Section 318.14, Florida Statutes 2003
318.14 Noncriminal traffic infractions; exception; procedures.--
(1) Except as provided in ss. 318.17 and 320.07(3)(c), any person cited for a violation of chapter 316, s. 320.0605, s. 320.07(3)(a) or (b), s. 322.065, s. 322.15(1), s. 322.16(2) or (3), s. 322.161(5), s. 322.19, or s. 1006.66(3) is charged with a noncriminal infraction and must be cited for such an infraction and cited to appear before an official. If another person dies as a result of the noncriminal infraction, the person cited may be required to perform 120 community service hours under s. 316.027(4), in addition to any other penalties.
(2) Except as provided in s. 316.1001(2), any person cited for an infraction under this section must sign and accept a citation indicating a promise to appear. The officer may indicate on the traffic citation the time and location of the scheduled hearing and must indicate the applicable civil penalty established in s. 318.18.
(3) Any person who willfully refuses to accept and sign a summons is guilty of a misdemeanor of the second degree.
(4) Except as provided in subsection (12), any person charged with a noncriminal infraction under this section who does not elect to appear shall pay the civil penalty and delinquent fee, if applicable, either by mail or in person, within 30 days after the date of issuance of the citation. If the person cited follows the above procedure, he or she shall be deemed to have admitted the infraction and to have waived his or her right to a hearing on the issue of commission of the infraction. Such admission shall not be used as evidence in any other proceedings. Any person who is cited for a violation of s. 320.0605 or s. 322.15(1), or subject to a penalty under s. 320.07(3)(a) or (b) or s. 322.065, and who makes an election under this subsection shall submit proof of compliance with the applicable section to the clerk of the court. For the purposes of this subsection, proof of compliance consists of a valid driver's license or a valid registration certificate.
(5) Any person electing to appear before the designated official or who is required so to appear shall be deemed to have waived his or her right to the civil penalty provisions of s. 318.18. The official, after a hearing, shall make a determination as to whether an infraction has been committed. If the commission of an infraction has been proven, the official may impose a civil penalty not to exceed $500, except that in cases involving unlawful speed in a school zone, involving unlawful speed in a construction zone, or involving a death, the civil penalty may not exceed $1,000; or require attendance at a driver improvement school, or both. If the official determines that no infraction has been committed, no costs or penalties shall be imposed and any costs or penalties that have been paid shall be returned.
(6) The commission of a charged infraction at a hearing under this chapter must be proved beyond a reasonable doubt.
(7) The official having jurisdiction over the infraction shall certify to the department within 10 days after payment of the civil penalty that the defendant has admitted to the infraction. If the charge results in a hearing, the official having jurisdiction shall certify to the department the final disposition within 10 days of the hearing.
(8) When a report of a determination or admission of an infraction is received by the department, it shall proceed to enter the proper number of points on the licensee's driving record in accordance with s. 322.27.
(9) Any person who is cited for an infraction under this section other than a violation of s. 320.0605, s. 320.07(3)(a) or (b), s. 322.065, s. 322.15(1), s. 322.61, or s. 322.62 may, in lieu of a court appearance, elect to attend in the location of his or her choice within this state a basic driver improvement course approved by the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles. In such a case, adjudication must be withheld; points, as provided by s. 322.27, may not be assessed; and the civil penalty that is imposed by s. 318.18(3) must be reduced by 18 percent; however, a person may not make an election under this subsection if the person has made an election under this subsection in the preceding 12 months. A person may make no more than five elections under this subsection. The requirement for community service under s. 318.18(8) is not waived by a plea of nolo contendere or by the withholding of adjudication of guilt by a court.
(10)(a) Any person cited for an offense listed under this subsection may, in lieu of payment of fine or court appearance, elect to enter a plea of nolo contendere and provide proof of compliance to the clerk of the court or authorized operator of a traffic violations bureau. In such case, adjudication shall be withheld; however, no election shall be made under this subsection if such person has made an election under this subsection in the 12 months preceding election hereunder. No person may make more than three elections under this subsection. This subsection applies to the following offenses:
1. Operating a motor vehicle without a valid driver's license in violation of the provisions of s. 322.03, s. 322.065, or s. 322.15(1), or operating a motor vehicle with a license which has been suspended for failure to appear, failure to pay civil penalty, or failure to attend a driver improvement course pursuant to s. 322.291.
2. Operating a motor vehicle without a valid registration in violation of s. 320.0605, s. 320.07, or s. 320.131.
3. Operating a motor vehicle in violation of s. 316.646.
(b) Any person cited for an offense listed in this subsection shall present proof of compliance prior to the scheduled court appearance date. For the purposes of this subsection, proof of compliance shall consist of a valid, renewed, or reinstated driver's license or registration certificate and proper proof of maintenance of security as required by s. 316.646. Notwithstanding waiver of fine, any person establishing proof of compliance shall be assessed court costs of $22, except that a person charged with violation of s. 316.646(1)-(3) may be assessed court costs of $7. One dollar of such costs shall be remitted to the Department of Revenue for deposit into the Child Welfare Training Trust Fund of the Department of Children and Family Services. One dollar of such costs shall be distributed to the Department of Juvenile Justice for deposit into the Juvenile Justice Training Trust Fund. Twelve dollars of such costs shall be distributed to the municipality and $8 shall be retained by the county, if the offense was committed within the municipality. If the offense was committed in an unincorporated area of a county or if the citation was for a violation of s. 316.646(1)-(3), the county shall retain the entire amount, except for the moneys to be deposited into the Child Welfare Training Trust Fund and the Juvenile Justice Training Trust Fund. This subsection shall not be construed to authorize the operation of a vehicle without a valid driver's license, without a valid vehicle tag and registration, or without the maintenance of required security.
(11) If adjudication is withheld for any person charged or cited under this section, such action is not a conviction.
(12) Any person cited for a violation of s. 316.1001 may, in lieu of making an election as set forth in subsection (4) or s. 318.18(7), elect to pay his or her fine directly to the governmental entity that issued the citation, within 30 days after the date of issuance of the citation. Any person cited for a violation of s. 316.1001 who does not elect to pay the fine directly to the governmental entity that issued the citation as described in this section shall have an additional 45 days after the date of the issuance of the citation in which to pay the civil penalty and delinquent fee, if applicable, as provided in s. 318.18(7), either by mail or in person, in accordance with subsection (4).
History.--s. 1, ch. 74-377; s. 2, ch. 79-27; s. 194, ch. 81-259; s. 7, ch. 82-97; s. 22, ch. 83-215; s. 268, ch. 84-309; s. 14, ch. 84-359; s. 59, ch. 85-180; s. 2, ch. 85-250; s. 1, ch. 86-12; s. 5, ch. 86-154; s. 2, ch. 86-182; ss. 1, 3, ch. 86-185; s. 1, ch. 87-108; s. 1, ch. 88-50; s. 53, ch. 89-282; s. 2, ch. 90-230; ss. 1, 6, ch. 91-200; ss. 1, 5, ch. 92-195; s. 19, ch. 93-164; ss. 13, 36, ch. 94-306; s. 908, ch. 95-148; s. 58, ch. 95-267; s. 2, ch. 95-326; s. 7, ch. 96-200; s. 43, ch. 96-350; s. 8, ch. 96-414; s. 46, ch. 97-300; s. 58, ch. 99-8; s. 94, ch. 99-13; ss. 7, 249, ch. 99-248; s. 27, ch. 2001-122; s. 963, ch. 2002-387; s. 27, ch. 2003-1; s. 21, ch. 2003-286.