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Traffic Ticket with Serious Bodily Injury or Death

Did you receive a traffic citation for a moving violation after a crash involving serious bodily injury or death? These types of cases usually involve an investigation by a traffic homicide investigator. Most of these cases are tragic accidents where no criminal arrest is made. Instead, the investigator might just issue you a citation for a civil (non-criminal) traffic violation.

Even a traffic ticket after a crash resulting in death or serious bodily injury comes with serious consequences. For instance, if you are convicted of the civil traffic offense then the court must impose a 3 month driver’s license suspension for a citation resulting in serious bodily injury or a 6 month driver’s license suspension for a citation resulting in death. A conviction also comes with a mandatory fine of $1,000. The court may also require you to perform 120 hours of community service, although the court is not required to do so.

If you were involved in such a crash, you should retain an experienced traffic ticket defense attorney to discuss the best way to resolve the case. In many of these cases, we will set the case for a hearing to fight for a dismissal of the charge or a finding by the judge that you did not commit the violation. We also represent clients on criminal charges that can result from a traffic homicide investigation in to felony DUI offenses or vehicular manslaughter.

Attorney for Citations with Serious Bodily Injury or Death in Fort Lauderdale, FL

In those cases that do not involving driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs or reckless driving, the case is not a criminal case. In some of the non-criminal cases, the traffic homicide investigator will find that the driver only committed a civil traffic infraction that interfered with other traffic such as:

  • speeding;
  • speeding on the interstate;
  • speeding in a school zone;
  • speeding when construction workers present;
  • careless driving or aggressive careless driving;
  • violation of traffic control device;
  • running a red light;
  • running a stop sign;
  • failure to yield;
  • failure to stop at a traffic signal;
  • improper lane change or course;
  • failure to maintain lane;
  • improper U-turn;
  • violation of right-of-way; or
  • improper passing.

The officer will note on the citation that another person was injured, serious bodily injury occurred, or that a fatality occurred. If a serious bodily injury or fatality occurred then the officer will check the box indicating that the infraction requires a mandatory court appearance.

The attorneys at Meltzer & Bell represent clients who were involved in a crash resulting in death or serious bodily injury in Broward County, FL. We represent clients in a wide range of cases including those that involve no charges of any kind, those involving only only a civil infraction with a mandatory court appearance required, or even criminal charges for DUI manslaughter, Felony DUI with Serious Bodily Injury, Vehicular Homicide, or Leaving the Scene of a Crash.

After a criminal investigation begins into a crash involving a fatality or serious bodily injury, your first call should be to an experienced criminal defense attorney who can protect you during the traffic homicide investigation to make sure your rights are protected. We can also help you deal with your insurance company and the insurance company for anyone else injured in the crash.

Call to speak with an experienced criminal defense attorney at Meltzer & Bell today. Call (754) 755-8554.

Traffic Infractions with a Mandatory Court Appearance

Under Florida Statute Section 318.19, certain types of traffic citations required a mandatory court appearance including:

318.19- Infractions requiring a mandatory hearing.

—Any person cited for the infractions listed in this section shall not have the provisions of s. 318.14(2), (4), and (9) available to him or her but must appear before the designated official at the time and location of the scheduled hearing:

  1. Any infraction which results in a crash that causes the death of another;
  2. Any infraction which results in a crash that causes “serious bodily injury” of another as defined in s. 316.1933(1);
  3. Any infraction of s. 316.172(1)(b);
  4. Any infraction of s. 316.520(1) or (2); or
  5. Any infraction of s. 316.183(2), s. 316.187, or s. 316.189 of exceeding the speed limit by 30 m.p.h. or more.

Only County Court Judges Can Hear Citations that Require a Mandatory Hearing

If the case involves injury or death then a hearing officer doesn’t have jurisdiction to hear the case and it must go before a county court judge. In fact, Florida Statute Section 318.32 provides a limitation on the jurisdiction of hearing officers who are not allowed to hear a case involving a crash resulting in injury or death.

Penalties for a Noncriminal Traffic Infraction under Florida Statute 318.14

Florida Statute Section 318.14 sets out certain special procedures for certain kinds of noncriminal traffic infractions. Under this section, if the citation requires a mandatory court appearance then the person can not elect to attend traffic court to avoid an adjudication of guilt.

If, after a hearing, the county court judge makes a determination that the infraction has been committed and the violation was proven beyond all reasonable doubt then the official may impose a civil penalty of $1,000 in addition to any other penalties and the person’s driver license shall be suspended for 6 months if the crash resulted in a death or three months if the crash resulted in serious bodily injury. In addition to the civil penalty the court can require that the driver attend an advanced driving improvement school.

If the noncriminal infraction has caused or resulted in the death of another, the person who committed the infraction may perform 120 community service hours under s. 316.027(4), in addition to any other penalties. The court is permitted to, but not required to, require the driver to serve 120 community service hours in a trauma center or hospital that regularly receives victims of vehicle accidents, under the supervision of a registered nurse, an emergency room physician, or an emergency medical technician pursuant to a voluntary community service program operated by the trauma center or hospital.

Cases not involving a death or serious bodily injury usually come with a maximum civil penalty not to exceed $500 and/or driving improvement school. Cases involving unlawful speed in a school zone or involving unlawful speed in a construction zone, the civil penalty may not exceed $1,000 and/or driving improvement school.

Of course, if the the official determines that no infraction has been committed, no costs or penalties shall be imposed and any costs or penalties that have been paid shall be returned.

Reinstating Your Driver’s License after a Suspension for a Violation (Not DUI Related) Resulting in Death or Serious Bodily Injury

If you are convicted of a civil or non-criminal traffic infraction that resulted in serious bodily injury or death to another than your driver license will be suspended for 3 months to 1 year. You may apply for a hardship through the Administrative Reviews Office where you live. To reinstate for a hardship license or when time expires, you will need to:

  • submit proof of enrollment in an Advanced Driving Improvement (ADI) school;
  • take a required examination;
  • pay a suspension reinstatement fee; and
  • pay any applicable license fee.

Of course, if the court finds that you did not commit the underlying traffic offense or that the traffic offense was not sufficiently related to the serious bodily injury or death, then you will not suffer the driver’s license suspension or need to worry about getting your driver’s license reinstated.

Attorney for Citations Resulting in Death or Serious Bodily Injury

If you received a traffic citation for a moving violation after a crash involving death or serious bodily injury or death, then contact an experienced criminal defense attorney at Meltzer & Bell. We help our clients at every stage of the traffic homicide investigator whether the investigator takes no action, issues only a civil (non-criminal) traffic citation, or recommends that criminal charges are filed.

Even if only a traffic ticket is issued, if the violation allegedly resulted in death or serious bodily injury, then the citation is serious. First, you will see a county court judge. You are required to appear in court for a mandatory hearing. Enhanced penalties apply including a higher fine and even a driver’s license suspension if you are convicted of the offense.

An attorney can fight to have the citation dismissed so that no conviction occurs. Don’t see the judge alone. Let us put our experience to work for you. Call (754) 755-8554 to talk to an experienced attorney for traffic tickets in Fort Lauderdale, FL, or traffic courts in Deerfield Beach, Hollywood, or Plantation, FL.

This article was last updated on Thursday, September 21, 2017.

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