From May 21, 2018 through June 3, 2018, law enforcement personnel in the St. Petersburg, Clearwater, and surrounding areas of Pinellas County will have a targeted patrol looking for individuals who are not wearing their seatbelts. During this operation, the officers will be issuing warnings and citations.
Change in the Law Allows Traffic Stops for Seat Belt Violations
On June 30, 2009, the Florida statutes were amended making a seat belt violation a primary offense. This means that prior to that date, law enforcement could not pull you over for a seat belt violation unless they had observed some other violation at the same time. However, the change in the law, known as “The Dori Slosberg and Katie Marchetti Safety Belt Law” allows the officers to conduct a traffic stop, detain you, and issue you a citation in the absence of any other traffic or criminal offense.
Traffic Stops for Seat Belt Violations Can Lead to Criminal Arrests
It goes without saying that many times, a problem as minor as a traffic citation can lead to bigger problems, such as an arrest for a criminal offense. Our attorneys are often contacted by clients who were stopped by the police for a civil traffic infraction, that later led to an arrest. Such cases can occur when:
- The officer believes that he subject has been drinking or is under the influence of chemical or controlled substances;
- If a search of your “rap sheet” reveals that you have an outstanding warrant for your arrest;
- If the officer “smells marijuana” or otherwise discovers that there are drugs or other contraband within the vehicle; or
- If your driver’s license is suspended.
Seatbelt Violations Will, at the Very Least, Hurt Your Wallet
If you are issued a citation for a violation of Florida’s seatbelt law, you should know that it is not a moving violation and, as a result, does not carry with it the imposition of points against your driver’s license. However, that does not mean that disobedience of this law is without consequence. In Pinellas County, the fine associated with a safety belt violation is $116.00, even for a first offender.
Experienced Pinellas County Defense Lawyers
If you have been arrested for a criminal offense stemming from a seatbelt or other traffic stop, call our office at (727) 578-0303 for a free consultation. During our meeting, we can discuss the legality of the traffic stop, the best strategy for securing a favorable outcome in your case, and whether you are eligible to have the record of the offense sealed or expunged.
The members of our criminal defense team are former state prosecutors who have a combined twenty-five years of experience handling criminal matters in Pinellas County.
The Law Offices of Russo Pelletier & Sullivan, P.A.
9721 Executive Center Drive North
St. Petersburg, FL 33702
If you have a traffic ticket or a criminal case resulting from a traffic stop in Pinellas County, we can help! Call our office today at 727-578-0303.