Understanding Florida’s Criminal Traffic Laws


Florida’s Criminal Traffic Laws: There are all sorts of traffic codes in the state of Florida. While some are minor, such as rolling through a stop sign or failing to use a turn signal when changing lanes, others carry much greater weight. Indeed, often minor infractions lead to other charges, as there could be other issues at play. 

In Florida, when a driver commits an infraction, they could be issued a Uniform Traffic Citation or charged with a crime. Those crimes could range from misdemeanors to criminal offenses, including felonies, in the most extreme cases of severe traffic violations.

How Many Traffic Violations Occur in Florida Annually?

Every year in Florida, there are scores of traffic violations, involving every type of vehicle that you can think of and people from all walks of life. According to the Florida Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, there are more than 300,000 criminal moving violations each year. These violations range from felony speeding – which is driving 50 miles per hour above the posted limit or driving at or over 100 miles per hour, regardless of the speed limit – to driving under the influence of alcohol or substances to hit and runs.


What types of Criminal Traffic Violations Exist in Florida?

Reckless driving violations

Reckless driving in Florida involves the wilful or wanton disregard for the safety of other people or property. Fleeing a law enforcement officer in a motor vehicle is considered reckless driving per se, which means that drivers who find themselves in that situation will likely be charged with reckless driving automatically, on top of whatever other reasons the officers had for engaging in the first place. 

Reckless driving is considered a second-degree misdemeanor in Florida. A first offense can result in up to 90 days in jail and a $500 fine. A second charge can result in up to six months in jail and a fine of up to $5,000. Florida drivers don’t necessarily suffer a license suspension, though it is up to the discretion of the court.

DUI violations

In Florida, it is illegal to operate a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcoholic beverages, chemical substances or controlled substances. This can be proven by obvious impairment of normal faculties or a blood or breath alcohol level of .08 percent. If an officer has reason to believe that a driver is under the influence, they may proceed with roadside tests and, ultimately, breath or blood alcohol tests. Under Florida law, if a driver refuses to submit to an alcohol test, they could automatically face criminal penalties.

There are many factors for sentencing involving DUIs in Florida. While a first DUI charge (without bodily injury) involves a minimum 180-day license suspension, one with bodily injury involves a minimum of three-year license suspension. Blood Alcohol Level (BAL) could impact sentencing and multiple convictions could result in a long prison sentence and a permanent license revocation.

A good DUI lawyer in Florida will say you should always remember that you are innocent until proven otherwise. A DUI stop can be confusing and there are a lot of things happening that can make things overwhelming quickly. Regardless of how the stop goes, representation is the key to getting charges reduced.

Hit & Run violations

A hit and run in Florida is defined as the failure of a driver to remain at the sight of a vehicle crash and fulfill other statutory duties when the crash at issue involves death, bodily injury or property damage. These are considered serious offenses under Florida law.

If there are injuries involved, the third-degree felony punishment could be up to five years in prison and up to a $5,000 fine. Death catapults the charge to a first-degree felony.

How Do You Deal With Criminal Traffic Violations in Florida?

Everybody is capable of making mistakes and sometimes those mistakes are costly and scary, where the law gets involved and repercussions can be serious. The process itself can be confusing and frustrating and can even lead to anxiety and other mental health-related issues. The best way to proceed whenever criminal charges are involved is to enlist the assistance of those who understand how these situations unfold and who can provide guidance and advice. 

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