Florida Rules of Traffic Court - Using the Rules to Win Your Case
"The Florida Rules of Traffic Court provide the procedural framework for the traffic court process and certain rules also provide Defendants with a strategic advantage, depending on the facts of their case. The following rules are ones that I use frequently to beat my client's traffic ticket case."
Introduction to this Legal GuideThe Florida Rules of Traffic Court are available on the Florida Bar's website for free, but you can also purchase a book containing both the Rules of Procedure and the applicable Florida Statutes (Sections 316-324). These rules, when applied correctly, may result in the dismissal of your citation. However, the interpretation and application of these rules vary greatly depending on the County and/or Judge (or Hearing Officer). So, prior to making an argument for dismissal based on a procedural rule (or any legal argument), you should know how the Judge or Hearing Officer, who will be presiding over your Florida traffic ticket case, interprets these rules prior to using them as a component of your motion to dismiss or other legal argument / defense because every case involves its own unique variables. So, if you do not have the requisite experience to properly assess the viability of your defense (before a particular Judge), then I highly recommend retaining an experienced Florida Traffic Ticket Attorney - but, if you still insist on representing yourself, here are some of the most useful Florida Rules of Traffic Court that I frequently use for negotiation and strategic purposes.
Get Your Ticket Dismissed if the Speedy Trial Period Expires (180 Days)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 served 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.
Escape a Harsh Sentence by Electing Driving School (Any Time Before Trial)RULE 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.
Get Your Speeding Ticket Dismissed if This Information is MissingRULE 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.
2009 Amendment - This amendment is based on the fact that currently to the committee's knowledge there are 5 different measuring devices or types: Radar, Laser, Pace Car, Vascar, and airplane with stopwatch. It is believed that identifying the type of measuring device is not unduly burdensome to the state and it is necessary in the preparation of a defense. Withholding this information until the time of trial unduly prejudices the defense. This amendment is also forward-looking in that as new measuring devices appear, they can be effectively used as long as they are disclosed.
Mistake on Your Citation? Don't Get Too Excited, Officers are Allowed to Correct ErrorsRule 6.455 - AMENDMENTS
The charging document may be amended by the issuing officer in open court at the time of a scheduled hearing before it commences, subject to the approval of the official. The official shall grant a continuance if the amendment requires one in the interests of justice. No case shall be dismissed by reason of any informality or irregularity in the charging instrument.
Don't Miss Work - Use This Rule to Have Your Attorney Appear on Your BehalfRule 6.340 - WAIVER OF APPEARANCE
(c) Attorney Representation. If a defendant is represented by an attorney in an infraction case, said attorney may represent the defendant in the absence of the defendant at a hearing or trial without the defendant being required to file an affidavit of defense. The attorney shall file a written notice of appearance. The attorney may enter any plea, proceed to trial, present evidence other than the defendant's statements, and examine and cross examine witnesses without the defendant being required to file an affidavit of defense. Nonetheless, a defendant represented by an attorney may file an affidavit of defense. If a represented defendant files such an affidavit, the affidavit must be signed and properly notarized, subjecting the affiant to perjury prosecution for false statement