Articles Posted in Traffic Tickets

Earlier this month, a Florida woman was arrested and charged with vehicular homicide months after she was involved in a fatal accident that took the life of another motorist. According to a report by FirstCoastNews.com, the woman was driving her car at 76 miles per hour in a 45 mile per hour zone when she ran a red light and hit a Volvo, containing the only victim.

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While the accident occurred last June, the woman was arrested only recently, when officers were more accurately able to determine the speed at which she was traveling. Witnesses also report that she was driving erratically and aggressively, weaving in and out of lanes, passing on the right, etc. She is currently being held on vehicular homicide charges, and bail is posted at $100,000.

Vehicular Homicide in the Florida Criminal Justice System

Vehicular Homicide is a serious crime in Florida. Like all other crimes, vehicular homicide has specific elements that must be met in order for a defendant to be successfully charged and convicted of the crime. In Florida, the elements of vehicular homicide are:

  • The killing of another human;
  • By the operation of a vehicle;
  • In a reckless manner likely to cause the death of, or great bodily harm to, another.

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Paul Henry, a retired Florida Highway Patrol trooper, is filing a complaint with the Florida Attorney General office, claiming one of two possible crimes are being committed in Florida’s red light camera (RLC) program. The Department of Revenue reported the state received only about $51 million during 2012. According to Henry, this figure is impossible, claiming either that public officials are committing the offense of Grand Theft by stealing public funds, or public officials are committing the offense of Official Misconduct by falsifying records by inflating the number of violations issued for an official document.

Florida’s red light camera (RLC) program is purported to prevent intersection crashes, cautioning people to stop for red lights by ticketing violators. These RLC programs incidentally raise millions for the state and local communities in fines. As many feel these cameras are not preventing intersection crashes, some, like Henry, allege that the red light camera programs around the state are just money generating machines and not a public safety feature at all. rlccam.jpg

When someone runs a red light, the owner of the vehicle will be sent a notice of violation and a fine of $158 that they can either contest in court or simply pay, leaving points on their license that will cause their insurance rates to increase dramatically. Out of the $158 fine, $78 of each fine goes to the local community who sponsors the red light camera system, and the state receives $83. According to an annual analysis, the Division of Motor Vehicles reported nearly one million notices of violation for fiscal year 2012, which runs from July 1, 2011 through June 30, 2012, with about 985,000 being paid. According to Henry, if the numbers are actually what they are reported to be, the raised revenue would be over $81 million, which means that $30 million has simply disappeared.

Red light camera programs in Florida and elsewhere generates millions of dollars annually. When millions of dollars are at stake, the opportunity for corruption increases. As such, public scrutiny naturally increases, particularly over where the funds come from and where they go, ensuring that those who are not running red lights are not being improperly ticketed and that those that are properly ticketed for red lights are not paying to line a public official’s pocket book with now embezzled funds.

If the official misconduct in this case is substantiated, it is unacceptable. However, not every case of embezzlement, or theft or misuse of funds that one has control over, is true. Unfortunately for those who are falsely accused of embezzlement, the penalties can be very severe, costing both reputation and likelihood of being employed elsewhere where money transfer or control is involved, simply for being accused in that capacity.

Many times, with an embezzlement charge, the police will attempt to reach an admission from the embezzler, saying the prosecutor will be lenient; however, their real plan is to convict one of a crime that the prosecutor favors. The state will attempt to pressure one to come clean of the crime so the State will “cut you a deal.” Many times, under the stress of a guilty conscience or fear of a harsh prison sentence, that person will sometimes go right to the police station and confess to everything, willingly.

One in this situation should not give into police so willingly. Stress and pressure from police are only scare tactics. Remember, if the police and the State had enough to arrest and prosecute one for the crime, they would have already done so.

If one obtains an experienced Jacksonville theft crimes defense attorney, one will have a strong chance of obtaining a favorable outcome, and will have the best defenses to what one is accused of, helping one get through the legal system, possibly without any conviction whatsoever. One should not risk one’s chances on a judge’s good nature. One should obtain a sure help for the future.

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Jacksonville’s elderly have an astounding amount of mobility for the amount of stress they have put on themselves from working hard labor jobs and trying to put food on the table for their families. Unfortunately, our city’s elderly do not always have their mental capacities and quickness about them for driving purposes. However, that does not mean that that elderly person should go to jail for an accident they did not intend to happen. One in a situation like this should obtain an experienced attorney to fight for one’s case and ensure one’s rights are protected.

According to the Florida Times-Union, Thelma Wagenhoffer of Palm Coast ran her car into a Publix, injuring ten people. The crime was said to occur as around 1:25 in the afternoon, when Wagenhoffer for unknown reasons kept going and ran her car straight into the doors of the grocery store. No one was seriously harmed, Wagenhoffer herself sustaining no injuries. The police are still investigating the incident. publix-car-crash-4-0414.jpg

Jacksonville traffic violations cases normally involve an accused party that is within their 20-40’s. At that age, many people feel the need to drive faster or more reckless, and thus are more prone to accidents and mishaps on the road. However, when the accused is an elderly person, the considerations for prosecution as well as possible defenses change dramatically.
Many times throughout Jacksonville ,the accused can also be the victim of the system. In this situation, Wagenhoffer is 76-years-old, an older, frail woman who has just been thrown into the clutches of the legal system. She is shaken up that this kind of accident happened, and even more shaken up at the possibility of having to face harsh penalties for something she most likely did not mean to commit.

Unfortunately for many people in the system, the reality of accidents can be enough to shock one’s conscience into sorrow and remorse. However, the State does not always take that remorse into account when attacking the accused, even if the accused is elderly. Fortunately for one in a situation such as this, if one obtains an experienced Jacksonville traffic violations defense attorney to fight for one’s case and ensure one’s rights are protected, one can be sure that one will have the best defense possible to one’s charge and that one will not become victim of the State.

In this case, one’s attorney could negotiate with the Judge to allow this elderly person to continue to live on outside of the legal system, and, should the Judge feel a need to punish this poor woman, the most punishment would be a driver’s license revocation. Any other punishment in this sad case would be too much of a cruel and unusual burden on a woman of her age.

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Jacksonville’s drivers are typically good drivers. However, people are known to make errors in their driving. This is where the police come in to ticket someone for driving incorrectly. However, the addition of red light cameras in and around Jacksonville has caused major concern, concern that should be addressed by and through an experienced Jacksonville attorney.

According to the Florida Times-Union, 25 new red light cameras are going up Jacksonville in the intersection areas that police have and highway patrol have deemed dangerous. The additional cameras come after the company Redflex traffic systems of Arizona presented a deal to Jacksonville’s law makers to increase revenue in citations by the addition of the cameras. Negotiations are underway between the city and Redflex, and the proposed locations of the cameras have yet to be released. Redlight.jpg

Jacksonville traffic ticket cases typically involve some sort of police officer, who, because of their understanding gained during police training, believes that the person is committing an infraction under the law and then tickets that person. The overarching question with cameras however, is once the human element for traffic violations is removed, what guarantees that the person will not have their rights abused?

A traffic or red-light camera’s basic function is to snap pictures of the person speeding or running a red light and send them a ticket, no officer required. A citation is then sent to the person who allegedly committed the traffic violation along with pictures or a link to view pictures of that person running the light. That person is then required to pay a minimum fine of $158 for the violation. The city believes that by adding these cameras around town, it will deter a majority of offenders from running red lights.

The objective behind adding cameras is a noble one. However, not all people stopped on the side of the road are guilty and not all people snapped up by a camera are guilty either. The police as well as other law enforcement agencies believe that the removal of the human element for error will alleviate the problem of bad tickets being written. Unfortunately, most citizens with computers know that machines do not always operate like they are supposed to.

When the police rely on these time-to-time faulty cameras to ticket its citizens, this puts more pressure on citizens, both mentally and legally, while driving. Not only do Jacksonville’s citizens have to be even more cautious for lights while driving, but they will also be subjected to the hassle of trying to prove that the red-light camera was wrong. This is an unfair burden on the accused to have to prove that one did not run the light, which violates the Due Process Clause of the Constitution.

When a situation happens like this, one has too options. One can either reluctantly pay the ticket, thus telling the police that their improperly functioning camera is good enough to give one a ticket for an offense one did not commit, or one can contact an experienced Jacksonville traffic violations defense attorney to fight for one’s case and ensure one’s rights are protected.

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First Coast News is reporting that a pedestrian killed recently in a vehicle accident was only three miles from his home when he was struck by a car.

The news station is reporting that the 32-year-old was walking on Blanding Boulevard around 2 a.m. one weekend early morning when he was struck by a vehicle heading south. The news report doesn’t suggest alcohol was a factor, though the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office says its investigation into the incident is ongoing.
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DUI accidents in Jacksonville and throughout Florida carry steep penalties and can result not only in prison time, but also fines and fees, an ignition interlock device being installed, probation costs and other conditions. Because the penalties are so severe, an experienced Jacksonville DUI Defense Attorney must be consulted in order to ensure the rights of the accused are protected from the earliest stages of such cases.

Even if alcohol isn’t a factor, negligence can result in a charge of vehicular homicide. Vehicular homicide, according to Florida Statutes 782.071, results in the killing of someone while operating a motor vehicle in a reckless manner.

Reckless is a vague word, but typically means driving in a way that could kill someone if not controlled. Certainly, driving off the road and hitting a pedestrian or bicyclist could qualify for this charge. If convicted, the charge could result in up to 15 years in prison.

But in pedestrian-related accidents, many times it’s not the driver’s fault, regardless of whether they have been drinking or not. Certainly, if the state can prove the driver was under the influence of alcohol beyond the .08 legal blood alcohol level, that person can be charged with DUI. But even if they are under the influence and are in an accident that causes injury or death, it doesn’t mean they’re guilty of causing the crash.

At 2 a.m., a pedestrian in dark clothing can be almost impossible to see, as can a cyclist or a child who darts out into the road. Even with crisp reaction times, this can lead to an accident. Other vehicles, even those driven by sober drivers, cause accidents. So, the state must prove the accident was either the result of driving under the influence or reckless driving or negligence.

The simple fact that a person died and there was an accident isn’t enough to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that a person is guilty of DUI manslaughter or vehicular homicide in Jacksonville.

Either charge can carry a 15-year prison sentence, on top of the aforementioned possible penalties. The public stigma the charges carry can ruin careers and breakup families, even before a person goes to trial or faces any type of resolution to the case.

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The Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office and Florida Highway Patrol are out in force over the holidays. Even though there are less officers on the street because they are on vacation, the police that are working focus their efforts on monitoring traffic.

Over this past Thanksgiving holiday, the Florida Highway Patrol handed out 12,000 traffic tickets, about 5,000 of which were for exceeding the speed limit. About 1,400 were cited for not wearing a seat belt.

As far as DUI’s in Florida over Thanksgiving, FHP made around 120 DUI arrests. In general, Troopers are usually more accustomed to issuing traffic tickets and writing accident reports than conducting DUI investigations. DUI reports are supposed to be very specific about the facts surrounding the arrest. The reports should include:

Information about why the car was pulled over
Observations of the officer upon making contact with the subject. (such as the conditions of the eyes, any odor of alcohol, speech, walking and standing pattern)

Details on Field Sobriety Exercises
Details about Breath Test
If you are arrested for DUI, it is important to consult with an experienced DUI Attorney in Jacksonville before you enter a plea to any crime.

A police officer in Lawtey, Florida has been arrested on felony charges. Kenyatta Sheffield was arrested for two counts of bribery and two counts of receiving unlawful compensation. When Sheffield pulled people over for speeding in Lawtey, which is what most officers in Bradford County spend their time doing, he would allegedly offer drivers a “special” payment option. Instead of paying the fine to the clerk of court, the officer would ask for cash on the spot and allegedly keep it. Over his career, Sheffield wrote about 200 traffic tickets.

As Jacksonville Traffic Lawyers, we represent many people who are written traffic citations and even arrested for traffic offenses in Jacksonville. If you are given a ticket, you can pay the ticket and will be assessed points on your license, go to traffic school, or fight the ticket in court. If you hire a Jacksonville Attorney to represent you on a ticket, the Jacksonville Lawyer will go to traffic court for you and try to get the ticket dismissed or at the very least, get NO points assessed on your license.

Traffic fines have just jumped this year in Florida. Here are some fines associated with different violations:

Pedestrian Violations (jaywalking) $15.00
Nonmoving Traffic Violations $30.00
Speeding
1-5 mph over Warning
6-9 mph over $25
10-14 mph over $100
15-19 mph over $125
20-29 mph over $150
30 mph and above over $250
If you are speeding in a school zone or construction zone, you will have to pay double the fine depending on how fast you were going.

When you get a speeding ticket in Jacksonville or any traffic ticket, you can pay it, fight it yourself, or hire a Ticket Attorney in Jacksonville to fight it for you.

The Florida Highway Patrol conducted “Operation Safe Ride” during March 18-21 and April 22-25. FHP wrote over 22,000 tickets during this time on all major state roads. The Florida tickets issued were:

10550 for speeding
1804 for not wearing a seat belt
199 for DUI in Florida
216 for not using a turn signal
If you have been arrested in Jacksonville, contact our Jacksonville Criminal Law Firm at (904) 634-0900.

If you have been pulled over by the Jacksonville police and received a ticket, contact a lawyer to explore your options.

When you just pay the ticket, points will be assessed on your Florida Driver’s License and if you accumulate enough points, the state will suspend your license. Not only will that impair your ability to drive, if you do drive on a suspended license, you could receive Driving on a Suspended License charge. That is a criminal charge that may require you to appear in criminal court.

If you have any questions about a traffic ticket in Jacksonville, call our Jacksonville Ticket Attorneys at (904) 634-0900.