Articles Posted in Traffic Crimes/Tickets

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 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.

Police ticketed a driver who hit accidentally hit an officer with her truck while dropping students off at a Clay County school. The driver allegedly stopped in a turn lane to drop two students off at Oakleaf High School, and then drove back toward to school entrance where the officer was directing traffic, according to a report in the Florida Times-Union. The officer then fell to the ground when he was hit in the legs by the rear drivers-side of the truck, the newspaper reported. The officer had a reflective vest on and the lights on his patrol car were flashing at the time of the 7 a.m. accident, the newspaper reported. The officer was evaluated by a doctor but did not need to be hospitalized.

The 18-year-old driver was given a ticket for careless driving and a separate citation for not having proof of insurance. In Clay County Traffic Cases, moving violations each carry a different amount of points that can be assessed to a driver’s record. Those points then accumulate and can result in severe penalties, such as a suspended driver’s license. This case is a prime example of how those points can escalate based on the result of the violation. Ordinarily, careless driving would have 3 points assessed to a driver’s license. Three points is the most common punishment in Clay County Traffic Cases, along with the fines and court costs that come with any ticket. However, according to Florida Law, any moving violation that results in an accident is a 4-point violation.

That one point can be significant for a driver with a pattern of tickets. The point accumulation that leads to license suspension is as follows:

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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:

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.

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