Tag Archives: tickets

FHP Troopers told to Write More Tickets – Allegations of Quotas

DUI Operation in Lee County Friday

The Tampa Bay Times has uncovered an email from an FHP supervisor instructing his troopers to write more tickets. “The patrol wants to see two citations each our…” reads the email from Major Mark Welch. He and FHP deny this is a quota, which would be in violation of state law: but this is a quota. He sets a minimum number of tickets he expects his underlings to write per hour. That’s exactly a quota. The fact that he says “This is not a quota” does not redefine what a quota is.

 

To make matters worse, there may be benefits tied to the number of tickets officers write. Troopers in Miami-Dade were given additional weekend passes when they met ticket-writing goals earlier this year. FHP ended that policy when it was exposed. It seems this new quota is tied to ‘SOAR’, an overtime program, though that program appears to incentivize them to work more hours, not to inflate their ticket numbers. Big brother is most definitely watching.

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Gold Fleet of Cars Get Parking Tickets

gold car ticket.jpg

Gold Lamborghini with parking tickets

No matter how rich you are, even if you have a gold fleet of supercars, you still have to obey the rules of the road. A Saudi millionaire who made news when he brought four Gold-Plated cars to London made the news again when they all got tickets where he had parked them on the street. Something tells me the guy who buys multiple cars that cost more than half a million dollars isn’t going to be worried about a couple hundred dollars in tickets.

Also, the cars don’t look that good.

gold car fleet

Gaudy

 

Myths About Traffic Tickets

Blogger Steve Lehto, who I have linked to in the past, is an attorney who write about car-related legal issues. He did a post this week about traffic tickets, and it’s pretty spot on, so I’m sharing it here. One caveat, many times we can get a ticket dismissed in some counties if the cop doesn’t show up- the policies about that are really localized. All the more reason to talk to an experienced attorney if you get a ticket!

http://carbuying.jalopnik.com/five-myths-about-traffic-tickets-1668682719

Steve Lehto Shares Tips on What to do If You Get Pulled Over

Blogger Steve Lehto, an attorney from Michigan shares some pointers in his latest column: http://oppositelock.jalopnik.com/how-to-reduce-the-odds-of-being-ticketed-during-a-traff-1645604557

I would add, be exceedingly polite. I doubt anything makes as big a difference on whether you are getting ticket, and what deal you get at court, than how you treat the cop.

Flashing Your Headlights is Protected Speech in Oregon, Too

CCSO Patrol Car

CCSO Patrol Car

We recently determined that flashing headlights to warn other drivers is protected expression in Florida, as well as specifically protected by a recent statutory change. 38-year-old trucker Chris Hill got a ticket for flashing to warn drivers about an approaching cop, and got a citation for his efforts. It didn’t sound right, so he took it to court. He fought the law, and he won! The judge in Oregon found the law unconstitutional as applied, setting a good precedent for freedom of expression in yet another state.

Is it Legal to Warn People About a Speed Trap?

  • Can a driver get in trouble for flashing their lights to warn other drivers of police ahead?
  • What about other kinds of warnings: could that be Obstruction of Justice?
Red Sox v. Twins

Red Sox v. Twins

I went to see the last Spring Training game of the year on Saturday, as the Sox took on the Twins. Before I left, my friend had posted on social media that there was a trooper camping out on I-75, watching for speeders not far from the ball park. Sure enough, I took it easy as I went to the game, and there he was, right were my friend said to be on the lookout. In a bit of Karma, since I wasn’t driving too fast, I pissed off a speeder, who proceeded to tailgate me, then pass aggressively on my right. Sure enough, he fell right into the speed trap.

And what about the driver who passes a cop on the road, and flashes his lights to warn oncoming traffic? I was asked that question this week by some astute high school students in whose class I had been invited to speak. I once saw a judge insinuate that such flashing may be obstruction of justice, so I needed to dig a little to find a definitive answer for Florida.

The law, it turns out is quite clear in Florida. Driver’s have a First Amendment right to warn other drivers to slow down. Ryan Kintner, of Lake Mary Florida, got a ticket for flashing his lights at drivers in 2011, and had the guts to fight it out in court. The judge ruled that Kintner’s actions to warn his neighbors of the hazard are Constitutionally protected. Drivers have a right to expression, and to warn their neighbors of hazards, even if those hazards are created by law enforcement. While this case was specifically dealing with a flashing lights civil infraction, the principle will certainly apply to a obstruction of justice charge as well. The First Amendment and other Constitutional protections trump statutory laws.

LCSO Patrol Vehicles

LCSO Unmarked Patrol Mustang

The legislature went a step further, and passed a law that went into affect on January 1, 2013, that clarified that the flashing of lights to warn other drivers is not a violation of the flashing lights statute, Fla. Stat.  §316.23. That’s good public policy: if there is an accident around a curve, we don’t want to discourage drivers from warning oncoming traffic about the approaching hazard. Note, this is the law in Florida, and each state has its own traffic laws. Kintner sued law enforcement to stop writing such citations, but I suspect the statutory change made his lawsuit moot.

Collier County "Ghost" Cruiser

Collier County “Ghost” Cruiser

Additionally, warnings about speed traps on social media are clearly going to be protected by the First Amendment. Again, this is good policy. The purpose of speed limits and enforcing them is safety: getting people to slow down. And the best way to do that is to get the word out that there will be consequences for speeding. That’s why many agencies, including LCSO, routinely share their traffic enforcement plans. LCSO places warnings daily on the home page of their website, and shares them on Facebook, as well. Be safe driving on these streets today:

Daily Traffic Enforcement Update

The Lee County Sheriff’s Office Traffic Unit is providing the information listed below in continuing efforts to increase traffic safety awareness and education, plus to emphasize the importance of obeying traffic laws to reduce traffic crashes, injuries and death on Lee County roads.

On Friday, April 4, 2014, the Traffic Unit will target at least one of the following three locations for enforcement:

1.Sanibel Boulevard, Fort Myers
2.Slater Road, North Fort Myers
3.State Road 82, Lehigh Acres

Read about Collier’s “Ghost Cruiser” here.

Big Brother is Watching You from the Air

NBC-2 did a story on the Florida Highway Patrol’s use of airborne surveillance to catch speeders on I-75. The trooper is correct when he states that it is very hard to challenge such speeding tickets. There is no equipment to calibrate, since it is done via stopwatch. The key thing to remember from this post is to drive cautiously. Much of I-75 is under construction, and that can lead to enhanced fines if workers are present. And as you can see from the NBC screen capture, the troopers are just lining up, waiting to bust people.

http://www.nbc-2.com/story/22172744/nbc2-investigators-fhp-spotting-speeders-from-above#.UYp86bWkpKI

FHP Troopers from NBC-2 Story

FHP Troopers from NBC-2 Story