Gainesville Personal Injury, Divorce and Alimony Attorney

Traffic tickets issued later or not received at all.

What happens to a traffic ticket if the officer did not serve the individual at the road? This is a common question in the traffic ticket defense practice. When an officer does not serve the driver with the infraction on or at the roadside, typically that means that the infraction involves a crash. An accused driver being transported to the hospital may delay the actual receipt of notice by hours or weeks. Most traffic crashes resulting in fatalities are not served at the scene but, many months later. Blood drawn at a crash means an investigation into DUI and a lawyer should be consulted immediately. Although it may come as a surprise to some, the Constitution applies to traffic tickets. Notions of Due Process, the evidence code and the right to a speedy trial all apply to traffic ticket cases like other criminal and civil cases. However, there are tremendous differences between the criminal and traffic rules or procedure. Due Process is basically the right to have notice and opportunity to be heard. Notice happens when the officer provides the citation to the accused driver. The citation is the only charging document in a traffic ticket case and can be the only charging document in a criminal case.

Failure to serve the citation is therefore a violation of the Constitutional right to Due Process. A ticket that is never served is subject to the Statute of Limitations. In a noncriminal violation, a prosecution must be commenced within 1 year after it is committed. A prosecution on a charge on which the defendant has not previously been arrested or served with a summons is commenced when a charging document is filed, provided the Summons or Information or other charging document is served to the person without unreasonable delay.

The government still has to serve the ticket without unnecessary delay. If they do not, then the case is dismissed. There is no cure for the government; it is a hard line. The reasonableness of the delay depends on the facts over the next year but, things to consider are a Defendant’s absence from the State, homestead declarations, licensing of any type or, in the old days searching the phone book, today that would be an internet or social media search.

A ticket filed but not served and therefore not addressed by the driver, will result in a suspended license for failing to address the citation. Usually, a client finds out when the driver’s license is suspended for failing to act, sometimes the Court will have issued points and suspended the license. When this happens, the Court may still allow for a hearing and we will file a sworn Motion claiming improper or lack of service. Many times, the suspension can be lifted pending the hearing.

In a civil traffic ticket, the accused does NOT have the right to have a lawyer appointed; however, a person always has the right to hire their own lawyer. For assistance responding to a traffic summons or suspension please call, text, or click to fill out the form online.

Gainesville (352) 371-9141

Ocala (352) 694-4529

DUI, the 20 minute observation & DHSMV Hearings

After an arrest for driving under the influence (DUI), if the driver is alleged to have refused to provide a breath sample or provided a sample resulting over .08, then the arrestee’s driver license is supposed to be automatically suspended. This suspension takes place after ten (10) days. A driver must apply to challenge the suspension at the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (DHSMV) or DMV within those same ten (10) days. DHSMV blog.

Prior to collecting a breath sample for analysis, the machine operator is supposed to observe the arrested driver for twenty (20) minutes. This is designed to ensure an accurate sample by eliminating foreign objects, substances and things like regurgitation that can all affect the analysis of the sample. The required twenty (20) minute observation period is only one item that is subject to attack in the administrative license hearing.

At a hearing, the State must show competent substantial evidence to prove law enforcement conducted this observation period. Competent substantial evidence is evidence that will establish or cause the reasonable inference of a fact, such as whether the waiting or observation period occurred. Like many other aspects of criminal and traffic defense, the supporting documents can be vital to any challenge of the sample. There could be arguments based upon the lack of documents or based on the conflicts in the documents. The burden of proof at a driver license hearing is by a preponderance of the evidence, much lower than the beyond a reasonable doubt standard at the DUI trial.

Having a lawyer for these hearings is recommended because in any appeal of the Department’s decision, the Circuit Court will not reweigh evidence, nor to substitute its judgment for the findings of the hearing officer. Any review of the record determines whether the hearing officer’s findings were supported by competent, substantial evidence and whether the essential requirements of the law were applied.

DUI Defense is a technical area of practice; there are many avenues that are subject to attack. Every word used to communicate with the suspect can make a difference to what evidence is allowed to be presented to the jury. To hire a lawyer to assist in a DUI case of any kinds,please click, call, text (352) 371-9141 or fill out the form.

Gainesville (352) 371-9141

Ocala (352) 694-4529