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Careless Driving Tickets in Florida

By Tom Malone - Last updated: Wednesday, November 18, 2009 - Save & Share - Leave a Comment

Careless Driving is a very common ticket issued in Florida. Particuarly, in accident cases, and more particuarly in rear end accident cases. In rear-end accident cases the officer most times didn’t see the accident occur and therefore doesn’t know what exactly caused the accident, and in many cases the person rear-ended didn’t see what happened or why. Officers therefore will often times issue a citation (ticket) for Careless Driving. Careless Driving citations are often referred to as the catch-all citation and are issued when the officer cann’t find any other specific law violation. However, in Florida some courts have stated that the mere fact that rear-end collission occurred does not mean that that person is at fault for the accident or guilty beyond a reasonable doubt (the state must prove you are guilty of the citation beyond a reasonable doubt) of Careless Driving. As stated Florida case law supports this statement. The State needs to present some evidence of what exactly caused the accident to prove a person is guilty of Careless Driving otherwise the ticket should be dismissed. Also, any statements made to the police by either party after the accident regarding the accident are not admissible into evidence at any hearing or trial (this is referred to as the accident report privelege), therefore anything said by the drivers to the police at the scene cannot be used in court. Specifically, Florida Statute 316.1925 (Careless Driving) states that “Any person operating a vehicle upon the streets or highways within the state shall drive the same in a careful and prudent manner, having regard for the width, grade, curves, corners, traffic, and all other attendant ciccumstances, so as not to endanger the life, limb, or property of any person. Failure to drive in such a manner shall constitute careless driving and a violation of this section.” Essentially, the police need to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that your driving endangered the life, limb, or property of another. Florida courts have found that the mere fact an accident occurrs is not enough to find a person guilty beyond a reasonable doubt of Careless Driving. There could be any number of reasons why an accident occurred from equipment failure to a medical emergency. Therefore if someone is charged with Careless Driving it would be wise for them to speak with a lawyer about their case before they pay their ticket.

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