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Florida Highway Flying Petrol Unit

Better than a Radar Detector…

For those of you who travel on the roadways in the State of Florida, especially the interstate, you must be aware that the Florida Highway Patrol still uses fixed wing aircraft for aerial speed enforcement. Everyday across the State of Florida, pilots, some with over 20 years of experience, fly their airplane in an oval race track format while clocking cars from the air. Troopers on the ground are then contacted by the aircraft pilot and will pull you over and issue you a uniform traffic citation for unlawful speed.

The Florida Highway Patrol Aerial Unit

The Florida Highway Patrol Aerial Unit

How do they do this? There are white lines in the roadway that are one quarter mile (1320ft) in distance from each other. The pilot in the air has a stopwatch, when you cross the first set of white lines the pilot will start the stopwatch and will then stop it when you cross the second set of white lines. The pilot’s stopwatch has a built in formula which determines your speed and the time it takes you to cross the white lines. The troopers on the ground will then issue you a uniform traffic citation for unlawful speed.

A screen shot of the FHP Aerial Unit locations on I-75

A screen shot of the FHP Aerial Unit locations on I-75

If you aren’t familiar with the app Waze, owned by Google, you should check it out when you travel along the interstate. As you see, other Waze users will usually notify you way in advance that the highway patrol has a saturation / aircraft detail going on, giving you more than enough time to get your speed down to the appropriate limit.

If you should receive a citation from the Florida Highway Patrol give us a call to go over the particular facts of your case at 1-800-Fight-It. In the meantime download the Waze app now!lawplacelogo-red-sm

Moving Violation

Good Ruling for Commercial Drivers in Florida

In Florida if you possess a regular drivers license, and you receive a moving violation, you have three options for non-mandatory traffic infractions:

  1. Elect a driver improvement school
  2. Pay the citation
  3. Elect to fight the citation in Court.

However, the options available to a commercial driver are limited as they can pay the citation or fight the ticket in Court.

Until a memo from the Department of Highway Safety and Motor VehiclesDHSMV) began circulating on January , 2014, it was commonplace for a Judge to withhold adjudication on a commercial driver if the facts and driving record warranted such a result. A withhold of adjudication would mean that a driver wouldnt receive point on their license BUT the violation would still appear on their record as has been commonplace for years.

Since the memo began circulating over a year ago, each county has been inconsistent with their interpretation of the memo and the sentences they were imposing on a commercial driver appearing before them. In an order from Sarasota County (State v John Brandy, 2014 TR 15144 NC) Judge Phyllis Galen on March , 2015, the Judge ruled that the Court has the authority to withhold adjudication on a commercial driver appearing before them on a moving violation. The Judge discussed the separation of powers between the branches of Government and opined that under Florida Law, a withhold of adjudication is NOT masking since the violation still appears on a driving record.

Finebloom, Haenel, and Higgins have been representing motorists across the State of Florida for over 10 years. David Haenel, one of the partners is the former Florida Bar Traffic Court Rules Committee chairman. They can be reached at 1-800-FIGHT-IT (344-4848)

4 th of July

4 Tips for Partying Safely this July 4th Weekend

Fourth of July, especially when it falls on a weekend, is one of the summer holidays that is tips for partying safely july 4th weekend 2014synonymous with barbecuing with friends and family and having a couple of cold beers while watching the fireworks.

However, Forth of July weekend can also be one of the most dangerous on Florida roads when it comes to drinking and driving accidents and deaths, leading police to crack down on all drivers.   Dozens of people die in traffic accidents during a Fourth of July weekend while hundreds more get arrested for driving under the influence and thousands get tickets for other driving infractions such as speeding.  Here are some ways that you can keep yourself safe on the road this holiday weekend.

1.  Plan Ahead – Make sure that you designated a responsible person to stay sober when you are out partying and have them drive home.  Always have a contingency plan in case your designated driver does not work out.  Have the numbers for a few taxi companies handy.  Many groups, such as the AAA for example, will offer free rides home to those who cannot drive because they have been drinking.  Research these options before you go out.

2.  Wear Your Seat belt – Wearing your seat belt is the law in Florida and can save your life if you are involved in an accident with someone.  Additionally, law enforcement usually steps up enforcement of seat belt laws during holiday weekends. And if you have had a few drinks and decide to drive…not wearing your seat belt gives police a reason to pull you over leaving you more susceptible to a DUI charge.

3.  Follow Traffic Laws – Don’t speed, run stop signs and red lights, or otherwise drive recklessly.  This is good advice for every time you are driving, but especially during holidays like the 4th of July when there are a lot more police officers patrolling the roads. You are way more likely to be pulled over and ticketed leaving you with a hefty fine and points on your drivers license. And those points on your license could lead to a license suspension and higher insurance premiums.

4.  Drive for the Conditions Around You – if it is raining or difficult to see, slow down.  It may take longer to get to your destination, but will keep you safer in the long run. Getting to your 4th of July party quicker isn’t worth getting into a car accident and potentially being seriously injured or injuring someone else.

If, by some chance, you are involved in an accident over this holiday weekend, are arrested for driving under the influence, or pulled over and issued a citation for a traffic violation, our attorneys are here for you.  With our experienced lawyers on your side, we will do everything in our power to try and get you the best possible result for your case no matter how big(DUI) or small(traffic ticket).