Again, I am sorry for the delay. I had 2 other customers that I had to assist.
Unlike other states, civil traffic infractions in Florida are prosecuted by the ticketing officer and not the elected state attorney, through one of his or her assistant state attorneys. This means it is you against the ticketing officer.
If you are unable to raise and win a pre-trial motion that the judge is biased according to the Florida Court Rules, and have your case heard by another judge, then you can proceed to trial against the officer.
The officer testifies first. He must establish that the event occurred in the correct jurisdiction, that he made contact with you and established your identity by way of driver’s license or other form of identification, and then attempt to prove the infraction for which you were ticketed. Once the officer rests his case, then the you can cross-examine the police officer. You can ask how far he was away from you when he saw you and how he saw that you didn't have on a seat belt (especially if he was watching where he was driving), and any other questions that may bring his credibility into question.
Then, it will be your turn to testify. You can offer your forms of evidence either in the form of testimony or other visual evidence. Keep in mind that it is not enough to testify that you had on your seat belt. The presumption of correctness lies with the ticketing officer. So, if possible, it is very helpful to have a witness testify on your behalf.
Then, the judge will determine whether the ticketing officer has met his burden of proof. If the judge believes the officer, then the judge will sentence
you. If not, then the case against you is dismissed.
If you are found guilty of the offense, then it is important to ask the judge that adjudication be withheld. This means that you are not convicted of the offense (i.e. no points issued against your driver’s license). The judge will look at your driving record in determining whether to convict you of the offense. Also, the judge will determine the fine.
If you were in an accident on the same day that you received the seat belt ticket, it may be possible that you were in some type of pain (eg. a stiff neck, sore). If you were to go to the Dr. and s/he determined that it would be physically bad for you to wear the seat belt on that day, then that is evidence that could allow your case to be dismissed.
I understand that you think that "it's all about the money." But, I can assure you, there are MANY, MANY people all over the country that have the same feelings as you do. And, like you, there are MANY, MANY people who believe that they did nothing wrong and want to fight their tickets.
You just need to be prepared to cross examine the officer about what he saw or didn't see, whether he was distracted by anything (other traffic or vehicles or trees, traffic lights, buildings) and therefore didn't see that you actually had on your seat belt, make sure that the ticket was properly written, and that you had your seat belt on until the officer stopped you. You may have taken it off so as to get access to your license, insurance, etc.
And, make sure that when you testify, you stay calm and tell the judge the legal reasons as to why you should not be found guilty. Again, you may wish to get a letter from your doctor as to your condition as a result of the accident.
I hope you find this information useful.
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