Gainesville Personal Injury, Divorce and Alimony Attorney

Do these small towns of Lawtey and Waldo really hold traffic court?

As a traffic ticket defense attorney, a question I am often asked by drivers from other states is the where the smaller municipalities along US 301 between Jacksonville and Gainesville conduct their traffic violation hearings. In Florida, there is no municipal court. All civil traffic infraction hearings are held in County Court and depending on the county either by a county judge or a hearing officer. A driver may elect to have a traffic hearing determined by a judge.

Therefore, a traffic citation received in the municipalities of Lawtey, Hampton or Starke, will be heard by the county judge of Bradford County in Starke, Florida. If the traffic ticket is in Belleview, Dunnellon, Reddick, Ocala, Silver Springs or Summerfield, then the case will be heard in the Marion County Courthouse.  If the traffic violation was issued in the towns of Alachua, Archer, Gainesville, Hawthorne, or Waldo then it will be heard in Alachua County court in Gainesville, Florida. Many courthouse locations can be found on the resources page of this website.

While the small towns of Alachua, Belleview, Dunnellon, Hampton, Lawtey, Starke, and Waldo do issue many traffic tickets, the towns themselves do not have to expend the monies to support traffic court. However, the officers do have to travel into the county seats of Gainesville, Ocala and Starke. Sometimes this creates a situation where the officers cannot show. These towns seem to depend on drivers merely paying the citations and not electing a contested hearing. This makes some citizens feel that Hampton, Lawtey and Waldo are speed traps and AAA did list Waldo and Lawtey as traffic traps.

The only way to have a traffic citation dismissed is chose to go to court, choosing to have a hearing.  In Florida traffic tickts where no appearance is required, a driver must choose to have a hearing within 30 days of the issue date of the traffic infraction.  A lawyer will take care of filing the paperwork to make chose a hearing and can assist after 30 days too.  To hire a traffic lawyer to go to court with or instead of the driver, please click, call, or fill out the form.

Gainesville (352) 371-9141

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Article Waldo & Lawtey

Careless driving – Traffic Ticket Defense in Gainesville & Ocala

When a driver gets a careless driving traffic ticket it can be a very serious matter. A citation for careless driving normally means a traffic ticket defense lawyer should be contacted.  Many times the charge is the result of a traffic crash or accident.

If the officer makes the allegation of a serious bodily injury, then the consequences can be severe. Accusations of careless driving causing serious bodily injury or death cause mandatory fines and license suspension if convicted. The mandatory suspensions for careless driving are triggered if the cited driver has seioulsy injured or killed another person. In addition to mandatory fines and driver’s license suspension, a violation of careless driving resulting in a death can also result in one hundred and twenty (120) community service hours, which is more than required for a DUI!!!

Reckless driving is a criminal traffic offense. A citation for careless driving is a non-criminal moving violation that carries three (3) points unless there is an allegation of a crash. A conviction for careless driving causing a crash will result in four (4) points. Many times the charge for careless driving will only involve one vehicle, that of the driver who received the citation. In almost all cases the officer that issued the citation for careless driving will not have witnessed the accident. In those instances you should always hire an attorney to fight your traffic ticket.

Careless driving, whether involving serious bodily injury or death, or just a crash where thankfully no person is hurt is a serious traffic offense with potential long term consequences not only to a driving record but to insurance premiums. Please click, call or fill out the form to hire a traffic ticket lawyer now.

Gainesville (352) 371-9141

Ocala (352) 694-4529

Red Light Cameras

As a traffic ticket lawyer in the Gainesville and Ocala area an article stating that red light cameras may be coming to Gainesville, Florida sooner rather than later peaked my interest this weekend. According to the article our commissioners are voting this week on whether to install red light cameras at intersections here in Gainesville. These types of traffic citations for running a red light and being accused by a red light camera are problematic and can be fought. The citations for a traffic violation are mailed to the registered owner.

The article notes a few interesting facts. First some of these red light traffic tickets are being thrown out by the courts. Right now, Florida courts are split on whether citations issued due to red light cameras are constitutional notwithstanding the calibration and maintenance issues. Second it costs too much if citizens fight. That is government admitting what I always say, that if more of us stood up and fought these things then more of us would win. The trouble is that if you find yourself having to appeal a traffic citation, the costs outweigh the individual victory.

Are these red light cameras really deterrents? What is more of a deterrent, the marked cruiser or the camera that a driver may or may not know is present? At the intersection of Archer Road and 34th Street by the University of Florida in Gainesville, the city has installed motion sensors. They look an awful lot like cameras, has that deterred anything?

One example of how this law may be found unconstitutional is if you imagine the owner of the vehicle, if the owner claims they were not the driver, has to swear to an affidavit who was driving the car. What if the owner committed the crime of knowingly permitting an unauthorized operator to drive? This is a violation of Florida Statutes section 322.36 and is a misdemeanor. Then presumably the fifth amendment would protect that owner from swearing anything? Also note how the law shifts the burden of proof to the owner away from the government. This runs afoul to our founding principles. What if we are gathering for the holidays and 12 drivers had access and the owner does not know? All 12 have to be turned in?

If you are cited for any traffic matter, criminal or civil, you should at least speak with a traffic lawyer. Please click, call or fill out the form to hire a ticket lawyer.

Gainesville (352) 371-9141

Ocala (352) 694-4529

Where’s Waldo? Traffic Ticket Defense in Waldo Florida

Waldo, Florida is located in Alachua County along US Highway 301. Many people and AAA feel that Waldo is a speed trap. Although the signage has improved in recent years, the speed changes frequently and the school zone in Waldo from US 301 Southbound onto SR-24 is difficult to manage, especially if you are not from here. Many people from out of state call the office after receiving a traffic citation looking for a lawyer to handle traffic ticket defense due to an alleged traffic violation in Waldo.

What can you do if you were issued a traffic ticket in Waldo? In every traffic violation case you have three options. First you could just pay the citation, you will receive points on your license, your insurance may increase for years and some states will suspend your license if you were driving fast enough.

Second, if you qualify, you may elect to take traffic school, which will remove points from the license, the citaiton still has to be paid and unfortunatley for out of state driver, another State may not honor the election to remove points.  The driver’s home state may place points on the license even if the driver chooses school to avoid pointd in Florida.  After traffic school, the citation will still appear on the record.

A person with a commercial driver’s license or CDL does not qualify to elect school. The traffic school election can only be made once every twelve (12) months and only five (5) times in a lifetime. Therefore, a citation with a school election is maintained on the driver record for 75 years.

The third choice, sometimes the only choice for out of state drivers, CDL drivers, or drivers needing an amendment to keep their job or license, is to take the infraction to court.  A traffic ticket lawyer can represent a driver in court in the driver’s absense; there is no requirment to personally attend. (Even in Appearance Required Citations).

Law enforcement municipal statistics along the US 301 corridor, including Lawtey, Starke, and Waldo, show that in any given month, about 90% of people just pay a traffic ticket or elect traffic school which requires payment of the citation. Why do an overwhelming majority of citizens just roll over and pay the traffic ticket?

Perhaps convenience is a factor, but we can help without ever coming to the office, and even through email.  Maybe people feel it is the law enforcement’s word against the citizen. Unfortunately this can seem true.  But in court, sometimes, the officer fails to appear or witnesses may have unclear memories, in a speeding ticket, documents for calibration and maintencance are not always proper.   .

Single car accident cases,such as for careless driving, should almost always be fought. In that instance the citation was issued for because there was an accident and for no other reason. In single car accident careless driving citations, the driver is likely the only witness to the crash.  The State has to prove guilt, and most of the time the officer or trooper did not witness the wreck.  When the lawyer goes to court instead of the driver, what evidence can the State present?  None.  However, in the same case a driver representing themselves may be asked questions and the driver will provide the State the evidence the State is missing. Hiring a traffic ticket defense lawyer can have drastically different results because without evidence, the State cannot meet their burden of proof which is beyond a reasonable doubt.

Even if the defenses are difficult; most of the time an attorney can help to avoid points and traffic school.  In short most people do not fight their traffic ticket case. More people should.  Hire an attorney by clicking, filling out the form or calling. We handle all traffic matters.

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Gainesville (352) 371-9141

Ocala (352) 694-4529