Accident Report Privilege
Traffic criminal offenses are some of the most common criminal charges faced by residents of Florida. Because Florida has such an inadequate public transportation infrastructure, motor vehicle travel has grown as the only source of medium and long distance travel for a majority of Floridians. As a result of the proliferation of motor vehicle travel, the State of Florida has instituted an enormous amount of civil and criminal regulations with respect to operating a motor vehicle. Many of us have been pulled over and cited for speeding, registration violations, window tints and any number of other traffic infractions.
Many types of traffic law violations are also crimes. DUI, Driving with a Suspended License, and Leaving the Scene of an Accident are all common traffic criminal offenses. In order to be proven guilty and convicted for any crime, the State must prove all elements of the offense beyond and to the exclusion of any reasonable doubt. Because of this high evidentiary standard, police and investigators are specially trained to collect as much evidence in any case to make sure they secure a conviction. Because of this fact, it is important that drivers in Florida understand all of their rights and responsibilities under the law. If you have found yourself charged with a traffic criminal offense, even though it may seem minor, you should protect your rights by hiring a dedicated St. Petersburg traffic criminal lawyer.Your Rights Under the Accident Report Privilege
There are a myriad of ways that you can come in contact with a police officer who is investigating you for a traffic criminal offense. Most often, people are pulled over for minor traffic violations that results in a more thorough investigation. The other common occurrence is that a police officer will come in contact with people who have been involved in a traffic crash and may conduct a criminal investigation if other evidence surfaces. This article deals with the rights that you have if an officer questions you regarding a criminal offense after you have been involved in a traffic accident. People involved in traffic crashes can be investigated for all sorts of criminal offenses. If an officer smells alcohol, they may investigate you for DUI. You can be investigated for driving with a suspended license or driving without vehicle registration. Most people are aware of their Miranda rights, especially the right to remain silent. When the police are conducting a criminal investigation, it is usually in your best interest to exercise that right and not to tell them anything without first consulting a specialized St. Petersburg traffic criminal lawyer.
A little known exception is that, if you are involved in an accident and an officer questions you, you MUST answer his or her questions. This is one of the only circumstances that a law enforcement officer can actually compel you to talk about what happened in order for them to put together a traffic crash report required by law. However, because you are forced to talk about what happened, there are legal protections put in place.
Under Florida Statute 316.006(4), anything you say to an officer during his or her traffic crash investigation is privileged information that cannot be used against you in a criminal or civil case. Investigating officers are often aware of this law, but if they are not, your case can greatly benefit by the exclusion of your statements. An experienced St. Petersburg traffic criminal lawyer will be able to exploit the mistakes made by the police to benefit your case.Speak to the Lawyers at Hanlon Law Today
The attorneys at Hanlon Law are well versed in the ins and outs of the criminal justice system. We have the skills and resources to secure the best results for you and your loved ones. Don’t hesitate to contact us today at 727.897.5413.