man in car texting while driving about to have an accident

Whenever a friend of mine from another state would visit me in Florida and I would grab my cell phone while driving, they would be shocked that we had no laws that outlawed cell phone use while driving. It really blew them away when I told them texting while driving wasn’t a primary offense either (you would have had to be pulled over for another offense to receive a violation for texting while driving). Well, all of that changed as of July 1, 2019.

Florida finally got up to speed (no pun intended) and passed a ban on texting while driving that has some teeth. It is now officially a violation to text and drive while your car is moving. And yes, of course, that includes emailing, messaging, snap chatting and anything else you will try to claim you were doing instead of texting. Basically, you can’t manually type anything on your phone while driving.

Now, interestingly enough, the law makes clear that all of these prohibitions are while your car is moving. Meaning, if you are stopped waiting for a train to go by, you are free to text away. Crazy, I know. Not crazy in the sense that if you have a foot on the brake, you’re not really driving because the car is not moving. But crazy in that it’s an enormous change from the current DUI law where you can get a DUI if you are in the backseat taking a nap with the keys in your pocket and the car turned off. But I digress.

You can still operate your phone for navigation, receive weather and emergency reports and of course, talk on the phone (as long as you’re not in a school or construction zone where workers are present in which case you need to be hands-free). I hope you see where this is going. What a mess.

So now an officer is going to have to pull you over and listen to your excuses, I mean explanations of all the things you were doing on your phone that are legal to cover up the fact that you were just doing something illegal on your phone. And to make things more complicated, an officer cannot take your phone to see what you were doing without a warrant. You absolutely have the right to refuse to turn over your phone to a police officer who does not have a warrant.

So where does that leave us? Well on the positive side, anything that gets people to put their phone down while they are driving will no doubt save lives and countless accidents. I’m all for that. The other positive is that between now and January, the police will only be giving out warnings. However, that’s where the positives end.

Because now there is a law that allows the police to pull you over and accuse you of texting while driving without actually having proof that you were texting and driving. They will have to prove it in court, however. Sadly, there will be cases where the police use this new law as a pretext for pulling people over simply because they can. I’d love to think that in 2019, we don’t have police that would do things like that, but I watch the news enough to know better.

If you get pulled over after December, the fine will be $30 and a point will be put your license if you pay it the first time. If you’re caught again in the next 5 years, the fine goes up to $60 and 3 points will be put on your license. Obviously, before you do anything, you should give us a call at 866-374-8355. We’ve been helping Florida drivers avoid points and fines for over 25 years and handled over a million tickets. Just to be safe, reach out to us when you’re not driving.

Officer issueing a speeding ticket to a Florida driver

One of the questions we ask everyone before they hire us is “how’s your driving record?”  More often than not, the response is “perfect.

Having come across very few actual “perfect” records, we have learned to ask follow up questions that usually lead to a person saying something like “Well, I have no points on my license,” or “I haven’t had a speeding ticket in years. Both of which are nice to hear, but unfortunately, doesn’t mean that the person has a “perfect” record. It means most people really don’t understand how the driving record system works.

If I asked you “How long does a speeding ticket stay on your record?” would you know the answer?

Well, don’t worry, my job here on this traffic ticket blog isn’t to try and trick you, it’s to educate you.  So here goes.

Your driving record, is your record FOREVER.  That ticket your received when you were 16 . . .it’s on there.  The speeding ticket you thought no one knew about because you went to traffic school . . . it’s on there.

When we run a person’s record, because they swore they never had a ticket, there is always that weird moment, when I bring up a speeding ticket from their past and the response is “Oh, I didn’t think that was still on there.”

Part of the confusion is that the points that you may have received from paying a ticket or from a judge, will only stay on your record for 3 years, but your record is your record forever.

According to the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, speeding ticket violations, where a person elected traffic school, has to stay on the record forever, because the state has to keep track of how many times you went to school.

Other speeding ticket results will be on your record for 75 years (which is essentially forever, because even if you got your speeding ticket at 16, that would mean you’d be 91 when it came off the record and who are we kidding, you probably shouldn’t be driving at 91)

Here’s another question.  “How long does a speeding ticket stay on your record if you hire a traffic attorney to fight it and it gets dismissed?”  HA! That’s a trick question.  By fighting a speeding ticket successfully and getting the case dismissed, it will NEVER appear on your record. 

See why I preach to ALWAYS FIGHT YOUR TICKETS.  So if you have a speeding ticket and think it’s no big deal to just pay it and go to school, think again.  Getting that ticket dismissed is the only way to keep it off your driving record.  That’s why, before you do anything, you should go get a free consultation with a traffic attorney.