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)

Florida Department of Transportation Warns of Sunpass Toll Ticket Scam

The Florida Department of Transportation has issued a warning that there is a fake company attempting to collect fines for Sunpass toll violation tickets that don’t actually exist.  The company, called Toll Enforcement LLC has been sending drivers what looks like a ticket claiming that they owe a fine because their Sunpass didn’t register at a tollbooth.  According to the phony ticket, the driver faces loss of their license if they do not pay $57.

According to the DOT, if they sent out a real ticket for the same toll violation, it would have a date, time, and location of the violation along with a picture of your license plate captured by a camera at the tollbooth.  The fake tickets have none of these things.  Also different is the phone number associated with the fake ticket, it is one not associated with the Department of Transportation at all.

If you get one of these tickets, you should contact the Department of Transportation right away.  If, however, you have already paid this ticket, you need to take steps to protect yourself.  If you gave the scammers a credit card to pay the fine, be sure you change your card number immediately and watch your statement carefully.  If you paid via check and it hasn’t been cashed yet, there could be a chance of stopping payment on it, but you would need to check with your bank.

Unfortunately, once the thieves get the money, there could be little you can do to recover it besides disputing any odd charges on your credit card statement.  If the people running this scam are found by police, you could make an attempt to take them to small claims court or otherwise get restitution from the courts.  However, for a $57 loss, it is likely not worth the other fees and hassle of doing this, especially if the chances of actually getting any money from the scammers is slim.

This does not mean that if you get a ticket for a Sunpass violation that you do not pay it.  If the ticket is legitimate and you do not pay it, you could face some serious penalties.  You could end up with a citation being filed against you in court.  That could lead to fines and court fees that would be far higher than the original fine.  If you get one of these tickets, contact the Florida Department of Transportation if you are not sure if it is real so that you can be sure that it is paid promptly.