Category Archives: Miami criminal traffic lawyers

COVID-19 and Florida Traffic Tickets

maxwell-ridgeway-D5FI8jv6ndU-unsplashAs COVID-19 continues to be a major concern in Florida, there may be drivers curious about traffic tickets or how the courts are operating.

Back in March, most court proceedings necessitating face-to-face interaction were temporarily suspended as a way to promote social distancing. Because of those conditions, if you have a court date in the state of Florida after March 16, you’re not supposed to appear until the state government requests otherwise.

As for traffic tickets, yes you can still receive a traffic ticket. Traffic violations are deemed discretionary, meaning the police officer observing the violation can decide whether to issue a ticket based on the severity or recklessness of the violation. Although Florida is in an emergency state, officers may decide to adopt greater leniency for less severe violations, such as expired registration, for example. These decisions remain solely with the officer, however. Nonetheless, officers will be taking extra care when they issue tickets and respond to violations to ensure the protection and the safety of the public.

If you have received a traffic ticket and intend to contest it in court, you’re required to obey the usual rules and inform the courts of your plans via writing within the 30-day timeframe or online. It is important to remember that failure to respond to a summons is still a criminal offense even during the court’s suspension of face-to-face transactions, which may result in heavier penalties and having your driver’s license suspended.

This update is brought to you by the Miami traffic attorney team of Hochman & Goldin, P.A. We can assist you with criminal traffic violations and we are ready to answer your questions. Please call 305-665-1000 to speak with one of the Miami criminal traffic lawyers today.

This information is provided for educational or informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice. The information is not provided in the course of an attorney-client relationship and is not intended to substitute for legal advice.

Some South Florida Cities Are Relaxing Parking Rules

body-kit-1869892_1920With local, countywide, and national stay-at-home directives in effect as the number of COVID-19 cases continues to escalate throughout Florida, some municipal governments have reduced the number of parking tickets they issue, knowing people are using their vehicles sparingly for critical activities. For example, in the city of Miami, the Miami Parking Authority has entirely ceased issuing meter tickets since March 19. The decision became important as daily business in Miami began to see a significant slowdown.

Miami Beach, on the other hand, continues to issue parking citations. However, the economic downturn caused by COVID-19 has resulted in substantial cuts within the department and a less strict approach when it comes to enforcing parking laws. The city has gotten rid of all pay stations on the curbside and off-street, making mobile payments as the only alternative.

A few cities have made changes so people can park without while picking up food or purchasing critical items. In Coral Gables, for example, residents are allowed about ten minutes to park for free when they visit Miracle Mile, typically with a degree of leeway. Miami Parking Authority has reinvented the curbside spots typically meant for valets into zones for delivery pickup.

Some rules are still being enforced. County police continue to respond to any complaints regarding vehicles being parked in condominium loading zones.

To read more, visit https://www.miamiherald.com/news/coronavirus/article241710726.html.

This update is brought to you by the Miami traffic attorney team of Hochman & Goldin, P.A. We can assist you with criminal traffic violations and we are ready to answer your questions. Please call 305-665-1000 to speak with one of the Miami criminal traffic lawyers today.

Florida Bill Seeks Crosswalk Changes

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After a 12-year-old girl lost her life due to being struck by a vehicle at a lighted crosswalk, a Florida State Representative is spearheading the passing of a bill (House Bill 1371) aimed at replacing the yellow lights on crosswalks with red ones.
Also known as the Sophia Nelson Pedestrian Safety Act, the bill would make changes to certain roadways. Streets, highways, and roads with a maximum of two lanes and posted speed limits below 35 miles per hour would still use the flashing yellow beacons as before. The red lights or beacons would only be required on roads that have over two lanes and speed limits higher than 35 miles per hour.

Should the bill be approved, a request would be put in with the federal government to make the changes to the red lights. Should the changes receive approval, local governments would be required to implement these changes within a year. If the request is not granted, the agency with road authority shall retrofit current mid-block crosswalks with red flashing lights or get rid of the crosswalk by October 1, 2024.

To read more, please visit https://www.clickorlando.com/news/local/2020/02/20/florida-house-prepares-to-tackle-crosswalk-bill-after-12-year-old-girls-death/.

this update is brought to you by the Miami traffic attorney team of Hochman & Goldin, P.A. We can assist you with criminal traffic violations and are ready to answer your questions. Please call 305-665-1000 to speak with a red light camera violation attorney today.

This information is provided for educational or informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice. The information is not provided in the course of an attorney-client relationship and is not intended to substitute for legal advice.

New Bill Tackles Drivers License Suspension Fees

camaro-1111753_1280According to a News 4 JAX article, over a million drivers in Florida had their licenses suspended because of outstanding fines. The issue has raised concerns because, as criminal justice advocates believe, a person that can’t legally drive will face difficulties when trying to work which, in turn, makes it harder to pay the fines.

A bill making its way through the House and Senate is looking to tackle this problem by cutting down on license suspensions and allowing people to set up financially manage payment plans. The person would have at least thirty days to contact the Clerk of Court and make it known that they would like to set up a payment plan. After that, there would be another sixty-day period where the details of the payment plan can be worked out. The payment plans would vary based on what the person can pay.

In one example used in the News 4 JAX article, Collier County currently has over $90 million in license suspension fines and fees that have gone uncollected, which may reinforce that based on existing laws, the clerks aren’t receiving the money owed.

Florida is one of eleven states evaluating legislation to cut down or get rid of license suspensions caused by failing to pay fees and fines.

To read more, visit https://www.news4jax.com/news/local/2020/02/11/bill-would-reduce-florida-drivers-license-suspensions-for-failing-to-pay-fines/.

This update is brought to you by the Miami traffic attorney team of Hochman & Goldin, P.A. We can assist you with criminal traffic violations and we are ready to answer your questions. Please call 305-665-1000 to speak with one of the Miami criminal traffic lawyers today.

The Future of the Palmetto Express Lanes Is at Stake

miamiHighwaysIf you’ve spent any time driving on the Palmetto Expressway recently, you’ve likely chosen to use or have at least seen the express lanes. Per the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT), drivers who decide to drive on the new lanes would pay at least fifty cents per segment, which run north and south between West Flagler Street and Northwest 154th Street in addition to I-75 near Northwest 107th Street.

Though the express lanes did not receive unanimous praise when they were announced, Miami-Dade pushed forth with the $250+ million project. Since their official opening, the lanes have generated $2 million in revenue according to the FDOT and have cut down on commute times by nearly half. While the standard Palmetto lanes usually take drivers about seventeen minutes to pass through during peak hours, the express lanes cut that down slightly to about nine minutes.

Despite the revenue and the reduced travel time, the future of the Palmetto express lanes is at stake. A pair of Florida lawmakers have recently introduced a bill that aims to get rid of the express lanes and prevent tolls from being created on the Palmetto. According to the lawmakers, the tolls are resulting in greater congestion for Hialeah residents.

Will the Palmetto express lanes be short-lived? Their fate will be determined during Florida’s 2020 legislative session, which kicked off earlier this week.

To read more, visit https://www.nbcmiami.com/news/local/the-fate-of-the-palmetto-express-lanes-will-be-decided-during-floridas-session/2176850/.

This update is brought to you by the Miami traffic attorney team of Hochman & Goldin, P.A. We can assist you with criminal traffic violations and we are ready to answer your questions. Please call 305-665-1000 to speak with one of the Miami criminal traffic lawyers today.

What Happens When BAC Is Below the Legal Limit?

buzzedWhen a person receives a DUI charge, most people think it means the individual was blowing a blood alcohol content (BAC) of at least 0.08% or more. However, is it still possible to be arrested if the driver blows under the legal BAC limit? Let’s delve a little deeper into this question.

The simple answer is yes, even if they blow below the legal limit, a driver can be arrested for a DUI. That assertion is focused on the Florida law that says DUIs comprise more than just a 0.08 percent BAC in some cases.

According to Florida law, a person is guilty of a DUI if they are under the influence of alcoholic beverages and they are affected to the degree that the usual abilities of the person are impaired. Hence, this has little to do with a driver’s BAC and more to do with the driver’s ability to safely operate a vehicle. Consequently, if someone is intoxicated to the extent that they have trouble controlling a motor vehicle, there is the possibility of a DUI arrest.

It makes DUI offenses extremely subjective, regrettably, as the cop who pulls the driver over is the one who determines whether or not the driver is committing a DUI. This means officers are entitled to subjectively arrest people if they believe they are intoxicated to the point of being a danger to themselves or others.

This update is brought to you by the Miami traffic attorney team of Hochman & Goldin, P.A. We can assist you with criminal traffic violations and are ready to answer your questions. Please call 305-665-1000 to speak with a red light camera violation attorney today.

This information is provided for educational or informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice. The information is not provided in the course of an attorney-client relationship and is not intended to substitute for legal advice.

Driving with Medical Marijuana

marijuana-1Do you have a medical marijuana card? Even if you purchase the marijuana from a state-licensed dispensary, you should carry it with you at all times as it may be necessary if you are pulled over by police.

The legalization of hemp in Florida back in July introduced a law enforcement challenge to find out when to apprehend a driver or seize a drug, because hemp smells and appears similar to cannabis, and is smokeable. Officers make use of a field test that can distinguish between marijuana and hemp, but not Palm Beach or Miami-Dade where the substance is confiscated and checked in a licensed laboratory.

Patients with medical marijuana must be able to produce a valid medical marijuana card if they are stopped with a cannabis product in their vehicle. Choosing not to show the card to an officer is a violation of the law— a misdemeanor of the second degree.

For drivers charged with a violation, you should know that if you are able to produce a Florida medical marijuana registry card that was valid when the charge occurred, either before or at the time of court appearance, you can’t be convicted.

This update is brought to you by Miami traffic ticket lawyer Hochman & Goldin, P.A. We can assist you with criminal traffic violations and we are ready to answer your questions and help you fight your ticket. Please call 305-665-1000 to speak with a Miami expungement attorney.

This information is provided for educational or informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice. The information is not provided in the course of an attorney-client relationship and is not intended to substitute for legal advice.

Google Maps Will Receive Real-Time Reporting

navigation-2049641_1280If you’ve used navigation apps on your smartphone, you may be familiar with Waze. The app stands out by allowing users to report incidents such as hazards on the road, the presence of police, and more in real-to,e. After Google purchased Waze in 2013, its own Google Maps received some traffic data from Waze but the two continued to operate independently.

Fast forward several years and Google Maps is now getting some of the real-time reporting features Waze users have been accustomed to and using for years. Users will soon be able to report road incidents including speed traps and accidents once Google pushes a new update for both Android users and those that use iOS devices like the iPhone.

In addition to being able to report accidents, Google is taking another page from its Waze app by adding the option to report construction zones, any lanes that may be closed, vehicles that are disabled, and debris that may be causing dangerous hazards on the road.

Do you have a preference between Google Maps or Waze? If so, will the new real-time reporting updates sway you to switch to Google Maps or do you prefer to stick to the longtime reliability of Waze?

This update is brought to you by the Miami traffic attorney team of Hochman & Goldin, P.A. We can assist you with criminal traffic violations and we are ready to answer your questions. Please call 305-665-1000 to speak with one of the Miami criminal traffic lawyers today.

What to Do at DUI Checkpoints

copsIf you’ve never encountered a DUI checkpoint, it’s worth knowing what you need to do in this scenario. Legally, you are required to stop as these checkpoints are considered reasonable search and seizure here in Florida. During these checkpoints, a police offer may stop you and request your license or they may ask that you take a sobriety test if there is a suspicion that you are under the influence.

For starters, DUI checkpoints need to be announced to the public, including the location and the date the checkpoint will be taking place. There are various apps or websites you can use to obtain this information. If you do approach the checkpoint, you have the option of refusing to do the field test if the officer requests that you do so because they believe you may be intoxicated. This test involves the customary standing on one leg, turning and walking, and the horizontal gaze test. If you do refuse this test, however, the refusal may be deemed suspicious. An officer may then request a breathalyzer which, if refused, carries immediate repercussions.

If involved in a DUI checkpoint, take it easy. Being irritable or worried may cause an officer to suspect something. Should an officer request that you exit the vehicle, do so. You don’t have to answer an officer’s questions. If you have been drinking, strongly consider requesting an attorney. Providing wrong answers may lead to incriminating yourself. Even if you decide to remain silent, show politeness and avoid confrontation.

This update is brought to you by Miami traffic ticketlawyer Hochman & Goldin, P.A. We can assist you with criminal traffic violations and we are ready to answer your questions and help you fight your ticket. Please call 305-665-1000 to speak about Miami civil traffic tickets.

This information is provided for educational or informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice. The information is not provided in the course of an attorney-client relationship and is not intended to substitute for legal advice.

Florida Senator Seeks to Increase Penalties for Passing a School Bus

schoolBusWhen a school bus is stopped and has its STOP sign out, Florida drivers are required to stop so students can cross the street safely to get on or off the bus. You’ve probably noticed, however, that some drivers will speed right by the school bus, illegally passing it. Besides being illegal, this also puts the safety of the schoolchildren at risk.

A Florida State senator is now looking to do something about this situation by ramping up the penalties for people that fail to stop for school buses that are picking up or dropping off students. Called SB 290, should the bill pass all of the hurdles and go into effect in July of next year, fines for people who fail to stop for a school bus will be increased from $100 to $200. If the person is once again caught committing the crime within five years, they will have their license suspended for a minimum of 180 days or as long as a year.

Additionally, SB 290 would require a $400 fine versus a $200 penalty should a driver illegally pass a school bus on the side where children are boarding or getting off the school bus while the bus has its stop sign displayed. Should the person commit the crime again within five years, their license will be suspended for a minimum of 360 days and up to two years.

For more information, visit https://www.flsenate.gov/Session/Bill/2020/290/?Tab=BillHistory.

This update is brought to you by the Miami traffic attorney team of Hochman & Goldin, P.A. We can assist you with criminal traffic violations and we are ready to answer your questions. Please call 305-665-1000 to speak with one of the Miami criminal traffic lawyers today.