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Criminal Traffic Crimes

Many violations of the law that happen on the roadway are civil. Civil traffic violations are only punishable by a fine. Examples of civil traffic violations include a speeding ticket or a citation for running a red light.

Other violations of the law that occur on the roadway are classified as criminal traffic offenses that are punishable by jail time. Criminal traffic offenses including DUI, driving on a suspended license, leaving the scene of an accident, reckless driving and fleeing to elude.

Because many of these cases involve the stopping of a moving vehicle by an officer followed by a roadside investigation, common legal issues include:

  • contesting the legality of the stop;
  • moving to exclude statements because the officer didn't read Miranda;
  • contesting the legality of the arrest when the officer didn't have probable cause that a crime occurred in his presence; and
  • moving to suppress evidence seized illegally.

Attorney for Criminal Traffic Crimes in Tampa, FL

The attorneys at the Sammis Law Firm focus on criminal traffic charges in the greater Tampa Bay area. Call an attorney at the Sammis Law Firm to discuss the particular facts of your case. We represent clients charged with a misdemeanor or felony driving offenses. 

While fighting the criminal accusation, we also develop a plan to protect your driving privileges. We created this website to provide you with a wealth of general information about some very specific criminal offenses including the maximum and minimum statutory penalties, collateral consequences to your driving record, and possible defenses.

Call us to discuss the benefits of filing and litigating motions to suppress evidence and motions to dismiss the criminal charges. By focusing on these types of criminal charges, we can stay current on recent changes in the law and innovative defenses.

Call (813) 250-0500 to discuss the case today.

Different Types of Traffic Crimes in Florida

Florida law provides for numerous different types of criminal charges that are driving related both felony and misdemeanor offenses. Serious driving offenses prosecuted in Hillsborough County, FL, include: 

One common type of traffic crime is driving under the influence (often called DUI or DWI in other jurisdictions). Florida law allows for many different ways that Driving Under the Influence (DUI) can be charged include:

The most serious types of felony traffic crimes under Florida law include:

  • DUI with Serious Bodily Injury - F.S. Section 316.193(3)(a)(b)(c)(2);
  • DUI Manslaughter - F.S. Section 316.193(3)(a)(b)(c)(3); 
  • Vehicular Manslaughter - F.S. Section 782.71(1);
  • Vessel Homicide - F.S. Section 782.072;
  • Reckless Driving with Serious Bodily Injury - F.S. Section 31.192(1)(3)(a)(b)(c)2;
  • Leaving the Scene of a Crash with Death - F.S. 316.027:
  • BUI Serious Bodily Injury - F.S. Section 327.35(3)(a)(b)(c)2;
  • BUI Manslaughter - F.S. Section 327.35(3)(a)(b)(c)3.

Hardship Hearings in Florida - Early Reinstatement on a Restricted Basis

What happens if your license is suspended? Can you get a hardship license to drive? For many types of suspensions or revocations, you can apply for a hardship license if you meet certain conditions. 

The hearings to determine whether you are entitled to a hardship license are conducted by hearing officers with the Bureau of Administrative Reviews (BAR) at one of their regional offices including the BAR office in Tampa and Clearwater, FL. Hearing officers have certain duties regarding the scheduling, conducting and documenting hardship hearings.

Section 322.271, Florida Statutes gives the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (DHSMV) the authority to modify revocation, cancellation or suspension orders. Hearing officers are authorized to conduct hearings and authorize reinstatement or early reinstatement on a restricted basis.

Eligibility for reinstatement or early reinstatement will be determined by the applicant's driving history, current license status and driving needs in accordance with this manual, and all applicable laws and policies.

Upon the suspension, cancellation, or revocation of the driver's license of any person the department is required to immediately notify the licensee and, upon request, is required to afford him or her the opportunity for a hearing, as early as practicable within not more than 30 days after receipt of such request.

Keep in mind that under Florida law, the following sanctions are not eligible for early reinstatement (often called the hardship license):

  • Permanent revocation for murder resulting from the operation of a motor vehicle;
  • Permanent revocation for DUI manslaughter where the record shows a prior conviction for DUI;
  • Admin suspensions under Section 322.2615 if there have been two or more convictions for DUI;
  • Admin suspension for a refusal under 322.2615 with a prior refusal
    • In other words, you must serve the entire 18-month administrative suspension which is the reason you should always request a formal review hearing and 42-day permit (which is the only way to cut into the 18 months. If you win the formal review hearing, then the 18-month suspension can be invalidated.
    • If you do not win the formal review hearing then you will not be able to drive for any reason for the entire 18 month period after the arrest for the second refusal).
  • First conviction for DUI with two or more prior refusal suspensions
    • If you have two or more prior refusal suspensions then you will also not be allowed to have a hardship license during any court-ordered suspension of your driver's license after a DUI conviction)
  • Second conviction for DUI outside 5 years of the preceding conviction for DUI
  • Third conviction for DUI outside 10 years of the preceding conviction for DUI
  • Revocation for felony violation of chapter 893, or felony possession of a controlled substance
  • Suspension for possession of tobacco by a minor
  • Indefinite revocation for child support delinquency
  • Indefinite revocation for failing to pay traffic fines or failure to appear for a traffic summons
  • Suspension resulting from the "Drop Out Law"
  • Theft of motor vehicle parts or components (unless authorized by the trial judge)
  • Financial Responsibility suspensions

Choosing a Lawyer for Criminal Traffic Crimes in Hillsborough County, FL

After an arrest in the Tampa Bay Area for any misdemeanor or felony driving offense, call us to learn more about the particular crime you are charged with and the defenses that might apply. Call our office at 813-250-0500 to discuss your particular case with a criminal defense attorney that helps clients charged with serious driving offenses.

At the Sammis Law Firm we represent men and women charged with misdemeanor and felony driving crimes in any of the following counties: Hillsborough County, Polk County, Pasco County, Pinellas County, Hernando County, including the cities of Tampa, Plant City, Bartow, New Port Richey, Dade City, St. Petersburg, Clearwater, or Brooksville, Florida.

Call (813) 250-0500 today.

This article was last updated by on Tuesday, July 24, 2018.

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