Monday, January 25, 2010

Florida $1000 speeding ticket / Florida One Thousand Dollar Ticket

What cracks me up is that most people will end up here because they just got one of these horrendous things.  I had a client with two of them at the same time, on the same traffic stop.  This can only happen on a motorcycle.  The $1000.00 fine imposed by the Florida legislature does not only effect those people who think it is a good idea to go 50 mph over the speed limit, but also Motorcyclists (and god forbid, moped riders).  The statutory road map to the $1000.00 fine is somewhat confusing, so let me try to to make it easier for you.

It all starts out with Fla. Stat 316.1926  which contains section (1) and section (2). Section (1) contains punishment for Motorcyclists and Moped Riders.  Section (2) contains punishment for people who travel more than 50 mph on the roads of the state of Florida, still no mention of $1000.00 fine.

I have gotten a few of these $1000.00 tickets dismissed because the statute that actually mentions the fine, section 318.14(13)(a) states "A person cited for a violation of s. 316.1926 shall, in addition to any other requirements provided in this section, pay a fine of $1,000." (emphasis added)  The officers have not yet fully gotten around to all citing people for violations of 316.1926, but instead citing them for violations of sections 316.2085 or 316.183 or 187 or 189 instead.  I have even seen a clerks memorandum regarding this (that I was told was written because I had just won a case on the matter), and they correctly commented about the speeding, but incorrectly commented about how to cite the motorcycle statute. 

Section (1) of 316.1926 references another statute, Fla. Stat 316.2805 sections (2) or (3).  The typical reason officers cite an individual with a violation of section (2) is for what I like to call "popping a wheelie" but I'm sure that crotch rocket riders have a better name for it by now because writing the phrase "popping a wheelie" makes me feel like an old man. Also, however, standing up on the seat of a motorcycle can be one of these tickets, and also riding side saddle, if that's even possible.

This $1000.00 punishment is harsh on Motorcyclists and only applies to them.  Well, them and moped riders, but the truth is, if you are popping wheelies or riding side saddle on a moped, you deserve a $1000.00 ticket.  Defenses to popping wheelies are included in the language of the statute.  "It is not a violation ... if the wheels .. lose contact with the ground briefly due to ..circumstances beyond the control of the operator."

Section (2) of Fla. Stat 316.2805 is, as far as I am concerned, an issue which is worth challenging. I personally have fought this and written memorandum in support of the unconstitutionality of this section.  This statute concerns the permanent placement of motorcycle license plates and was amended in 2009 and substituted the language of "to the vehicle" for "horizontally to the ground" and thus vertical license plates on motorcycles (standard for many factory makes) are no longer subject to the $1000.00 fine.

However, the case where I challenged the constitutionality of this section was the vagueness and selective nature of the terms "The license tag of a motorcycle or moped must be permanently affixed to the vehicle and may not be adjusted or capable of being flipped up."

In my memorandum arguing against the constitutionality of the statute (I was fighting a case where a guy had a license plate that was capable of being bent due to the mounting bracket under his seat) I invoked the name of a philosopher by the name of Mavrodes who asked, "Can God make a stone he cannot lift?"  I know, it's cheesy to include such comments in a legal memorandum, and who in their right mind knows Mavrodes or the paradox of the stone?   But the ticket was dismissed based on the memorandum.

Any license tag may be adjusted.  Any license on a motorcycle is capable of being "flipped up."  All you need is the right tools.  Poor legislative drafting, if you ask me.

Finally, we get to 316.1926(2), or speeding 50 mph or over in violation of 316.183(2), s. 316.187, or s. 316.189 .  Not much is different here.  My own belief is that this law was enacted to counterbalance the fact that the Florida racing law was declared unconstitutional in State v. Wells.  The Florida racing law is still on the books, but it has been 5 months or more since I've heard that anyone has been charged under the racing law.

I am not going to go into the standard defenses of speeding tickets, but they are all the same in these cases involving the $1000.00 ticket. 


  1. Great and cool article man...thanx for the great post...keep on posting such articles... Wheels Florida

  2. So basically, if you're gonna ride a motorcycle... don't do stupid $%^&... or you're gonna end up with a fat ticket to pay.

    Sarah |