Written by attorney David P. Gilbert

Florida Rules of Traffic Court: A Few Important Rules to Know

If you plan on defending yourself in one of Tampa's traffic courts, (which I wouldn't recommend) you should be familiar with the rules of the court, as well as the statute that you have allegedly violated. The Florida Rules of Traffic Court can be found online (for free) on the Florida Bar's website, as well as various other websites. These rules, when applied correctly, may result in the dismissal of your citation. However, it is important that you know how your Judge interprets these rules prior to using them as a component of your defense. While there are many rules, here are the three that I have found to be most useful (I added italics to important language in the rule):

6.325 Speedy Trial: Infractions Only

(a) General Rules. Except as otherwise provided in this rule, every defendant charged with a noncriminal traffic infraction shall be brought to trial within 180 days of the date the defendant is servved with the uniform traffic citation or other charging document. If trial is not commenced within 180 days, the defendant shall be entitled to dismissal of the infraction charge.

(b) Effect of Delay or Continuances. If the trial of the defendant is not commenced within the 180-day requirement established by this rule, a motion for dismissal shall be granted by the court unless it is shown that:

(1) failure to hold trial was attributable to the defendant or the defendant's counsel, or

(2) the defendant was unavailable for trial.

If the court finds that dismissal is not appropriate for the reasons listed in this subdivision, the motion for dismissal shall be denied.

6.330 Election to Attend Traffic School

(a) Attendance at School. Unless a mandatory hearing is required, or the defendant appears at a hearing before an official, a defendant may elect to attend a driver improvement school pursuant to section 318.14(9), Florida Statutes, within 30 days of receiving a citation, or if a hearing was requested, at any time before trial. Attendance at a driver improvement school shall not operate to waive the law enforcement education assessments under section 943.25, Florida Statutes. Any defendant electing to attend driver improvement school under section 318.14(9), Florida Statutes, will receive a withheld adjudication and not be assessed points.

6.445 Discovery: Infractions Only

If an electronic or mechanical speed measuring device is used by the citing officer, the type of device and the manufacturer's serial number must be included in the body of the citation. If any relevant supporting documentation regarding such device is in the officer's possession at the time of trial, the defendant or defendant's attorney shall be entitled to review that documentation immediately before that trial.

To build the most effective defense for your citation, you must know when and how to use these rules to achieve a dismissal. While these rules may not have an impact on your specific case, only an experienced Tampa Ticket Attorney will have the knowledge and experience to know if these rules should be applied to your case and whether or not the Judge will grant a motion to dismiss based upon any of the above-mentioned rules.

You only have one day in court for your citation and I would not recommend that you experiment with defenses without verifying their effectiveness. If you do decide to fight your Tampa traffic ticket on your own, I wish you luck and I strongly encourage you to watch several court proceedings prior to your day in court.

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