police car at night with red and blue lights on

If you drive long enough, eventually you will see flashing blue lights in your rear view mirror.  It’s unavoidable.  You know it’s true.  In fact, you should probably consider yourself lucky you don’t get more tickets.  If you’re being honest, you are like most people in that you probably do something wrong every time you get behind the wheel. 

Continue reading “Worst Thing To Do When You Get A Traffic Ticket”
old woman judge

As I was sitting in court today I had an opportunity to watch not only the other traffic attorneys, but the unrepresented people (that would be the people who choose to fight a ticket themselves and not hire a lawyer), and I noticed something interesting.  Anyone can get ONE traffic ticket dismissed.  Here’s how.

Continue reading “How To Get Traffic Tickets Dismissed in Florida”
Frustrated woman wo did not pay traffic ticket on time

One of the most frequent questions we are asked is from panic-stricken clients who call us with fear dripping from their voices. They ask, “What happens if I miss the deadline to pay a ticket?” Well, we’re happy to say the world doesn’t end. However, missing a deadline is not good and will eventually result in negative consequences.   But all is not lost.

Depending on how badly you missed your deadline, you can still fight the ticket.  It just may cost a little more.

All the options you had initially: 1. Pay the ticket and take the points. 2. Pay the ticket and go to traffic school, or 3. Fight the ticket — may still available to you depending on the county.  Most Florida counties will still work with you up to 180 days after the date of incident.

Better than that, you still have time to hire a traffic ticket attorney to fight on your behalf. Who, if he or she does their job right, can usually get the best possible outcome. No Fines, No Points, and No Court Costs.

Remember, traffic citations are big business in Florida. The state wants you to pay the traffic ticket without making a fuss. They’re happy taking your money within 30 days or, even better, the higher amount for a late payment.

Just because the “deadline” for paying a ticket has passed, don’t let the higher amount scare you into paying and running without thinking through your options.

What you absolutely have to remember if you haven’t paid the ticket by the due date is that you MUST TAKE ACTION IMMEDIATELY. The worst thing to do is continue ignoring it. If you do, a simple speeding traffic ticket turns into a major headache. Here’s how:  

By doing nothing, the state will eventually suspend your driver’s license. That could actually result in your getting arrested. If you are stopped by police for any reason and they find that you have a suspended license you can be thrown in jail.

The key is not to let your traffic ticket get to that point. The good news is that just because you are “late,” it doesn’t mean you have to pay or face going to jail.

To recap, the best thing to do is take action by contacting an attorney who specializes in traffic tickets and get a handle on the situation.

Unger and Kowitt will be glad to talk and walk you through your options. Call us at 866-374-8355.

driving in the rain

Summer is here in Florida. How do I know? Well for starters, the heat coming from my car door when I open it rivals my oven and by the time I’ve finally cooled off, I’ve reached my destination.

How else do I know that summer is here? How about the daily storms that pop up every afternoon just as rush hour is about to hit.

This is the time of year when we see terrible storms, and driving through them can cause everyone to grip the wheel just a little bit tighter. In case you’re not sure what to do when it rains and you’re behind the wheel, here are a few reminders from Smartmotorist.com:

  • Slow Down (this one should be obvious)
  • Stay towards the Center Lanes (the water tends to move away from the middle)
  • Keep the Proper Distance from the Car in Front (3 Second Rule)
  • Avoid Sudden Movements including Slamming on Your Brakes (you can lose control of your vehicle)

But let’s say you did all of those things and for some reason, you still managed to get into an accident, and to make matters worse, you are the one that got the ticket for careless driving.

A normal accident ticket is bad enough, but in a storm, you have to sit in your car while it’s pouring out and wait for an officer to hand you a careless driving ticket that’s going to cost you money and possibly points on your license.

I hear you. Breathe. One more time.

We’ve got you covered. Accident tickets can come in many forms, but whether it’s careless driving, its more serious relative known as reckless driving, or one of the many special hazard tickets (following too close or driving too fast for conditions), there are defenses you can use to try and get the ticket dismissed and keep the points off your record.

First and foremost, if the police officer did not see the accident (as most do not), this is a huge advantage for you. The police officer is the one who the judge is going to rely on to “put you behind the wheel” and explain what you did wrong. And most of the time, people are only able to testify to what they saw or heard, not what someone told them (that’s called hearsay). Therefore, if the officer didn’t witness the accident unless they have special skills in accident reconstruction, they will not be allowed to testify against you.

So now that that officer is out of the way, that leaves anyone else who may have seen or heard something. Usually, what’s left is a person who was either involved in the accident or a passerby. In both of those situations, you are usually dealing with a person who isn’t very comfortable testifying in court or who just isn’t aware of all the technical aspects of what they must testify to, in order for your ticket to stand.

What I mean by that last paragraph is that police officers are trained in many things, and one of them is how to explain to a judge what a person did wrong after they have written a ticket. The judge can’t act as a prosecutor on behalf of the state, therefore, the person testifying on the state’s behalf (the police officer or other witnesses) must be able to meet the elements of the charge. Most non-police officers have no idea what they are supposed to say and as a result, can’t meet the specific elements.

Most people who were involved in an accident testify like this, “I was driving along, and out of nowhere this (fill in the blank) came and hit me.”

The problem with that explanation, is that they did not identify the driver in any way, nor did they prove to the court that the defendant was driving. That usually results in a “win” for the defense.

If you did get a ticket for careless driving or any other moving violation in Florida, and would like a FREE consultation, please give me a call at 866-374-8355 and I or my staff will be happy to help you.

No u turn sign

We’ve all been there. Not exactly sure where we’re going, looking on both sides of the street for an address, and when we spot it, it’s on the other side of the street and we’re going in the opposite direction away from it.

And, of course, we’re late.

What to do?

You quickly weigh your options, look around and decide to do it.

An Illegal U-turn.

As you sit waiting for the cars to pass so you can turn, you again take a quick look around, and turn the wheel as fast as you can hoping not to get caught.

But, I ask you, do you know if the U-turn you just made was legal or illegal? Do you know how to tell the difference?

In actuality, in Florida, it’s fairly easy to tell. Most U-turns are, in fact, legal.

Here’s what you need to know.

The Florida Statute on U-turns is 316.1515 and it’s very short and easy to read.

Basically, what it says is that you can make a turn in the opposite direction (a U-turn), on any street, as long as it can be made safely and without interfering with the other traffic.

However, there is also one additional thing to consider.

You have to make sure there is no sign saying that you cannot make a U-turn. Sometimes they use fancy language and say things like “U-turn Prohibited” and sometimes it’s a picture of an arrow in the direction of the U-turn you are about to make along with one of those red circles with the line through it, made famous from the movie Ghostbusters.

At any rate, the sign is really the main thing to look out for. No sign, you should be OK, as long as you do it safely and don’t get in anyone’s way. Watch out for pedestrians as well. Sometimes, they are walking along and don’t expect a car to make a U-turn.

The worst thing to happen, is that you get the ticket for making an illegal U-turn. Not only will you be even later to your appointment, but if you don’t fight the ticket and just pay it, you will end up with points on your license.

As a reader of this blog, you know how I feel about just paying a ticket and taking points (hint: always fight your tickets).

If you received a ticket for an illegal U-turn and want to fight it with a traffic attorney whose law firm has fought over 500,000 tickets, feel free to call 866-374-8355.

police car red and blue lights

Nothing can ruin your day faster than seeing flashing blue lights pull up behind you.

You go through a range of emotions starting at disbelief (Is he pulling me over?) to shock (You can’t be serious?) to denial (I wasn’t doing anything wrong) to despair (This sucks) to anger (I’m fighting this with my traffic attorney) all in the time it takes you to pull to the side of the road and hand over your license.

All of those emotions are perfectly normal, but what many people are confused about is what to do when stopped by police. Because when the police pull you over, there is a certain protocol you should follow to ensure your safety and that of the officer.

Running out of your car screaming, “It wasn’t me, didn’t you see the other guy!” generally isn’t recommended. In fact, sudden movements are generally a big no-no, especially at night when there is less visibility.

What’s important to keep in mind is that the more comfortable you appear and you make the police officer feel the more likely you may get a reduced ticket, or no ticket at all.

Here’s a short list to teach you what to do when you are stopped by the police.

  • Slowly and safely pull over to the side of the road.
  • Stay in your vehicle unless instructed to get out.
  • Don’t make any sudden movements. Keep your hands in plain sight.
  • If you have any weapons in the car, it’s always better for the officer to hear it now, instead of discovering it after the car’s been searched.
  • Don’t unbuckle your seat belt. If you need to unbuckle it or move to get something out of the car, ask permission. (If you unbuckle it too early, you may get a ticket for not wearing a seat belt)
  • Last, and this is up to you, you may want to consider turning on your cell phone camera to record everything. I’m not sure what good it would serve, but if the officer testifies in court that you had a bad attitude, this may be used as evidence to the contrary.

Always remember to be polite and respectful. It never hurts and you just might find yourself getting lucky and not getting a ticket after all.

If you have a ticket and want to fight it with a Florida traffic ticket attorney, we’re always happy to give you a free consultation. Just call us at 866-374-8355.

One of my main goals on this blog is to educate the public on all things relating to traffic tickets. Part of that goal sometimes requires me to let you in on the “dirty little secrets” being propagated when I learn about them.

Well, I was recently reminded of something that has been going on in this industry for a while and it’s time you learned the truth.

When you hire a traffic lawyer, your ultimate goal should be to have your traffic ticket dismissed. There’s no shame in that. It’s what you’re paying for. As a traffic attorney for over 17 years, I am painfully aware that it is my client’s and my firm’s number one goal.

However, as much as we try, there isn’t an attorney in the world who handles traffic tickets that gets them all dismissed. But if you read some of the letters sent by some traffic attorneys to their clients after their case was resolved, you would think some of these attorneys get every case dismissed.

But here’s the rub: One attorney’s version of a traffic ticket dismissal is another’s change of plea. Confused yet? I’m not surprised.

Oh what a tangled web we weave when we first practice to deceive. (Somewhere my 9th grade english teacher is smiling)

What I have always known, but couldn’t verify (until recently) is that some traffic attorneys are changing the plea of their clients in court from “not guilty” to “nolo contendere” (no contest) and receiving court costs in exchange.

In and of itself, that’s no big deal, but here’s the dirty little secret. Those attorneys are telling their clients they got their traffic ticket dismissed.

Liar, Liar, Pants on Fire!!! (somewhere my 6 year old is smiling)

Wow! These attorneys are lying to their clients all in an attempt to garner some goodwill or positive feedback. The troubling part is many clients don’t even know they’ve been lied to. They inform me their prior attorney got their last speeding ticket dismissed and they only had to pay court costs of $200.00

Here it is in plain English folks. If your traffic ticket is dismissed, you do not have to pay anything to the court.

Nada, Zilch, Nothing.

It’s like it never happened. There will be no record of it because it was dismissed. In a perfect world, you’d get a letter from the police officer and the clerk’s office apologizing for wasting your time.

Sorry to burst your bubble, but if you pay money to the clerk’s office, your traffic ticket was not dismissed. In addition to paying the money to the clerk’s office, you also have a mark on your driving record (which you wouldn’t have if it was dismissed). This can be troubling if you have done this multiple times as your driving record is not as clean as you think it is.

I’d love to tell you the attorney probably just made a mistake when he notified you of your result, but then I’d be lying too.

If you have a ticket and want an honest assessment of your case and possible outcome, give me a call at 866-374-8355.