Recently in Traffic Crimes/Tickets Category

Two sentenced in Jacksonville traffic fatality, one for trying to cover up boyfriend's crime

A Jacksonville man was sentenced to 15 years in prison for the hit-and-run death of a 2-year-old and his girlfriend was sent to jail for a year for her role in trying to hide him and the crime. The small girl was following her sister across an apartment complex parking lot when she was hit by a car, according to a report in the Florida Times-Union. The driver got out of the car and told his girlfriend to drive while he ran away on foot, the newspaper reported. The couple then hid from police and was on the lam for several days before being arrested, the newspaper reported.

The man was charged with leaving the scene of an accident resulting in death and driving on a suspended license. Leaving the scene involving a death is a first-degree felony with a maximum penalty of 30 years in prison, while driving on a suspended license is a third-degree felony punishable by up to five years in state prison. If a driver is involved in an accident and someone is injured, that driver has the legal obligation to call for help, render aid if possible and remain on the scene until police and emergency crews arrive. That did not happen in this Jacksonville Traffic Case, and the driver's alleged history of a dozen citations for driving on a suspended license likely did not help in the sentencing phase of the case.

From a Jacksonville Criminal Defense Attorney perspective, the sentencing of the girlfriend presents an interesting challenge. It's unclear if she knew her boyfriend was not supposed to be driving, but, she was then placed in a situation to make a split-second decision once the accident occurred. She was in all likelihood trying to protect her boyfriend when she drove off, perhaps unaware of her own exposure to charges in this Jacksonville Traffic Case. She was charged with accessory after the fact and tampering with evidence. Accessory after the fact is one degree below the actual crime. So, because the leaving the scene of an accident was a first-degree felony, the accessory charge is a second-degree felony. Second-degree felonies are punishable by up to 15 years in state prison. She was also charged with evidence tampering, a third-degree felony with a maximum sentence of five years in prison, likely for driving the car away from where the accident occurred. So she was facing 20 years in prison and got one year in the county jail. The state likely justified the charge by saying although there was a split-second decision to drive the car away, if the couple was holed up for a few days, there was ample time to come forward and she chose not to do so.

Jacksonville Traffic Cases can be difficult because there generally is not a criminal intent from the beginning, but there is instead something that occurs and then forces a person to make a snap decision on how to handle the incident.

If you or a loved one needs a criminal defense attorney in Jacksonville or the surrounding area, call The Mussallem Law Firm at (904) 365-5200 for a FREE CONSULTATION. Our Jacksonville Traffic Attorney, Victoria "Tori" Mussallem, is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Driver faces civil citation, not criminal charge, in traffic accident that killed Jacksonville man

A man who rear-ended a broken-down car on a Jacksonville bridge, likely causing the stranded driver to be propelled off the bridge and into the water, has been charged with careless driving. The stranded driver was found dead by a fisherman several days after the crash, according to a report in the Florida Times-Union. The driver cited in this Jacksonville Traffic Case was going 65 mph in a 45 mph zone, the newspaper reported, and police said he was driving in a "careless or reckless manner." Police have not said where the victim was standing when his car was struck, the newspaper reported. Careless driving is not a criminal charge, but is instead a traffic citation that results in a fine and points added to a driver's license.

Jacksonville Traffic Cases such as this are extremely difficult when it comes to potential criminal charges. In this case, a criminal charge could be vehicular homicide. According to Florida law, vehicular homicide is the killing of another person "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." In this Jacksonville Traffic Case, the state apparently did not see that the drivers' actions met this standard. When people see a case like this, it's natural to want someone to be punished for something that results in the death of someone else, especially someone who was doing nothing wrong. Especially when, as the newspaper reported in this Jacksonville Traffic Case, when the accused driver has a history or traffic citations and even received another speeding ticket weeks after the crash that killed the Jacksonville man. But the criminal justice system is designed to be based solely on facts - and the need to prove a case to a jury beyond a reasonable doubt.

In Jacksonville Traffic Cases, vehicular homicide is charged when a driver is putting other drivers in harm's way by his or her actions, such as weaving in and out of traffic and speeding excessively. The driver does not even have to be the one whose vehicle physically hit the car where people were killed. That was proven in a Nassau County Traffic Case earlier this year, where a man was convicted of six counts of vehicular homicide for sideswiping a car the led to a chain reaction that killed six people in 2010. Every case has different elements and requires an extensive investigation by the state and police before choosing to file criminal charges in a Jacksonville Traffic Case.

If you or a loved one needs a criminal defense attorney in Jacksonville or the surrounding area, call The Mussallem Law Firm at (904) 365-5200 for a FREE CONSULTATION. Our Jacksonville Traffic Attorney, Victoria "Tori" Mussallem, is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

State corrections officer arrested in Clay County road rage case

A Florida Department of Corrections officer was arrested this month, accused of punching another driver in what police described as a road rage incident. Police said the man got out of his car, walked up to another driver and punched the driver in the face, according to a report in the Florida Times-Union. The alleged victim did not have any visible signs of injury, but did tell police that his chin hurt from the punch, the newspaper reported. The suspect was taken to the Clay County jail and charged with battery. Battery in Clay County is a first degree misdemeanor, punishable by up to one year in the county jail.

There was nothing in the media reports that indicate what the alleged victim in this case did or did not do to warrant that alleged reaction from the defendant. But in most Clay County Battery Cases, there are two sides to every story. A Clay County Battery is a misdemeanor crime in which someone hits or otherwise makes physical contact with someone else during an altercation. A felony battery would be if someone uses a weapon, such as hitting someone with a bat or a bottle, or there is a more serious injury. People often confuse assault and battery in Clay County Misdemeanor Cases and use the two terms interchangeably. They are two completely different crimes.

According to Florida law, an assault is "an intentional, unlawful threat by word or act to do violence to the person of another, coupled with an apparent ability to do so, and doing some act which creates a well-founded fear in such other person that such violence is imminent." In a Clay County Misdemeanor Case, assault is a second-degree misdemeanor, with less severe penalties than a Clay County Battery Case. The maximum penalty for a second-degree misdemeanor is six months in jail. The corrections officer could have more trouble with his employer than with the criminal justice system itself. Employers, especially the state, can have strict penalties on discipline for people when they are arrested. For Clay County Battery charges, there are often programs the state will often agree to that would have the charges dropped if certain conditions are met. In many Clay County Battery Cases, it could be anger management and other courses that a defendant could take, especially if they don't have a prior criminal record. It's unlikely that a corrections officer has a criminal record, so he would likely qualify.

People have a tendency to be at their worst behind the wheel and these Clay County Battery Cases are becoming more and more common. Our Clay County Criminal Defense Attorney has represented hundreds of people charged with misdemeanors and can help try to dispose of the case quickly so you or your loved one can get on with life.

If you or a loved one needs a criminal defense attorney in Jacksonville or the surrounding area, call The Mussallem Law Firm at (904) 365-5200 for a FREE CONSULTATION. Our Clay County Misdemeanor Attorney, Victoria "Tori" Mussallem, is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

St. Johns County teen charged with felony in October crash that severely injured his friend

March 18, 2014

A 17-year-old St. Johns County teen was charged this month in the crash that critically injured his friend and teammate. Charges were filed five months after the near-fatal crash, according to a report on News4Jax. The teen driving was charged with participating in an unlawful race and with reckless driving causing serious injury, the television station reported. The racing charge is a misdemeanor, but the reckless driving count is a third-degree felony with a maximum penalty of five years in state prison. Neither police nor prosecutors have said whether they plan to charge the teen as an adult or as a juvenile.

The crash occurred when the driver lost control of his pickup truck while racing another vehicle, the television station reported. Police said the driver admitted at the scene he was racing and driving faster than 90 mph, the television station reported. A passenger was thrown from the vehicle and suffered severe head trauma in the crash. One complicating factor in the charges is the victim's father saying he was disappointed in the arrest and that the driver and his son are close friends, the television station reported. That adds a layer of difficulty for the state. What could be happening is that prosecutors may know they will be offering probation or another seemingly minor penalty in the case, but felt some charges were necessary because of the admission from the driver at the scene and the severity of the injuries in this St. Johns County Traffic Case.

Ordinarily, careless driving in a St. Johns County Traffic Case is nothing more than a traffic citation that could result in a fine and points on a person's driver's license. But when someone is seriously injured, the case then carries criminal penalties. These St. Johns County Criminal Traffic Cases can be difficult for both sides because, clearly, there was not a criminal intent for the teen to hurt his friend. Cases like these are inherently different from those in which there's a fight or a shooting or some sort of active decision made to intentionally harm someone. That's not the case here, in this St. Johns County Juvenile Case. These are teens making a mistake that ended up having serious consequences, and even the victim's family appears to be against criminal charges. There's no indication that alcohol was a factor in this crash, which will likely be a significant factor in the possibility of a more lenient sentence if the driver is convicted or pleads guilty to the charges.

Our St. Johns County Traffic Attorney knows that many people who find themselves charged in serious traffic charges do not have a lengthy criminal history, nor are they familiar with the system. Our St. Johns County Juvenile Crimes Attorney can explain the charges, the potential penalties and the process to help resolve the case in the best manner possible.

If you or a loved one needs a criminal defense attorney in Jacksonville or the surrounding area, call The Mussallem Law Firm at (904) 365-5200 for a FREE CONSULTATION. Our St. Johns County Juvenile Crimes Attorney, Victoria "Tori" Mussallem, is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Nassau County man sentenced in 2010 vehicular homicide case

February 28, 2014

A Nassau County man who continues to maintain that his actions were not the ones that ultimately killed six people in a 2010 traffic crash will now likely spend the rest of his life in prison. Pedro Ocasio-Alcazar was sentenced this month to 60 years in prison - 10 years for each person who died in the crash, according to a report in the Florida Times-Union. He was facing up to 15 years on each count of vehicular that a jury convicted him of in January.

Police said Ocasio-Alcazar was speeding and weaving in and out of traffic in Nassau County when his car side-swiped a car with six people inside, according to a report in the Florida Times-Union. That car then slid into the median and was hit by an oncoming truck that killed six people - including four children, the newspaper reported. Ocasio-Alcazar argued he wasn't the one who caused the deaths and maintains he should have never been charged. So just how far does a driver's responsibility extend in a Nassau County Traffic Case such as this one?

To charge vehicular homicide, the state must prove a death is "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," according to Florida law. It appears fairly obvious that Ocasio-Alcazar was driving recklessly in this Nassau County Driving Case. But to just what degree appeared to be the issue. Nassau County Traffic Homicide cases present significant challenges to both sides. It's not as cut and dried as a homicide case where there is a gun or knife involved and clearly some action the led to the death of another. No one is arguing that the driver got behind the wheel with the intent to kill six people. And most drivers who end up charged in Nassau County Traffic Homicide cases do not have much experience in the criminal court system. They may have a few traffic tickets, but nothing that comes close to the amount of time they are now facing.

This Nassau County Traffic Case gets more into the blame and fault that one might see in a civil court case - not in a Nassau County Criminal Defense Case. Jurors were essentially asked to speculate and determine if the driver's actions were so egregious that another driver could not be expected to avoid the crash and that the root cause of the deaths was Ocasio-Alcazar. The jurors decided that he was and a judge appeared to agree - issuing what amounts to a life sentence for the 42-year-old defendant. Our Nassau County Traffic Attorney represents drivers cited or charged with the entire range of traffic crimes, from traffic homicides on down to standard speeding tickets.

If you or a loved one needs a criminal defense attorney in Jacksonville or the surrounding area, call The Mussallem Law Firm at (904) 365-5200 for a FREE CONSULTATION. Our Nassau County Traffic Attorney, Victoria "Tori" Mussallem, is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Tickets from red light cameras now for real at several Jacksonville intersections

February 5, 2014

Tickets are now being issued from red-light cameras at three busy Jacksonville intersections, adding to the list of places drivers can be forced to pay fines in these automated Jacksonville Traffic Cases. The cameras have been up for some time, but tickets cannot be issued immediately when the camera are installed, according to a report on News4Jax. Actual tickets can only be issued after the camera has been installed and active for one month. The tickets began on violations at the end of January and carry a $158 fine, according to the news report. Drivers have been receiving warning notices in the mail if they have been caught running the lights at these three intersections, but the fines in these Jacksonville Traffic Cases are what really matter.

Jacksonville Traffic Cases can be expensive, and the real cost comes down the road, when the points assessed to a driver's license start to add up. Red light camera tickets are a little different, and that's why some have criticized the cameras as simply a money grab for the counties that install them. Unlike any other moving violation in a Jacksonville Traffic Case, red light camera tickets do not have points that count against a person's driver license - IF the $158 fine is paid within 30 days. But, in order for a driver to protest a red light camera ticket in a Jacksonville Traffic Case, the driver must let that 30-day window expire for the ticket to become a traditional traffic ticket. By that point, though, the fine has jumped by more than $100 and the driver faces three points on his or her license.

That's a risk counties are likely hoping drivers won't take. They are hoping drivers see the evidence on the photo, figure they can't win, and just write the check for the $158 to move on. Any many probably will, especially because the risk of points can be expensive in the long run. Points can lead to soaring car insurance rates, and could eventually lead to a license suspension. In Florida:

- If a driver has 12 points in one year, his or her license is suspended for 30 days
- If a person gets 18 points in 18 months, a 3-month suspension is issued
- Drivers lose their license for one year for 24 points in a three-year span

Fighting a Jacksonville Traffic Case in court can often lead to points and fines being reduced. But, if drivers are not facing points on a red-light camera tickets, many may not think it's worth it to fight the ticket and bring points into play.

If you or a loved one needs a criminal defense attorney in Jacksonville or the surrounding area, call The Mussallem Law Firm at (904) 365-5200 for a FREE CONSULTATION. Our Duval County Traffic Attorney, Victoria "Tori" Mussallem, is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Man convicted of six counts of vehicular homicide in Nassau County crash

January 21, 2014

A Nassau County man now faces up to 90 years in prison after being convicted of six counts of vehicular homicide this month. Prosecutors said Pedro Ocasio-Alcazar was driving recklessly when he sideswiped a car, starting a reaction that led to the death of six people in 2010, according to a report in the Florida Times-Union. Vehicular homicide is a second-degree felony in Florida, punishable by up to 15 years in prison. Because he was convicted of all six counts, Ocasio-Alcazar, 42, faces up to 90 years in prison when he is sentenced next month.

Ocasio-Alcazar was accused of speeding and driving recklessly on a rural Callahan highway when he sideswiped a car with six people inside, the newspaper reported. The car slid into the median, was hit by a truck and flipped, the newspaper reported. Even though Ocasio-Alcazar's vehicle wasn't the one that hit and eventually killed the driver and five passengers, police and prosecutors deemed he was at fault and charged him with six counts of vehicular homicide. In Nassau County Traffic Cases, vehicular homicide can be charge when a death is "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," according to Florida statutes. That's the key issue in this Nassau County Traffic Case, whether Ocasio-Alcazar was driving recklessly or dangerously enough that he should have known his actions were likely to kill someone. Ocasio-Alcazar disagreed vehemently, taking the stand and saying he wasn't the one who caused the deaths and demanding an apology from the state for even charging him.

Vehicular homicide is a difficult charge for both the state and a Nassau County Criminal Defense Attorney. One on hand, proving the degree of recklessness is difficult, especially because everyone understands that Ocasio-Alcazar did not set out to kill anyone, let alone six people. But from a Nassau County Criminal Defense perspective, it's natural for a jury to want to hold a person accountable when six family members are killed. It likely did not help that Ocasio-Alcazar had a history of traffic tickets and license suspensions, which likely swayed the jury in the direction that he should have known better. Drivers in these cases are typically not hardened criminals who have been through the system before, and are generally facing a lengthy prison sentence for the first time in their lives. Our Nassau County Traffic Attorney defends all types of traffic offenses, from moving violations on up to vehicular homicide.

If you or a loved one needs a criminal defense attorney in Jacksonville or the surrounding area, call The Mussallem Law Firm at (904) 365-5200 for a FREE CONSULTATION. Our Nassau County Criminal Defense Attorney, Victoria "Tori" Mussallem, is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Woman ticketed for automobile accident that injured Jacksonville police officer

January 3, 2014

A Jacksonville woman was ticketed for careless driving after driving into a police cruiser on Christmas Eve. The police officer had just passed through a green light when the driver drove her minivan into the officer's driver's side door, according to a report in the Florida Times-Union. The officer was hospitalized with neck and shoulder pain, though the injuries did not appear to be life-threatening, according to the newspaper report.

The driver was given a ticket for careless driving in this Jacksonville Traffic Case, the newspaper reported. Traffic violations can be expensive, in both the sort and long term, and punishment is broken down in two ways: fines and points. While the fines have an immediate financial impact, the points can end up being more critical. First, the points from a Jacksonville Traffic Case are reported to your insurance company, which may allow the company to charge you more for insurance. Secondly, the points add up and can result in your license being suspended. For example:

 12 points in one year leads to a 30-day license suspension
 18 points in 18 months equals a three-month suspension
 24 points in a three-year period will result in losing your license for a full year

Different traffic violations carry different point penalties and the maximum in Jacksonville Traffic Cases is 6 points - the penalty for either leaving the scene of an accident or unlawful speed resulting in an accident. Any other moving violation that results in an accident, such as this Christmas Eve accident with the police cruiser, carries a 4-point penalty. The majority of Jacksonville Traffic Cases have point penalties of either 3 or 4 points. But that means three or four tickets in a year could result in a license suspension.
If you simply pay the ticket and the fine, you are essentially pleading guilty and accepting the points on your license. There are other options, including attending traffic school if you qualify, which would eliminate the points from that ticket. Completing traffic school also means your insurance rates cannot go up and your insurance company is barred from dropping your coverage. In some cases, a Jacksonville Traffic Attorney can appear in traffic court for you and end up getting the points or the fine reduced. Simply paying the ticket and moving on may seem like the best and easiest option, but it could have long-term consequences you may not be aware of.

If you or a loved one needs a criminal defense attorney in Jacksonville or the surrounding area, call The Mussallem Law Firm at (904) 365-5200 for a FREE CONSULTATION. Our Jacksonville Traffic Attorney, Victoria "Tori" Mussallem, is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Man sentenced to eight years in prison for road rage killing

December 30, 2013

A Gainesville man who shot into a car killing the driver and missing a young child was sentenced to eight years in prison. Brad Lippincott pleaded guilty to manslaughter and discharging a firearm from a vehicle, according to a report by News4Jax. Manslaughter is a first degree felony with a maximum penalty of 30 years in prison and shooting a firearm from a vehicle is a second-degree felony punishable by up to 15 years in prison. As part of the plea agreement, the state dropped a charge of shooting or throwing deadly missiles, another second-degree felony, so Lippincott had been looking at a total of up to 60 years in prison on the Jacksonville Gun Crimes charges. Lippincott and another man got into an argument during a traffic incident and Lippincott fired seven times into the car that a 33-year-old man was driving with his 8-year-old daughter in the car, the television station reported. Lippincott's criminal defense attorney had argued he was in fear for his life and shot in self-defense, but police said the victim was driving away when Lippincott fired, the television station reported.

Jacksonville Gun Crimes have serious implications, and this Jacksonville Road Rage Case shows how quickly things can escalate and how lives can change in an instant. Lippincott, 31, did not have a criminal record before this incident, but could have been looking at spending the rest of his of his life in prison. The sentence seems to indicate that both parties were involved in the escalation of the fight, though there is no indication that the victim fired a weapon in this Jacksonville Gun Crimes case. Had prosecutors chosen to do so, they could have even filed a minimum mandatory sentence under Florida's 10-20-Life law that could have exposed Lippincott to life in prison because he used a firearm and shot another person. But, if the state charged it that way, the case would have likely gone to trial because if a defendant is looking at a life sentence for even entering a plea, he or she is usually far more likely to go to trial because there's nothing to lose. Most Jacksonville Guns Crimes cases do carry minimum mandatory sentences and, more often than not, prosecutors are reluctant to waive them. This Jacksonville Guns Crimes Case is more the exception than the rule, but our Jacksonville Criminal Defense Attorney examines every case individually and will thoroughly investigate the charge against you or your loved one to help you decide what to do going forward.

If you or a loved one needs a criminal defense attorney in Jacksonville or the surrounding area, call The Mussallem Law Firm at (904) 365-5200 for a FREE CONSULTATION. Our Jacksonville Gun Crimes Attorney, Victoria "Tori" Mussallem, is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Jacksonville driver charged with felony for her role in fatal crash

December 27, 2013

Six months after a fatal wreck on Jacksonville's Westside, the at-fault driver was arrested and charged with vehicular homicide. Tamara Miller was arrested this month after police said she was weaving in and out of traffic, driving more than 30 mph over the speed limit and ran a red light leading to the fatal crash, according to a report in the Florida Times-Union. Miller is charged with vehicular homicide, a second-degree felony punishable by up to 15 years in state prison.

Witness told police they saw Miller veer into a turn lane to go around stopped traffic and then go through a red light and slam into the victim's car about 8:30 a.m. on a June morning, the newspaper reported. It is not uncommon for vehicular homicide investigations to take this long in Jacksonville Traffic Cases such as this one. Vehicular homicide can be difficult for the state to prove and is not simply the default charge in a traffic accident that results in a death. For someone to be convicted of vehicular homicide in a Jacksonville Traffic Case, a death must be "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," according to Florida Statutes.

Police told the newspaper that part of the reason for the delay in charges was the wait for investigators to be able to determine the speed at which Miller was driving at the time of the crash. That can be determined by the impact of the crash and other factors, but calculations and other testing is needed so the results are not immediately available. The investigation found Miller was traveling 76 mph on a road with a 45 mph speed limit, which will likely be a key for the state in this Jacksonville Traffic Case. Delays in charges are also common while the state waits for results of toxicology tests that would determine if the driver had any drugs or alcohol in his or her system. In this Jacksonville Traffic Case, police said there was alcohol in Miller's system, but not enough to render her legally impaired. While that detail is something police might want to release to the media, it is something a Jacksonville Criminal Defense Attorney would likely seek to have excluded from a trial, arguing that the amount of alcohol is less that legal limits and it not relevant in this Jacksonville Driving Case.

Very few Jacksonville Traffic Cases end up in vehicular homicide charges, but when the state deems reckless driving results in injuries or death, there can be very serious consequences. In many cases, these are the first serious criminal charges a person has faced though many, like Miller in this case, have a history of traffic violations.

If you or a loved one needs a criminal defense attorney in Jacksonville or the surrounding area, call The Mussallem Law Firm at (904) 365-5200 for a FREE CONSULTATION. Our Duval County Traffic Attorney, Victoria "Tori" Mussallem, is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Couple says car shown in running light in Jacksonville red-light camera case is not theirs

August 14, 2013

A woman whose license plate number is exactly the same as one on a car shown running a red light in Jacksonville will have to go to court to profess her innocence - and try to avoid a hefty fine. The Putnam County woman received a ticket in the mail that shows a car with the same license plate information as hers clearly making a left turn on a red light at a Jacksonville intersection, according to a report on News4Jax. But that car is a light-colored sedan, not even close to the orange Dodge Charger she owns and says is registered to that license plate, the television station reported. Now, the woman is going to have to head to court, show the evidence and state her case - in hopes of having this Jacksonville Traffic Case dismissed.

The burden should not be on her to prove her innocence in this Jacksonville Traffic Case. But that is precisely what red light cameras have done in Jacksonville Traffic Cases, shifted the burden from innocent until proven guilty to the state essentially forcing drivers to show the photographs are wrong. The notices and photos arrive in the mail and the message appears clear: Prove it's not you or pay the fine. The red light cameras appear to be headed for legal battles, as they have in other cities and states that have implemented this. The cameras are often credited for reducing the number of crashes at intersections because people, in theory, pay more attention to running a red light when they know there's a likelihood of punishment if they go through the red light. But, make no mistake, these red light cameras are also a cash cow for local governments. They can generate hundreds of tickets at a fraction of the cost of an officer sitting in his or her patrol car at an intersection individually pulling people over who drive through a red light.

And the cost of a Jacksonville Traffic Case can be more than the $150 or so listed on the ticket. If you do not pay the fine in a certain amount of time, a month, the fine can double.
The legal challenges on red light cameras in Jacksonville Traffic Cases will be interesting to watch. Our Jacksonville Traffic Attorney is keeping a close eye on the early cases using these cameras and can help determine if the case of you or your loved one is worth fighting in court.

If you or a loved one needs a criminal defense attorney in Jacksonville or the surrounding area, call The Mussallem Law Firm at (904) 365-5200 for a FREE CONSULTATION. Our Jacksonville Traffic Attorney, Victoria "Tori" Mussallem, is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Police arrest suspect one year after racing caused fatal crash on Jacksonville bridge

March 27, 2013

A Jacksonville man is now charged with vehicular homicide and leaving the scene of an accident causing death after police determined he was the driver in a fatal wreck a year ago. Police linked Robert Sparrow's DNA to the blood found on the deployed airbag in the car that was abandoned on top of the Mathews Bridge, according to a report in the Florida Times-Union. Sparrow now faces up to 20 years in prison. Vehicular homicide in Jacksonville is a second-degree felony, punishable by up to 15 years in prison. Leaving the scene of an accident causing death is a third-degree felony with a maximum sentence of five years in prison.

Police said two Chevrolet Impalas were speeding and weaving in and out of traffic on the bridge in March 2012, the newspaper reported. The second Impala then hit two cars - one in the side and one from behind. The driver of the car, who police now say is Sparrow, allegedly got out of his car, talked to one of the victims, and then got in the second Impala, which fled the scene. The driver of the car who was hit from behind died a week after the crash. Several hours after the crash, Sparrow reported the car stolen, the newspaper reported, and an analysis of the airbag showed the car Sparrow is accused of driving was going 82 mph seconds before the crash. By leaving the scene of the accident in Florida, Sparrow now faces an extra five years he would not have been facing. On the other side of that coin, however, if Sparrow was intoxicated or had drugs on him at the time, there's no evidence of that now since it's been a year since the accident.

Assuming the state can prove this Jacksonville Traffic Case, the circumstances aren't likely to help Sparrow in an eventual sentencing. If a driver in Florida is involved in a traffic accident, he or she has the responsibility to see if anyone is injured and, if they are, either call for help or administer some sort of medical aid to the person. Sparrow is accused of getting out of the car, talking to someone and taking off. It's unclear whether Sparrow knew someone was injured, but when there's a crash at speeds that high, it's probably safe to assume someone was hurt. Prosecutors will also argue that because of media coverage of the crash, Sparrow had to know someone was killed and did nothing to turn himself in. His only contact with police was to report the car stolen, which the state will likely point to as means to cover up his involvement. While any defendant, including Sparrow, is entitled to a trial specifically on the facts of the case alone in this Jacksonville Traffic Case, judges often take a broader look when determining a sentence. Remorse often plays a big role and, in some cases, a person's actions after the crime can have more effect on a sentence that the crime itself.

If you or a loved one needs a criminal defense attorney in Jacksonville or the surrounding area, call The Mussallem Law Firm at (904) 365-5200 for a FREE CONSULTATION. Our Duval County Traffic Crimes Attorney, Victoria "Tori" Mussallem, is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Jacksonville police officer deemed at fault for traffic crash that injured three people

March 13, 2013

A Jacksonville police officer will appear before an internal police review board to face possible discipline for running a stop sign and causing an accident that injured three people. The officer also suffered minor injuries, but was not hospitalized following the crash last week, according to a report in the Florida Times-Union. The injuries to the three people were not thought to be life-threatening, the newspaper reported. The officer was in his patrol car and on-duty, but not responding to a call at the time, and would be considered at-fault for running the stop sign, according to the newspaper report. Not only will the officer face work-related discipline, he or she could also be exposed to a traffic ticket for running the stop sign, perhaps even a careless or reckless driving ticket in Jacksonville.

Traffic violations can quickly get very costly and drive up other costs, including auto insurance rates. And by simply paying the ticket and moving on from a Jacksonville Traffic Case, a person is admitting guilt and accepting the penalties. Just a few tickets in a short period of time can result in a person having their license suspended and driving privileges taken away. Duval County Traffic violations are scored on a point system, depending on the ticket that is issued. Speeding tickets have a wide range of points, based on how far over the speed limit the ticket is written for. A reckless driving ticket will assess you four points, while leaving the scene of an accident can cost a driver six points. As the points accumulate, they can add up to big trouble, including:

12 points in a year: 30-day license suspension
18 points in 18 months: 3-month suspension
24 points in three years: 1-year suspension

When penalties ratchet up as quickly as they do in traffic cases, saving yourself a few points here and there can be the difference in keeping your license or having it suspended. Just like in a Jacksonville Criminal Defense case, having a Jacksonville Traffic Attorney can in some cases help minimize some of the potential damage to your driving record and your bank account. In a city as large and spread out as Jacksonville, the inability to drive can affect one's ability to make it to and from work, which can then really hit someone's finances. In some cases, people will end up driving anyway on a suspended license, which will escalate problems even further if the driver is caught. Driving when your license has been suspended or revoked is a criminal charge, which then exposes people to time in the county jail.

If you or a loved one needs a Jacksonville Traffic Attorney in Duval County or the surrounding area, call The Mussallem Law Firm at (904) 365-5200 for a FREE CONSULTATION. Our Duval County Traffic Attorney, Victoria "Tori" Mussallem, is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Florida Highway Patrol hunts drivers in Operation Checkered Flag

The Florida Highway Patrol spent one day last week cracking down on speeders and aggressive drivers along Interstate 95 in Northeast Florida. The FHP dubbed it Operation Checkered Flag and camped out primarily in Duval County, Nassau County and St. Johns County, according to News4Jax.com. Officers handed out more than 300 Jacksonville traffic citations - 189 of which were speed-related. Further statistics were not published but our Jacksonville Traffic Citation Attorney is pretty confident there also some Duval County arrests made and tickets issued for other violations - including Jacksonville Possession of Marijuana or other narcotics, Duval County Driving with a Suspended License, even a Jacksonville DUI (despite the hours of the operation being between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m.). Duval County Traffic Stops are often the gateway to further criminal charges. Police officers will often use a traffic stop as a way to see if there are other potential issues, for example if the driver smells like he or she has been driving, or if it appears the driver or passenger are using drugs.

If an officer asks to search your vehicle, you do not have to let them - you have the right to say no. Many people feel like they don't have a choice, particularly because they don't want to say no to a police officer who can make their life difficult. That is not the case. But even if all of the cases during Operation Checkered Flag were simply Duval County traffic violations - likely for speeding - they can still be problematic if you're the one who ends up pulled over along the highway. Jacksonville Traffic Violations can be expensive, can drive up your car insurance rates and even lead to a license suspension if the violations mount up.

Jacksonville Traffic Tickets are scored on a points system, which speeding tickets carry a vary of different levels based on how fast a person is going, whether it is in a school or construction zone and host of other factors. Reckless driving is four points and leaving the scene of an accident is six points. Accumulating points can result in the following penalties:

12 points in a year: 30-day license suspension
18 points in 18 months: 3-month suspension
24 points in three years: 1-year suspension

If you simply send in a check to pay your fine, you are admitting guilt and accepting all of the penalties that come with the ticket - including the points on your driver's license, which are then reported to your insurance company. Our Jacksonville Traffic Attorney can take your ticket before a magistrate with the possibility of having the points waived or reduced.

Our Jacksonville Traffic Attorney has represented thousands of clients on Duval County traffic charges and knows how important a driver's license is for people - especially when they need to get to and from work, shuttle kids around town or whatever the case may be. If you or a loved one needs a traffic attorney in Jacksonville or the surrounding area, call The Mussallem Law Firm at (904) 365-5200 for a free consultation. Our Duval County Traffic Attorney is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.


Jacksonville police issue more traffic warnings, give fewer tickets

February 27, 2012

The Jacksonville Sheriff's Office has shifted some of its traffic enforcement priorities, giving drivers more warnings instead of tickets that come with hefty fines and penalties.
The department more than doubled its warning tickets in 2011 to almost 40,000, according to a report in the Florida Times-Union. At the same time, traffic tickets issued dropped 13 percent. Sheriff John Rutherford, according to the newspaper report, told officers the job of the police is to educate the public and make the roads safer - not necessarily to hand out a ticket every time a driver is stopped. It will be interesting to see how this plays out when drivers contest tickets. Judges may assume, if this policy gets more attention and continues, that if the officer didn't just give a warning, the driver must be doing something really terrible.

That wouldn't necessarily be the case, but it could hurt a driver's chances of reducing the penalties - especially if the person tried to contest it alone. Traffic violations are scored on a point system. Speeding tickets carry a variety of points. Reckless driving is 4 points. Leaving the scene of an accident is 6 points. As the points build, they can add up to big trouble:

12 points in a year: 30-day license suspension
18 points in 18 months: 3-month suspension
24 points in three years: 1-year suspension

Many drivers do not know that if they simply pay the ticket, that is admitting guilt and the penalties start piling up from there. When people think about times they'd need an attorney, a traffic ticket is pretty low on the list. It shouldn't be. Our Jacksonville traffic violations attorney will look at the traffic citation and work to see if there is a way to reduce the penalties. Traffic tickets can have high-dollar consequences and can sending car insurance rates skyward. If the points get out of control, drivers can get their license suspended, which affects their ability to get to work, pay off the tickets, etc.

If you or a loved one needs a traffic violations attorney in Jacksonville or the surrounding area, call The Mussallem Law Firm, PA at (904) 365-5200 for a free consultation. Our Duval County criminal lawyer is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.