Articles Posted in Traffic Crimes/Tickets

A tip from an anonymous party has led to the arrest of a St. Johns County woman for a hit and run crash injuring a St. Johns County officer. According to a report on news4jax.com, early on the morning of New Year’s Day, the police car was hit from behind. The at-fault driver allegedly then fled the scene. After a day of searching, police receive a tip from a non-identified person that leads them to a car matching the description of the offending vehicle. The car had damage consistent with the crash and was actually located on a tow truck leaving the home of the suspect. The suspect allegedly admitted to driving the night of the crash.

The suspect will likely be charged with Leaving the Scene of an Accident which results in injury to a person “other than serious bodily injury”. Police reported that the victim officer had minor injuries. When someone is arrested for this St. Johns County driving crime, it is a felony of the third degree punishable by up to five years in prison. Injuries sustained from a hit and run are considered “serious” if the injury creates the substantial risk of death, disfigurement or impairment of the function of a body part or organ. If convicted of a serious bodily injury leaving the scene of an accident, an offender faces up to fifteen years in prison because the charge is a second degree felony. Obviously, the most serious hit and run cases involve leaving the scene that results in a death. Under Florida law, if the crash results in the death of a person, all drivers have to stop immediately and render any aid they can. If convicted of leaving an accident involving death, a driver faces up to thirty years in prison because it is a first degree felony. This driving charge also carries a four year minimum term of imprisonment. This means a suspect must serve four years day for day, minimum.

While it is still early, the suspect in this case will certainly be under increased scrutiny because the victim of the crash is a police officer. At a minimum, if convicted, she will be required to make restitution to the victim for any damage or loss. Also, she faces a mandatory three year driver’s license revocation. Before her license can be reinstated, if convicted, she must have completed the Victim’s Impact Panel, which is a presentation put on by Mother’s Against Drunk Driving.

No charges will be filed in what police initially described as a fatal hit-and-run crash that killed a Jacksonville woman in October.  The woman was hit by the back of a tractor-trailer and then dragged down the road as the driver left a Jacksonville parking lot, according to a report in the Florida Times-Union. Police were looking for the driver and a private organization had offered $3,000 for anyone who had information on the driver, the newspaper reported. Police eventually tracked him down and interviewed him about the incident, the newspaper reported. The investigation revealed that the driver did not know he hit the woman and the state opted not to file any criminal charges against the driver, the newspaper reported.

Florida law requires that if a person is seriously injured in a traffic crash the driver must remain on the scene, contact authorities and “shall render to any person injured in the crash reasonable assistance, including the carrying, or the making of arrangements for the carrying, of such person to a physician, surgeon, or hospital for medical or surgical treatment if it is apparent that treatment is necessary, or if such carrying is requested by the injured person.” Had charges been pursued in this Jacksonville Traffic Case, they would have likely been leaving the scene of an accident causing death. That charge is a first-degree felony with a maximum penalty of 30 years in state prison. It also carries a minimum mandatory sentence of four years in state prison.

However, in order to be able to stop the vehicle and render aid, the driver must know that someone was injured or hit by the vehicle. In this Jacksonville Traffic Case, which occurred around 6 a.m. when it was still dark outside, investigators determined the driver did not know. The woman was killed was walking her dog that morning, and tests show she had a blood-alcohol level nearly three times the legal limit and had cocaine in her system at the time of the crash, the newspaper reported.

Police are looking for two drivers accused of racing each other down Interstate 95, causing one wreck that touched off several more – including one that killed an elderly man and critically injured his wife.  The series of accidents allegedly began when two cars were weaving in and out of traffic, which caused a small Honda to go off the road and hit a guardrail, according to a report in the Florida Times-Union. Ten minutes later, a pickup truck slowing down for the stopped traffic was rear-ended by another pickup truck, though there were only minor injuries, the newspaper reported. Shortly thereafter, the elderly driver was slowing down behind a tractor trailer when another driver slammed into his SUV, causing the SUV to spin and smash into the back of the tractor-trailer, the newspaper reported.

The drivers would not have to be directly involved in the one fatal crash to be charged with a crime in this St. Johns County Traffic Case, but the state would have to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the drivers’ negligence triggered a string of crashes that ultimately led to the death of the victim. According to Florida law, vehicular homicide is “the killing of a human being, or the killing of an unborn child by any injury to the mother, caused by the operation of a motor vehicle by another in a reckless manner likely to cause the death of, or great bodily harm to, another.” Last year, a Nassau County jury found a man guilty of six counts of vehicular homicide for sideswiping a car that touched off a chain of accidents that killed six people, so there is a history of drivers being convicted even though he or she might not have been directly involved in the ultimate fatal crash.

In most St. Johns County Traffic Cases, vehicular homicide is a second-degree felony with a maximum penalty of up to 15 years in state prison. However, in this case, because the driver is accused of leaving the scene of the accident and not stopping to render aid, the charge would be elevated to a first-degree felony, which would bring the penalty up to 30 years in state prison. These serious felony charges may not even come in this St. Johns County Traffic Case – plenty depends on police finding the drivers and then being able to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that any reckless driving was directly connected to the fatal crash.

A Clay County man was arrested on several traffic violations for a May crash that killed a two people in Clay County.  The defendant is accused of running a red light and crashing into a car with an elderly couple in it, according to a report in the Florida Times-Union. Both people inside the other car were killed, the newspaper reported. The driver is charged with driving on a suspended license, a second-degree misdemeanor. The charge has a maximum penalty of up to six months in county jail. He was also cited for running a red light and driving without valid insurance. Neither of those is criminal charges, but is simply a traffic ticket.

In Clay County Traffic Cases where people are killed, there are certainly more serious charges that could apply. Primarily, there is vehicular homicide. However, Florida law defines vehicular homicide as “the killing of a human being, or the killing of an unborn child by any injury to the mother, caused by the operation of a motor vehicle by another in a reckless manner likely to cause the death of, or great bodily harm to, another.” During the investigation in the four months following the crash, investigators must have determined that while the driver did run a red light, he was not driving in a manner that was so reckless it was likely to hurt someone. Even though the crash occurred at noon, police likely also ran toxicology tests. Those generally take about four to six months and, in all likelihood based on the charges, came back negative.

The defendant still could receive minimal jail time for the charge of driving on a suspended license. While criminal charges are certainly important, there are also likely many things at play for a potential civil case. The standard of being negligent in a civil case is far less strict that the “beyond a reasonable doubt” needed to prove a criminal case. That could be a reason why the defendant may choose to contest the red light traffic ticket. When someone simply pays a traffic ticket, they are admitting guilt. That can be detrimental in a civil case because it shows a person admitted to being at fault. It can also hurt in a standard Clay County Traffic Case even when someone is not hurt or killed. By paying the ticket, a driver will be assessed points, which can add up quickly and could eventually result in a driver’s license being suspended or revoked.  Our Clay County Traffic Attorney represents people accused of all types of traffic violations – from speeding tickets on up to vehicular homicide.

Jacksonville police are investigating a recent crash as a hit-and-run after a pedestrian was killed on the Arlington Expressway.  Police said the pedestrian was killed in the early morning hours, but did not release any information about the person, according to a report on First Coast News. Police said they did not have any information about the car involved in the crash, but they are investigating the case as a hit-and-run, the television station reported. The area near the crash does not have any marked crosswalks, the television station reported. It is possible that a driver could be involved in a fatal crash but not be charged or even ticketed – if there was nothing he or she could do to avoid the crash.

But, even if a driver is not at fault in a Jacksonville Traffic Case, he or she brings serious felony charges into play by not stopping and attempting to render aid. State law requires drivers to stop when they are involved in any type of traffic crash, call police and wait for authorities to arrive on the scene. If a person is injured, the driver, “shall render to any person injured in the crash reasonable assistance, including the carrying, or the making of arrangements for the carrying, of such person to a physician, surgeon, or hospital for medical or surgical treatment if it is apparent that treatment is necessary, or if such carrying is requested by the injured person,” according to Florida law.

Leaving the scene of an accident causing death, which would be the most likely charge in this Jacksonville Traffic Case, is a first-degree felony punishable by up to 30 years in state prison. Even more important, if a person is convicted or pleads guilty to this Jacksonville Felony Charge, a minimum mandatory sentence of four years in state prison applies. So if a jury finds the defendant guilty, the judge could not give a sentence of less than four years, even if he or she wanted to. And a minimum mandatory sentence also means the defendant must serve every single day of the four years – as opposed to the 85 percent of the sentence most people serve, provided they stay out of trouble behind bars. One moment of panic that leads a person to drive off can have serious consequences in a Jacksonville Traffic Case.  Our Jacksonville Traffic Attorney represents people on minor traffic infractions on up to first-degree felonies.

The decision to leave the scene of a fatal accident was very costly for a St. Johns County man, a judge reminded him during a sentencing hearing this month.  But the man will spend nine months in the county jail, far less than the 30-year maximum sentence of the crime he was originally charged with, according to a report in the Florida Times-Union. The man was driving down A1A one evening in July 2014 when a man stepped into the road and was hit and killed by the driver, the newspaper reported. But, instead of staying at the scene of the accident and calling police, as is required by law, the 25-year-old driver took off. Police found him at his home and arrested him, the newspaper reported.

He was initially charged with leaving the scene of an accident causing death, a first-degree felony with a maximum penalty of up to 30 years in state prison. Instead, the state allowed the driver to plead guilty to leaving the scene of an accident causing serious injury – a second-degree felony with a maximum sentence of 15 years in state prison. Part of the reason for the downgrade is charge is likely because the first-degree felony carries a minimum mandatory charge of four years in prison, which is far more than the man was eventually sentenced to.

According to state law, if a driver is involved in an accident, he or she must stop the vehicle, call the police and provide driver’s license and insurance information to other people involved. In St. Johns County Traffic Cases where a person is seriously injured, the driver “shall render to any person injured in the crash reasonable assistance, including the carrying, or the making of arrangements for the carrying, of such person to a physician, surgeon, or hospital for medical or surgical treatment if it is apparent that treatment is necessary, or if such carrying is requested by the injured person.”  In this St. Johns County Felony Case, the driver panicked and left. In many St. Johns County Hit-and-Run cases, the driver is under the influence of drugs or alcohol and leaves the scene to avoid those charges. But that was not the case here, the driver just made a bad decision. The pedestrian was hospitalized and died the next day. The defendant was asking for probation in this case and the state sought a year in county jail – the maximum the man could receive without being sent to state prison.

State and local police say they’ll be out in full force on a well-travelled Clay County highway after a string of serious accidents in recent weeks.  Patrol officers and others are out along the highway, checking speeds and watching for drivers who run red lights in the area, according to a report on News4Jax.com. While nothing has been reported yet in the local news media, expect a news release in the upcoming weeks about the number of violations and tickets issued in the area due to the increased patrols.

Police can’t be everywhere and by no means can they prevent every traffic accident that may occur. But the presence of police officers will undoubtedly make drivers slow down. How many times have you seen a string of brake lights on the highway, only to see a highway patrol officer in the median a few hundred yards up? If drivers do not feel there are consequences for exceeding the speed limit, they likely will.  And while Clay County Traffic Violations are far less serious than misdemeanor and felony crimes, they can have a major financial impact on drivers. On top of the financial considerations, drivers can also lose their license if they continue to get caught speeding or of other moving violations. In Florida, traffic tickets are scored on a point system. When those points accumulate, they can have serious consequences for drivers.

While speeding tickets have varying point levels based on how much the driver exceeds the speed limit, many other common violations are worth 3 points. Reckless driving carries a 4-point penalty and a person caught leaving the scene of an accident faces 6 points. When the points add up they can lead to:

The 16-year-old driver has been charged as an adult for his role in the high-speed crash that killed his 15-year-old friend. The state this month filed charges in the August crash, according to a report in the Florida Times-Union. Three teens were in the car and the driver had rear-ended a car on Jacksonville’s Westside, the newspaper reported. The driver then sped off and, less than a mile later, crashed the car into a utility pole, the newspaper reported. One passenger was killed and the driver and third passenger were both seriously injured in the crash.

The driver is now charged as an adult in this Jacksonville Traffic Case with vehicular homicide, among a handful of serious charges. Vehicular homicide is a second-degree felony with a maximum sentence of 15 years in state prison. The boy is also facing other felony charges that include driving without a license causing death and driving without a license causing serious bodily injury. The boy is facing more than two decades behind bars and the main issue in this Jacksonville Felony Case is whether the case will ultimately be handled in juvenile court or in adult court.

The juvenile court system is designed to address crimes involving youth, with an eye on rehabilitation and not having lifelong criminal records for youthful mistakes. However, in serious felony cases, the state has the ability to “direct file” cases. That means the cases bypass juvenile court and are treated as is the defendant was 60, not 16. That was the procedure followed in this Jacksonville Juvenile Crimes Case. The newspaper reported the teens were skipping school when the crash occurred, but there was no information released on if the driver has a previous criminal record. That piece of information would likely play a large role in the decision to direct file. If, for example, a teen has had several chances and continues to get into trouble, the state may direct file in a Jacksonville Juvenile Crimes Case to prove a point.

St. Johns County police have located the vehicle they think was involved in a hit-and-run crash that killed a cyclist last month. Police said they received a tip that the vehicle was under a tarp at a home in St. Johns County, according to a report on News4Jax.com. Police are not releasing the type of vehicle, but did say initial investigations make them confident this vehicle was involved, the television station reported. The case began when a 26-year-old man was found dead in a local road near a bicycle that looked like it was hit by a car, the television station reported.

No arrests have been made in this St. Johns County Traffic Case. The television station reported that police interviewed people at the home where the vehicle was found, but did not file any immediate charges. Any criminal charges would be for the driver, which means police need to be sure they have the right person who was driving the car at the time of the accident. When charges are issued, the most serious will likely be leaving the scene of an accident causing death. If a driver is involved in a crash where someone is seriously injured, the driver is required by law to stop the vehicle, attempt to render aid, call 911 for help and stay at the scene of the accident until authorities arrive. None of those appears to have happened in this St. Johns County Felony Case. The charge of leaving the scene of an accident causing death is a first-degree felony with a maximum penalty of 30 years in state prison. The charge also carries a minimum mandatory sentence of four years in state prison. Minimum mandatory sentences are important for people to understand in plea negotiations because every day of the sentence must be served. In most St. Johns County Felony Cases, defendants serve 85 percent of their sentence if they stay out of trouble in jail or prison. So a 10-year-sentence, for example, is more like 8-1/2 years.

A similar charge – including the minimum mandatory sentence – would apply if the driver was under the influence of alcohol or drugs at the time of the crash. That charge becomes difficult to prove if the driver is not located immediately after the crash. Drivers has serious responsibilities to stop when an accident occurs and people who have no previous criminal record can face lengthy prison sentences for not following the traffic rules. Our St. Johns County Felony attorney has represented people facing all types of criminal charges and will fully investigate your case, review your options and provide you with information to make the best decision going forward.

Police arrested a Jacksonville man four months after he was allegedly involved in a hit-and-run accident that killed a pedestrian. The 22-year-old driver initially said he thought he hit a mailbox on New Berlin Road about 9:45 p.m. one May evening, according to a report in the Florida Times-Union. The driver did not stop at the time of the crash, but did call his insurance company the next morning to file a claim about hitting the mailbox, the newspaper reported. The driver then hired a Jacksonville Criminal Defense Attorney the following day after hearing about the death in media reports.

The driver was charged with failure to leave information at the scene of an accident. That Jacksonville Traffic Charge is a second-degree misdemeanor with a maximum penalty of six months in the county jail. Given the circumstances and that the crash caused a death, there is a significant possibility that more charges will be filed in this Jacksonville Traffic Case, and that this arrest is just the beginning. According to Florida law, “The driver of a vehicle involved in a crash occurring on public or private property which results in injury to a person other than serious bodily injury shall immediately stop the vehicle at the scene of the crash, or as close thereto as possible, and shall remain at the scene of the crash until he or she has fulfilled the requirements of s. 316.062.” Those requirements include reporting the accident to police, leaving insurance and driver’s license information. Those apply even if the driver thought he had only hit a mailbox.

Leaving the scene of an accident involving property damage is a second-degree misdemeanor, with a maximum penalty of six months in county jail – just like the charge the driver is currently facing. However, leaving the scene of an accident causing serious bodily injury or death is a third-degree felony, and when someone pleads guilty to or is convicted of this crime, he or she is looking at up to five years in state prison. The gravity of charges and potential sentences increase dramatically when serious injuries or death are involved. Police know they have the correct car because DNA results match, according to the newspaper report. In Jacksonville Traffic Cases, requirements such as what must be done when you are in an accident and part of the agreement of having a driver’s license. In other words, to have a driver’s license, you agree to do certain things, including stopping when there is an accident. Failure to do so can result in charges and a claim of not knowing you were supposed to stop is not likely to be a successful defense. This Jacksonville Traffic Case will be one to keep an eye on to see if further charges are eventually filed.