with Driving While License Suspended where:
Your driver's license was suspended, canceled, or revoked, and
You have advance knowledge of the change to license status, and
You drove the vehicle on a Florida highway.
If convicted, at minimum, you face up to 60 days in jail, six months of probation, and a $500 fine. At maximum, you could serve up to five years in prison, five years of probation, and pay $5000 in fines. The time served and fines are dependent on the case and are often determined by the number of prior offenses. Each of these offenses can negatively impact the number of points on your license.
Vehicular homicide is the killing of another person by operating a motor vehicle in a reckless manner likely to cause death or serious bodily harm to another person. "Reckless" is defined as willful or wanton disregard for the safety of others, as described above in reckless driving. If convicted, you can face up to 15 years in prison and up to a $10000 fine.
Leaving The Scene/Hit And Run
A hit and run in Florida occurs when a vehicle collision results in property damage, bodily injury, or death, and the person responsible leaves the scene without exchanging information or rendering aid. The penalties associated with a hit and run charge are broken down by the damages that result from the hit and run. Penalties include:
- Serious injury; and
- Property Damage.
The least severe penalties for the above include up to 60 days in jail and a $500 fine for property damage. You face up to 30 years in prison for deaths resulting from the hit and run. Of those 30 years, the law requires a mandatory minimum of 4 years.
Florida Driver's License Point System
Florida's driver's license point system is a specific numeric value assigned to various traffic infractions. The more severe the violation, the higher number of points placed on your driving record. However, these points are only assessed if you are found guilty. If the ticket is dismissed, you will not be assessed any points. Once you accumulate enough points from infractions within a specified time period, your license could be suspended or revoked. If you receive 12 or more points within one year, your license could be suspended for 30 days. If you receive 18 or more within 18 months, your license could be suspended for 90 days. If you receive more than 24 points within three years, you may have your license suspended for one year. Common offenses and their point values include:
- Speeding 15 miles or less over the speed limit: 3
- Leaving the scene of a crash that resulted in more than $50 in damage: 6
- Running a red light: 4
- Child restraint violations: 3
- Crash caused by a speeding violation: 6
- Parking on a highway: 3
Habitual Traffic Offender Revocations
Under Florida law, habitual traffic offenders whose Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles records show accumulations of three or more traffic infraction convictions for separate offenses in a five-year period. The offenses include:
- Driving a commercial vehicle without qualifications;
- Driving a commercial vehicle after being disqualified;
- Voluntary and involuntary manslaughter;
- Any felony involving the use of a motor vehicle;
- Hit and run;
- Voluntary or involuntary manslaughter; and
- Driving with a suspended or revoked license.
You may also qualify as a habitual traffic offender if you accumulate 15 traffic infraction convictions within five years. If you achieve habitual traffic offender status, your license could be suspended for up to five years. If you are arrested while driving as a habitual offender, you can face penalties of up to five years in prison, fines of up to $5000, or both.
Hiring A Florida Traffic Ticket Attorney
If you have been charged with a criminal driving offense and need skilled representation, contact The Watson Firm, PLLC. Our criminal defense attorneys understand what is at stake and are ready to represent you in traffic court. To learn more or schedule your free consultation with out law firm, call (850) 607-2929 or visit our website today.