Under Florida Statute Section 318.19, certain types of traffic infractions require a mandatory hearing. In other words, you cannot simply pay the citation in exchange for being convicted of the underlying offense.
If you receive a citation for an infraction that indicates that a mandatory hearing is required, then you must appear in court when you receive the ticket.
A mandatory hearing in traffic court before a county court judge applies if the infraction resulted in:
- a crash causing death to another person;
- a crash causing serious bodily injury to another person;
- a second violation for exceeding the speed limit in excess of 50 mph or more in violation of FS 316.183(2), FS 317.187, or FS 316.189;
- a second violation by virtue of FS 316.1926(1) – Motorcycle/moped -- Improper riding (astride, both wheels on ground); or
- a second violation by virtue of FS 316.1926(1)– Motorcycle/moped –Tag improperly affixed.
The following offenses require a mandatory civil traffic infraction hearing, but the hearing can be scheduled before a civil traffic infraction hearing officer
- passing a school bus on the enter/exit side while the bus is stopped under F.S. 316.172(1)(b);
- load dropping, shifting, leaking/blowing off and not covered under F.S. 316.520(1) and (2); or
- speeding which exceeds the speed limit by 30 mph or more;
- a violation of FS 316.6135(1)(b) -- Leaving a child younger than 6 years of age for any period of time if the motor of the vehicle is running, the health of the child is in danger, or the child appears in distress.
Because these infractions are extremely serious and come with serious collateral consequences, it is important to retain an experienced traffic ticket attorney to accompany you to the mandatory hearing. If you fail to appear in court for the mandatory hearing, then the court will suspend your driver's license.
Traffic Ticket Attorneys for the Mandatory Hearing
The traffic ticket attorneys at Meltzer & Bell, P.A. represent clients who receive a citation for an infraction that requires a mandatory hearing. We also represent clients after their license is suspended because they failed to appear for the mandatory hearing.
After a citation for an infraction requiring a mandatory hearing, our attorneys can appear in court on your behalf.
From our office in Fort Lauderdale, we represent clients with traffic tickets throughout Broward County at the Central Courthouse in Fort Lauderdale, FL, the County Civil North Regional Courthouse in Deerfield Beach, County Civil South Regional Courthouse in Hollywood, and County Civil West Regional Courthouse in Plantation, FL.
From our office in West Palm Beach, FL, we represent clients with infractions throughout Palm Beach County at the Main Courthouse in West Palm Beach, the West County Courthouse in Belle Glade, the North County Courthouse in Palm Beach Gardens, and the South County Courthouse in Delray Beach.
Our attorneys also represent clients in Fort Pierce and Port St. Lucie in St. Lucie County, Hobe Sound and the Village of Indiantown in Martin County, and in Coral Gables, Hialeah, Miami Beach and Miami in Miami-Dade County, FL.
Call (561) 500-5000 today.
- What Type of Infraction Requires a Mandatory Hearing?
- What Happens If I Fail To Appear?
- Mandatory Hearing Infractions under FL Statute § 318.19
Rule 6.040(o) of the Florida Rules of Traffic Court defines the term "infraction requiring a mandatory hearing" to mean "an infraction listed in section 318.19 of the Florida Statutes, which require an appearance before a designated official at the time and location of the scheduled hearing."
Pursuant to Fla. Stat. 318.19, some types of civil infractions, such as those resulting in death or serious bodily injury, must be set for a mandatory court hearing. Thus, the defendant cannot elect to simply pay a fine. Under Fla. Stat. § 318.15(1), if the defendant fails to appear or pay, the clerk shall notify DHSMV to suspend the defendant's driver license.
Keep in mind that the court cannot issue a bench warrant for failure to appear on a non-criminal infraction because an infraction cannot be punished by incarceration as explained in Fla. Stat. § 318.13(3). The traffic court judges may issue arrest warrants, however, for failure to appear on criminal cases as explained in Traffic Rule 6.190(a).
As of September 1, 2010, the driver’s signature is no longer required on the Uniform Traffic Citation (UTC) unless the offense requires a mandatory hearing.
Under Rule 6.620(a) of the Florida Rules of Traffic Court, in any case in which a mandatory hearing is required, and the defendant fails to appear, notice of such failure to appear shall be sent to the department within five (5) days after the failure to comply, in order to comply with the requirements of section 318.15(1), Florida Statutes.
In Rule 6.620(b), if the defendant appears after notice has been sent, the department shall be notified immediately on a form to be supplied by the department, and a hearing shall be held to determine whether the infraction was committed.
Subsection (c) of Rule 6.620 provides that if the defendant’s driver license has been suspended by the department and, after a hearing, it is found that the infraction was committed, the official may require driver's school, if available, as part of the penalty. The defendant shall be given a form supplied by the department, certified by the official, to be taken to the nearest driver license examining station to have the driving privilege reinstated.
Traffic Rule 6.450(g) provides that if the defendant has been properly notified of a trial date and he or she fails to attend, the trial can be held without them and the court can find them guilty.
Under Florida Statute Section 318.19, for the disposition of traffic infractions, certain types of infractions require a mandatory hearing. Any person cited for the infractions listed in Section 318.19, must appear before a designated official at the time and location of the scheduled hearing. Those infractions include:
- Any infraction that results in a crash that causes the death of another;
- Any infraction that results in a crash that causes “serious bodily injury” of another as defined in s. 316.1933(1);
- Any infraction of s. 316.172(1)(b) for using, operating, or driving a vehicle that passes a school bus on the side that children enter and exit when the school bus displays a stop signal;
- Any infraction of s. 316.520(1) or (2) for not properly securing the load or preventing a load from dropping, shifting, leaking, blowing, or otherwise escaping;
- Any infraction of s. 316.183(2), s. 316.187, or s. 316.189 of exceeding the speed limit by 30 m.p.h. or more.
Under Florida Statute Section 318.14(5), if a person appears on an infraction requiring a mandatory hearing he or she is subject to a civil penalty not to exceed $500, except in cases involving unlawful speeding in a school zone or involving unlawful speeding in a construction zone, then the civil penalty may not exceed $1,000; or require attendance at a driver improvement school, or both.
If the person is required to appear before the designated official pursuant to s. 318.19(1), which is an infraction that results in a crash that causes the death of another, and is found to have committed the infraction, the designated official shall impose a civil penalty of $1,000 in addition to any other penalties, and the person’s driver license shall be suspended for six (6) months.
If the person is required to appear before the designated official pursuant to s. 318.19(2) for any infraction which results in a crash that causes “serious bodily injury” of another as defined in s. 316.1933(1) and is found to have committed the infraction, the designated official shall impose a civil penalty of $500 in addition to any other penalties and the person’s driver license shall be suspended for three (3) months.
Under Florida Statute Section 316.1933(1)(b), the term "serious bodily injury" means an injury to any person, including the driver, which consists of a physical condition that creates a substantial risk of death, serious personal disfigurement, or protracted loss or impairment of the function of any bodily member or organ.
This article was last updated on Friday, March 23, 2018.
From left to right: Ari Goldberg, Lawrence Meltzer, Steven Bell, Kristie Cohen, Matthew Shafran
West Palm Beach, FL 33401 (561) 283-3259
330 Clemantis St Suite 113
West Palm Beach, FL 33401 (561) 500-5000
Fort Lauderdale, FL 33316 (954) 716-8538