At least one small city in Florida is facing accusations of using traffic tickets to gain a profit. Traffic citations can lead to suspended driver’s licenses and monetary penalties.
At least one city in Florida is facing allegations of using speed traps to turn a profit. A recent report in the Miami Herald notes that two police chiefs were suspended in Waldo, located between Gainesville and Jacksonville, connected to these allegations. Enforcement officers informed those attending a Waldo City Council meeting that they were required “to write at least 12 tickets per 12-hour shift or face repercussions.” State law makes it illegal to set ticket quotas. If the allegations are supported those involved could face criminal charges.
Data appears to support the allegations. Waldo, a relatively small, rural town with a population of just over 1,000 residents issued 11,603 traffic citations in 2013. This numbers are striking in comparison to the neighboring, urban city of Gainesville with a population of over 126,000 issued 25,461 traffic tickets.
The report also noted that Waldo was not the only city in Florida under suspicion. Both Waldo and Lawtey Florida, two small communities located off US 301, were listed in the report by AAA that may have contributed to the investigation.
Financial impact of traffic citations
The ticketing practice used in Waldo led to a substantial source of revenue for this small city. Reports claim the citations made up almost $500,000 of the city’s $1 million budget for 2013.
Drivers who receive a traffic ticket are generally required to pay the fine at the traffic court in the county where the ticket was issued. In some cases, traffic school is also required. Those who do not complete this court-ordered requirement could face an indefinite suspension of their driver’s license. Suspensions can also be issued if a driver receives too many driver suspension points. Florida’s Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles state the following driver’s license suspensions can apply:
- 12 points in 12 months can lead to a 30 day suspension
- 18 points in 18 months face a 3 month suspension
- 24 points in 36 months may get a 12 month suspension
If the driver is deemed a habitual traffic offender (HTO) the driver’s license could be suspended for five years. Additional penalties can be applied if a driver attempts to operate a vehicle while his or her license is suspended.
Legal counsel can help
These suspensions are more than just annoying; they can negatively impact one’s career. Without the ability to drive to work, a person could lose his or her job. As a result, those who receive a criminal traffic offense should take the citation seriously. Contact an experienced Florida traffic offenses lawyer to review the citation and help fight for your legal rights.