Showing posts from October, 2013

Problems With Florida Toll Roads

Florida has several toll roads that just about every resident must use at some point in their life. The problem is that nothing is as it seems with tolls.

There is NO $100 Fine for a Toll Violation
Before you enter just about any toll booth you will see a sign that states there is a $100 fine for violating the toll. That is a lie. Maybe in some corner of an obscure statute it says that the fine is $100 but that is never what you face if you are cited for running a toll.

Just as a refresher - if your vehicle registration address is correct or, if you are a SunPass or E-Pass account holder, your account address is up to date then if you run a toll you will:

First receive a notice saying you ran a toll and ask for the toll amount plus a small administrative fee.If that is not paid you will receive another notice asking for the toll amount (e.g., $1.25) plus $25.Finally, if that is not paid a citation for $262 will be issued (not $100).
Having an Account With SunPass or E-Pass is Not Automat…

How to Look Up Laws on Florida's Online Statutes (for non-lawyers)

If you get a ticket or are charged with a crime you may, at your leisure, decide to look up what it is you are charged with and maybe even try to find out what the penalty could be. If you have done this you probably gave up in frustration. Don't feel bad - Lawyers often feel the same way.

As an example, I recently had a client charged with a traffic violation that carried with it a $1000 fine. At first blush you might think my client was charged with speeding in a school zone at the Holy Nun Academy or worse. That's a huge fine!
Unfortunately, for my client, all he did was have a screw come loose on his License Plate tag holder on his motorcycle. Yes, it is a $1000 fine for placing a tag on a motorcycle that makes it hard to read, but enough about that.
I wanted to find out where this fine amount was located in the statutes. There are several ways to access the online statutes. I like the senate's access because I know where the search feature is there (http://www.flsenat…

Florida's Move-Over Law Simplified

Section 316.126 of the Florida Statutes is home to what is now called the "Mover Over Law." We should know it to mean we need to vacate the lane closest to a pulled over police car that has its lights on. Actually, it means a bit more than that. Hopefully, I can help elucidate everything the statute means.

Pull Over When An Emergency Vehicle Approaches
The first part of the statute refers to what we already think we know. When an emergency vehicle approaches with either lights or sirens on we must pull to the curb and allow the emergency vehicle to pass. Here are what emergency vehicles are that require this action:

Vehicles of the fire department (fire patrol), police vehicles, and such ambulances and emergency vehicles of municipal departments, public service corporations operated by private corporations, the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, the Department of Environmental Protection, the Department of Health, the Department of Transportation, and the Department o…

Flagler County Judge Sides With Constitution Over Big Money

This post deals with the Red Light Camera statute, s. 316.0083, Fla. Stat., better known as the Mark Wandall Traffic Safety Program Act. Mark Wandall was a victim of a red light runner. His tragic story has since been manipulated by our legislators and local representatives into a cash grab whereby safety is no longer the goal. In fact, safety has been completely overlooked and abandoned, evidenced by the discovery that yellow light times have been trimmed to dangerous levels in order to boost the profits from red light cameras. But I digress...

One of the peculiarities of the statute is the decision to cite the first named owner on the registration of a vehicle when there are multiple owners. Since the driver of the car is never viewed by the cameras (a strange requirement of the law) it just puts blame on the owner of the vehicle. If there is more than one owner the first named gets cited. There is no explanation for why the statute does this except the argument by the state that it…

A Breakdown of the New "Anti-Texting" Law

As of today, October 1, 2013, Florida has a new law in effect. It has been dubbed the "Florida Ban on Texting While Driving Law" and it starts out with "It is the intent of the legislature to[...]". This usually means there may be some wording that does not make sense or is ripe for legal challenge so when the judges who must decide the issue read the law they have some guidance as to what was meant.

The legislature intends this law to "improve roadway safety for all vehicle operators, vehicle passengers, bicyclists, pedestrians, and other road users." In other words, everyone that comes in contact with a road or is in close proximity. It is also to "[p]revent crashes related to the act of text messaging while driving a motor vehicle" and "[r]educe injuries, deaths, property damage, healthcare costs, health insurance rates, and automobile insurance rates related to motor vehicle crashes." Don't hold your breath on those last parts.…