| Read Time: 2 minutes | Traffic Offenses

New Laws Proposed for Skateboarders and Bicyclists in Orlando

In Florida, the rules of the road are not just about cars and other motor vehicles. Even bicyclists and skateboarders must follow the law when they’re out and about on public streets. In cities like Orlando, it is currently illegal to ride a bicycle or skateboard on a public sidewalk. But the Orlando City Council recently considering adoption of a new local ordinance that would change those rules. Skateboarding May Be a Permitted Mode of “Transportation” on Sidewalks At its September 17 meeting, the Council voted unanimously to endorse Ordinance No. 2018-56, which rewrites local traffic rules with respect to bicycles and skateboards. The ordinance’s introductory language states that opening Orlando’s sidewalks to skateboards and bicycles is consistent with the Council’s long-term plan to ensure that a “majority of all trips in the City are made by foot, bike, carpooling, or transit,” and that “properly regulated, skateboarding and bicycle sharing services offer a viable, healthy, and environmentally sustainable transportation option.” To be clear, with respect to skateboarding the ordinance is designed to encourage the use of such devices for transportation only. It does not cover individuals who use their boards to perform “tricks, jumps, gymnastics, grinding, or other physical feats unnecessary to the efficient conveyance or movement of the person from one location to another.” Within these parameters, the ordinance permits skateboarders to use the sidewalk, provided they yield the right-of-way to pedestrians and give an “audible signal before overtaking and passing a pedestrian.” The ordinance would further restrict the speed of motorized skateboards on sidewalks to no more than 15 miles per hour. And any skateboarder under the age of 16 must wear a helmet “that is properly fitted” and fastened to their head by a strap. Failure to follow any of these rules may result in a fine. Expanding Bike Sharing Opportunities Ordinance 2018-56 would also create new rules to permit “bike sharing” companies in Orlando. According to Spectrum News 13, only one such company is presently allowed to operate in the city. Bike share companies allow individuals to rent bicycles, typically via a smartphone app, for short periods of time. Under existing city regulations, the bike share company must provide “docks” for their rental bikes. But the new ordinance would authorize “dockless” services–in other words, the renter can simply abandon the bike once they are done using it. The new bike share rules would require any company to obtain a permit annually from the city and meet certain insurance, bonding, and reporting requirements. Have You Been Charged with a Traffic Offense? We Can Help The City Council must still pass Ordinance 2018-56 a second time at its October 8 meeting. But assuming the new rules do take effect, it will be good news for skateboarders and bicyclists throughout the city. Of course, with new rights comes new responsibilities. And if you are cited for a traffic offense related to the use of any vehicle on a public street or sidewalk and need legal advice, contact the experienced Orlando criminal defense lawyers at Moses & Rooth today by calling (407) 377-0150.

Continue Reading

| Read Time: 2 minutes | Traffic Offenses

Common Driving Mistakes That Lead to Traffic Stops

When you think of traffic stops, speeding probably comes to mind—and for good reason. Going too fast accounts for 34 million speeding tickets every year in the United States. Speeding is a leading cause of accidents. For every 100 speeding tickets, there are 5.6 fewer injuries and 14.3 fewer crashes. But there are other reasons why police officers make traffic stops. Some of these are probably things you do every time you drive. All of these mistakes can be easily avoided, so the next time you get in your case, use some common sense and avoid getting pulled over. Not Using Turn Signals The lights on your car are there for a reason. Turn signals communicate your intentions to other drivers. If you don’t use them and end up in an accident, you could be at fault. If a police officer sees you trying to make a turn without using your turn signals, you could be pulled over. So be polite and use them. Improper Lane Changes If you need to change lanes in order to get off the freeway or move away from a semi truck, then you can certainly do so if it is safe. However, too many lane changes in a short amount of time will get you noticed by a police officer—and not in a good way. if you’re acting like you’re in a race, you are being reckless and could get pulled over. Tailgating Tailgating happens quite often, especially when a driver is stuck behind a slower vehicle and is experiencing road rage. But that doesn’t make it right. A tailgater can get pulled over and cited. Tailgating can lead to a life-threatening rear-end accident, which would be your fault. The car in front of you can stop at any time, so keep some distance if you want to protect your driving record, your car and your life. Distracted Driving When you’re driving, you need to be focusing on the road in front of you. However, many drivers are trying to multitask when behind the wheel. They may be texting, eating, reading, applying makeup or dealing with rowdy kids. Distracted driving is common among teens. Forty percent of teens have been a passenger in a vehicle where the driver was on their phone. This is a dangerous practice that often leads to fatal accidents. If a police officer sees you looking in another direction besides straight ahead, you could be pulled over. Contact an Orlando Criminal Defense Attorney Something as innocent as a traffic stop can lead to an arrest, jail time and fines. It’s important to understand your rights if you are ever pulled over. Police officers have to follow a set of rules and procedures after pulling you over. If you are arrested at a traffic stop, it’s important that you discuss the incident with an Orlando criminal defense lawyer right away. At Moses & Rooth Attorneys at Law, we will aggressively fight to protect your rights. We can find evidence to get your charges dropped. Contact our offices today at (407) 377-0150 to see how we can help.

Continue Reading

| Read Time: 2 minutes | Traffic Offenses

Cyclist Killed After Hit and Run

Police report that the victim, a 50-year-old transient, was hit from behind by dark colored pickup truck while riding his bike. Witnesses report that the accused stopped briefly before leaving the scene of the accident. As police investigated the crash scene, the police received a call to report a truck stopped and that “the truck appeared to have been involved in a crash and the driver was outside staggering around.” Once police arrived they found a Chevy pick up truck with damage consistent with the hit and run. Police later charged the suspect with DUI and began investigating the hit-and-run. Here is some critical information that may help you understand the context of this accident and the consequences of a hit and run accident. Understanding Hit and Run Accidents Hit and run accidents are a serious problem in Florida. The Florida Department of Highway and Motor Vehicle Safety (FLHSMV) reports that nearly 25% of car accidents in Florida are hit and run accidents and the number of fatalities caused by hit and run accidents increased 23% from 2013 to 2014. Additionally, the number of hit and run accidents statewide increased 7% in the same timeframe. Hit and run accidents are a problem for Florida law enforcement. Oftentimes hit and run accidents occur when drivers: Exceed speed limits; Drive while intoxicated; or Does not realize they have struck another person. Hit and Run Car Accidents Florida law requires a drivers to stop at the scene of the accident and provide aid to accident victims. Drivers are legally required to stop and exchange information. This, duty to give information and render aid, means you must stay at the scene of the accident and provide law enforcement officials with your name, address and registration. You may also need to provide your license if requested. Penalties for Hit and Run Accidents The penalties for a hit and run depend on the severity and circumstances of the accident: Accidents Involving Property Damage Only: failing to stop and provide information following an accident is a second degree misdemeanor charge punishable by up to 60 days in jail and a $500 fine. Accidents Involving Injury: if the accident results in injury, the penalties are more serious, failing to stop becomes a second degree felony charge punishable by up to 15 years in prison and $10,000 fine. Accidents Resulting in Death: if the accident results in death, it is a first degree felony and there is a mandatory minimum term of imprisonment of 4 years In both instances you may be required to pay restitution and a court may decide to revoke your driving privileges. Let us Help You with Hit and Run Charges Hit and run accidents are problem in Florida. As the FLHSMV statistics demonstrate, hit and run accidents cause fatalities and the number of accidents are increasing with time. If you have been accused of leaving the scene of an accident, then you will want help from an Attorney. Contact the criminal defense attorneys at Moses & Rooth, so that we can help you with the charges. Please contact us at 407-377-0150 to schedule an appointment.

Continue Reading

| Read Time: 2 minutes | Traffic Offenses

Man Faces Vehicular Homicide and Reckless Driving Charges

A Fort Lauderdale man is facing vehicular homicide and reckless driving charges after a high speed race ended in a crash killed a four year old boy. According to reports, the accused was driving a his car at 70 mph behind another car. He lost control of the car and hit a woman and two young children. Further police investigation revealed the accused was driving between 80 and 83 mph early that evening around 8 pm. The accused claims a car made a wide turn in front of the Honda. When the Honda attempted to stop, the accused was not able to stop and swerved to avoid a collision; losing control of the car. A year after the arrest prosecutors are in court moving forward with the trial. The man is facing serious charges for this incident. Reckless Driving is More than Speed Racing Many people are surprised to find that reckless driving is a criminal offense. Reckless driving is no proven by speed alone, although it can be a factor that is used in a cop determining probable cause. In order for a court to convict you of reckless driving a court must find that you were driving in a way that demonstrates your disregard for the safety of people and property. What are the Penalties for Reckless Driving The penalties for reckless driving in Florida depend on the number of previous offenses and the extent of damage to people and property. First Time Offense: a first offense in Florida with no bodily injury or property is a first degree misdemeanor with penalties of up to 90 days in jail or six months of probation, and a $500 fine. Second and Subsequent Offenses: a second offense for reckless driving is also a misdemeanor punishable with up to six months in jail and up to a $1,000 fine. The penalties for reckless driving increases when there is property damage or bodily injury. If there is serious bodily injury. Florida law upgrades the offense to a third degree felony, with penalties of up to five years in prison or five years probation, and a $5,000 fine. Vehicular Manslaughter: A Serious Reckless Driving Charge Vehicular Manslaughter, or Vehicular Homicide, is the most serious reckless driving charge because it involves the death of another human being. Vehicular manslaughter is a second degree felony punishable with up to fifteen years in prison and revocation of driving privileges. Vehicular homicide is essentially a person whose reckless driving causes the death of another Seek Help From an Attorney Speed racing and high speed chases are the stuff of movies. In real life, the impact of reckless driving can result in serious damage to property and the death of innocent bystanders. If you are facing reckless driving charges then you should contact Moses and Rooth, we understand the nuances of the criminal courts and can serve as a strong advocate for you in court. Please contact us at 407-377-0150 to schedule an appointment.

Continue Reading

| Read Time: 2 minutes | Traffic Offenses

Red Light Camera Traffic Tickets

Effective July 1, 2013, drivers that are issued a red light camera ticket will be permitted to contest the ticket in front of the city that issued the ticket. The hearing will have to take place within 60 days of the ticket being issued. Currently, the driver receiving the ticket only has 30 days to appeal the red-light camera ticket. Florida made a total of $100 million from red-light cameras last year and is set to make $120 million this year. This bill will give drivers the chance to fight the bill and to see whether the driver did in fact run a red light. Currently, if a driver wants to fight a red-light camera ticket, he or she has to wait for the city to issue a uniform traffic citation, and then he or she can go in front of a judge in traffic court.  These hearings are heavily contested by the local city attorneys and often require extensive traffic litigation.   If the driver does in fact lose the red light hearing, the fines will increase to $264. The current fine for a red-light camera ticket is $158. It will be particularly hard to overturn a red-light violation since the city that is collecting the fine is also the one who oversees the violation in court. The new law will also be more lenient on drivers making a right hand turn on a red light. The law states that the driver “fails to make a complete stop before the turn, they will receive a citation, but they won’t receive a citation for failing to stop before the white line”. There will be some tolerance with this law, but a red light camera is pretty clear-cut evidence and will be extremely hard to overturn in court in front of a hired city official. The city will be allowed to nominate their own city employee to serve as hearing officer, hire a special magistrate or to partner with other cities and share hearing officers. It is unclear how much training and how extensive the training will be for these nominated city employees. They will need special training to be able to interpret the red-light cameras. Again, the same city that is hearing this appeal is benefitting from the fines, so it will be a tough appeal to win. The goal of this bill is to speed up the appeal process and also to be more effective in accessing the red-light camera tickets.

Continue Reading

| Read Time: 2 minutes | Traffic Offenses

Consequences of Toll Violations in Central Florida

The Orlando Orange County Expressway Authority reported netting $251 million last year in toll collections – a $45 million increase from 2009. The toll revenue plays a crucial role, providing the funding necessary to maintain the Florida Turnpike. Unfortunately, some innocent SunPass users are playing the role of victim in this fund-raising endeavor. The SunPass transponder – also referred to as an E-Pass – is an electronic device that allows travelers on the Florida Turnpike, Toll Roads – 417, 429, 408 and the 528 to move through toll collection areas without stopping. Sensors at the toll station communicate with the transponder in the driver’s vehicle, debiting the toll from money in the SunPass holder’s online account. This system is aimed at reducing travel time and toll cost, but it can create some significant problems for SunPass users when it fails. SunPass Short-Circuits A SunPass transponder can fail due to a variety of reasons, some of them include: • dead or failing batteries, • vehicle’s windshield contains metal oxide, or • improper transponder placement. Technology can fail, too, through no fault of the user. Florida Turnpike authorities claim that the technology works if users follow directions, but it is pretty hard to believe that the electronic toll system has never malfunctioned. Regardless of fault, when the SunPass system fails it can cause serious trouble for the vehicle owner. Consequences of Toll Violations When the SunPass responder fails at a toll station and the driver isn’t aware, Florida law punishes the vehicle’s owner as an unpaid toll violator or may issue them a uniform traffic citation (UTC). Unlike many other states, Florida’s toll violations are considered moving violations. Because of this classification, vehicle owners hit with toll violations face significant consequences: • Fines that may exceed $100 • Increased insurance costs • Points assessed to driving record • Drivers License suspension • Driving with a Suspended or Revoked License These consequences are severe: especially for busy turnpike travelers who didn’t catch the transponder failure. However, they can avoid the serious consequences involved if they take action. Avoiding the Consequences Any toll or traffic violation can prove costly, but a skilled Orlando defense attorney can work with the traffic courts and toll agencies to avoid serious consequences from resulting. Consider hiring a defense lawyer with experience as a prosecutor, as that experience can provide a unique insight that may be valuable when creating defense strategies.

Continue Reading