If you were cited for a traffic infraction in a crash that involved a fatality, your citation requires a mandatory court appearance. The courts in Palm Beach County have created special rules for these types of cases because of their sensitive nature. For this reason, the courts specially set these hearings.
To set up special procedures for these hearings, the Chief Judge signed Administrative Order No. 10.201-9.08, issued pursuant to the Florida Rule of Judicial Administration 2.215.
If your case is scheduled in the Main Courthouse in West Palm Beach then it will be segregated from other traffic infractions and then assigned to the Civil Division Judges of the County who sit in the Main Courthouse on a rotational basis after the entry of any plea.
If the fatality-involved traffic infraction hearing was scheduled in a satellite courthouse facility it will be segregated from other traffic infractions and then forwarded to the appropriately assigned satellite courthouse judge. The clerk's office will forward the fatality-involved traffic infraction to the assigned judge along with the file that contains a copy of the citation, witness lists, and request for designation of the hearing.
The assigned judge will review the court file, designate a courtroom for the hearing, schedule a hearing date and time, and return the file with the designations to the clerk. The clerk will then issue all subpoenas and notices to the proper parties, attorneys and witnesses.
In Florida, special considerations apply when the court sentences a driver for a civil infraction when a death or serious bodily injury has occurred as explained in Florida Statute Section §318.14(5).
When another person dies as the result of the crash and the defendant is found to have committed the infraction which results in a crash that causes the death of another, section 318.19(1) required the court to:
When another person suffers serious bodily injury as the result of the crash and the defendant is found to have committed the infraction which results in a crash that causes the serious bodily injury of another, §318.19(2) requires the court to:
The 2017 versions of the Florida Statute created additional mandatory penalties for sentencing drivers convicted of passing a stopped school bus when that infraction resulted in death or personal injuries. These provisions were added by the Florida legislature to Florida Statute §316.027.
The Cameron Mayhew Act allows the court to require the driver cited for passing a stopped school bus when that infraction causes either death or serious bodily injury to serve 120 community service hours in a trauma center or hospital that regularly receives victims of vehicle accidents, under the supervision of a registered nurse, an emergency room physician, or an emergency medical technician pursuant to a voluntary community service program operated by the trauma center or hospital.
Additionally, if the infraction results in death, the court can order the driver to participate in a victim’s impact panel session in a judicial circuit if such a panel exists, or if such a panel does not exist, attend a department-approved driver improvement course relating to the rights of vulnerable road users relative to vehicles on the roadway as provided in s. 322.0261(2).
Finally, the Cameron Mayhew Act made changes to Florida Statute Section 322.27 to require 4 points for the infraction of passing a stopped school bus not causing or resulting in serious bodily injury to or death of another, but 6 points when it causes or results in serious bodily injury to or death of another.
If you received a traffic citation for a violation involving a crash in which another person died, a mandatory hearing is required in Palm Beach County or Broward County. Don't face the judge alone.
Call us at (561) 557-8686 to discuss your case. Your future is on the line, and we can help guide you through this serious and overwhelming matter. We undertake challenging cases from across Palm Beach County and Broward County, Florida.
This article was last updated on Wednesday, November 21, 2018.
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