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FL_school_bus.jpgToday is the first day of school in Broward County. For Florida drivers, that means exercising extra caution or potentially paying the price. Those cited for speeding in a school zone can pay $140 for going 1 mph to 9 mph over the speed limit to $590 for going 30 mph or more over the speed limit.

Police officers will be monitoring school zones and cracking down on speeders or those who fail to stop at crosswalks or behind school buses that are stopped to load or unload. They may also be more heavily enforcing seat belt and child safety restraint rules.

A spokesperson fro the AAA Auto Club South recommends paying extra attention in school zones, playgrounds, and other areas with a high concentration of kids. Parents should also remind their children to look both ways and make eye contact with drivers before crossing the street.

Source: Slow down in Broward County school zones, South Florida Sun Sentinel, August 23, 2010 Continue reading

Our Broward County traffic attorneys have learned that Wilton Manors Police Chief Richard E. Perez is accused of submitting a false affidavit to dismiss a traffic ticket to a former city commissioner. He was already being investigated for alleged perjury.

The allegations of a false affidavit stem from an incident on April 20. National Railroad Safety Awareness Week was April 18-24, so officers were encouraged to pay even more attention to railroad-related violations. During that time, an officer issued several tickets to Florida drivers, including a former city commissioner. Ten of those were for were violations related to stopping on the railroad tracks and other crossing-related violations.

Perez allegedly tried to have the city commissioner’s traffic ticket dismissed. None of the other traffic tickets were dismissed, and not surprisingly, those drivers are not happy with the situation. Perez will still be an active commission member while he is being investigated.

Source: POLICE CHIEF ACCUSED OF FIXING EX-COMMISSIONER’S TRAFFIC TICKET, South Florida Times Continue reading

A Fort Lauderdale police officer has been charged with three misdemeanors and put on administrative leave with pay following a December 2009 incident at a 7-Eleven Store. His status could change to suspension without pay, which is often a precursor to termination.

According to an investigation, the officer wrestled a customer out of the store and arrested him without cause. The officer was waiting in line at the store and was not in uniform when a clerk informed another customer that he was not allowed in the store because he was suspected of shoplifting during a previous incident. The officer allegedly grabbed the other customer and wrestled him out of the store.

The report filed by the officer said that he identified himself as a law enforcement official and that the customer had reacted in a hostile manner. The customer was charged with trespassing and resisting arrest without violence, but those charges were later dropped. The police officer has five years of service, during which he has been investigated multiple times.

Source: LAUDERDALE COP CHARGED IN STORE CONFRONTATION, South Florida Times Continue reading

Sunrise_FL_police.jpgThough the Sunrise cops claim they do not have traffic quotas, The South Florida Sun Sentinel reports that at least one Sunrise police officer was issued a written reprimand for failing to make enough traffic stops. The complaint form says that road patrol officers are expected to make at least three traffic stops a day. Since the city has 84 road patrol officers, that means they’d have to make almost 50,000 stops per year (roughly half the city’s population).

Chief John Brooks says they do not have a ticket or arrest quota, adding that quotas are unethical.

However, the Sentinel reports that Captain Robert Voss says “shift standards” give them a way to monitor performance and that they only apply to officers assigned to road patrol. Although quotas or shift standards are legal and ensure that police officers aren’t slacking on the job, they are generally frowned upon by drivers, who worry that they may get issued a traffic ticket so that the officer can meet standards and get promoted.

Source: Sunrise police officers required to make three traffic stops a day, South Florida Sun Sentinel, August 20, 2010 Continue reading

Florida_police.jpgOur South Florida criminal defense attorneys have been following a developing story involving Republican gubernatorial candidates Bill McCollum and Rick Scott. One of Scott’s campaign ads claims that Scott supports bring Arizona’s immigration law to Florida. It goes on to say that Scott would pass a law allowing police to check whether the people they arrest are legal or illegal aliens.

However, as McCollum points out, Florida law already allows police in all 67 counties to do so. Earlier this summer, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement and the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement announced that law enforcement officials now have access to a database maintained by the Department of Homeland Security. Prior to this, police officers were only able to check the person’s potential criminal history using fingerprints and a database maintained by the FBI.

However, unlike Arizona’s immigrations laws, Florida does not require police officers to check a person’s immigration history. Arizona’s immigration laws have not fully gone into effect due to a preliminary injunction filed by Judge Susan Bolton of Federal District Court.

Source: Bill McCollum says Florida police can check the immigration status of people they arrest, Polifact.com, August 5, 2010 Continue reading

A recent article mentions that Florida state revenue from traffic tickets is down. According to the article, the most recent statistics that the state has are from 2008. During that time, officers wrote 120,000 fewer tickets than in 2006.

Some say that the economy may be to blame. The Florida Highway Patrol is seeing fewer drivers on the road, and those who do drive are taking greater precautions to avoid a speeding ticket. Others say that police officers may be more sympathetic to the financial plight of Florida drivers, and may be writing fewer tickets. Another factor may be that budget cuts are forcing police departments to focus on more serious crimes like DUI.

Whatever the reason, Florida’s budget is feeling the pinch, especially in the Criminal Justice Standards and Training Trust Fund.

Source: Florida Traffic Tickets Declining, WJHG.com, July 31, 2010 Continue reading

FL_video_camera.jpgFor years, TV viewers have enjoyed watching Cops. Now some are getting in on the action themselves by posting their own videos of police arrests online. Some of them are bystanders posting arrest videos, while others post videos from their own arrests.

However, several states make it illegal to videotape unless you have everyone’s consent. In fact, a Florida man who posted several police arrests on YouTube now faces up to 16 years in jail.

Some states allow police officers to carry a concealed video or audio recording device and tape conversations between officer and suspect, but they make it illegal for the suspect to do the same. Below, you’ll see a video taken by a Maryland man who was pulled over for speeding by a plainclothes officer. He now faces up to five years in jail.

 

 

As more and more people carry cell phones equipped with video cameras, this could become an even bigger issue in the future.

Source: More and more citizens getting arrested for videotaping police arrests, Examiner.com, July 20, 2010 Continue reading

In Palm Beach County, Deputy Sheriff Ira Peskowitz has founded a program called The Kids and Police Tennis Association (KAPTA). The motto of this program is “our courts or criminal courts,” because it’s designed to expose children in high-crime areas to tennis. KAPTA has already grown to include 84 children, and two more sites are planned across Palm Beach County.

Peskowitz, who is now a certified tennis teaching pro, says KAPTA has allowed officers to enter high-crime areas and invite kids to play tennis instead of becoming involved in violent crimes or drug trafficking.

The program has also received a grant from the United States Tennis Association-Florida to begin using the QuickStart Tennis format and equipment for 10-and-under children. QuickStart Tennis features smaller court and racquet sizes and a simpler scoring system, among other adjustments.

Source: Fighting Crime with Tennis; Palm Beach County Police Receive USTA Florida Grant, USTA.com, August 10, 2010 Continue reading

FL_weapons.jpgAccording to a recent article, applications for a concealed weapons license in Florida are rising swiftly. In fact, the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services processed 1,722 new applications from St. Johns County residents between July 2009 and July 2010, which represents an increase of over 200% from that same period in 2006 through 2007. Roughly 2,500 licenses were issued or renewed in the that county.

So, what’s behind this trend? Some attribute it to the economy and fears that it may be harder to get a concealed weapon license in the future.

Florida law enforcement officials say they are unfazed by the rise in concealed weapon licenses, because those who’ve obtained the license have undergone a rigorous screening process. Their main concern is when those with criminal intent have access to firearms. However, many law enforcement officials already assume that when they pull over a Florida driver, they may be packing heat.

Source: Applications for concealed weapons licenses have risen sharply; reasons for increase vary, Ponta Vedra Recorder, August 6, 2010 Continue reading

According to the South Florida Sun Sentinel, it has been over a month since the pickup truck accident involving a vehicle registered to Miami Dolphins wide receiver Brian Hartline. The Florida Highway Patrol (FHP) is still waiting to hear from Hartline regarding the traffic accident. He has been traveling for part the summer but has been interviewed in several media outlets since his return. He reportedly told a journalist that his lawyer had told him not to speak publicly about the traffic issue.

The FHP is investigating who was driving the Dolphins player’s 2008 Ford pickup truck. The incident report says the truck collided with an abandoned 2002 Cadillac Escalade and had to be towed away. The accident occurred just east of Interstate 95. There were apparently no witnesses to the early morning crash.

The owner of the vehicle is expected to report a crash, but failure to do so is an infraction subject to a fine, not a criminal offense. At this point, it’s unclear who was driving the truck.

 
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Lb39qlJEwXc
 

Source: FHP still waiting to hear from Miami Dolphins WR Brian Hartline, South Florida Sun Sentinel, July 26, 2010 Continue reading

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