Most drivers are aware that they be subject to a citation or fines for speeding, failing to obey street signs or traffic lights, or not carrying the appropriate insurance. In addition to these actions, drivers can also be ticketed if their vehicle is found to be in unsafe condition. But what exactly does that mean, and who determines whether a vehicle is road safe or not?
What Is a Faulty Equipment Ticket?
A faulty equipment ticket may be issued in Florida if a vehicle is missing a necessary component, if a component is not in working order, or if the vehicle is believed to be a danger to the driver, to others on the roadways, or to property.
As a driver, you may think that you’re just fine with a small crack in your windshield or without a side mirror, however, a police office may have a different opinion. Police officers will commonly pull over vehicles that have lights out, that have windows with tint that is too dark, or that have broken or cracked windshields or windows. Many officers will simply issue a warning for a small infraction and inform the driver that they need to have the issue taken care of. Other officers will issue a citation.
A faulty equipment ticket requires that the cited issue be taken care of within 30 days of issuance. In order to prove the owner of the vehicle has repaired the problem, the vehicle must be reinspected by an officer within 30 days and the fine must be paid. This fine may vary but is generally around $100.
Which Faulty Equipment Can Get You Pulled Over?
Unfortunately for drivers, what constitutes “faulty equipment” is not spelled out in detail in Florida law. Police officers are tasked with making the subjective decision to pull over vehicles if they believe that it poses a threat to the driver, to other drivers, or to personal property. This is a large purview and can easily come under abuse.
In one case, Zarba v. State of Florida (11/16/2007), an officer pulled over a driver because a brake light was out. During the course of the stop, the officer determined the driver was driving on a suspended license. The driver challenged his arrest, saying he never should’ve been pulled over for a faulty equipment ticket because his vehicle featured a center brake light in addition to the left and right brake light. The judge ruled in favor of the driver, saying that the center brake light was sufficient, even though the right brake light was not working, and that he should never have been pulled over.
While officers may have wide discretion to determine what constitutes faulty, the courts serve to check that discretion and ensure that officers are being fair. This is especially important because the faulty equipment traffic stop is often used as a method for stopping suspect vehicles that officers want to further search. Anything that is broken on your vehicle—mirrors, lights, light covers, windshields—can be used as probably cause for a traffic stop, as can dark tinting and bald tires.
Consulting With a Tampa Faulty Equipment Ticket Lawyer
If you are pulled over and given a faulty equipment ticket in Florida, you have legal options. While it is important to repair any broken components that can make your vehicle unsafe, your driving record doesn’t have to suffer. Consulting with a skilled Florida faulty equipment ticket lawyer can help you determine your next steps.
A Florida faulty equipment ticket lawyer can help you better understand the implications of your ticket and assist you with the process of rectifying any problems with your vehicle and presenting it for inspection. Faulty equipment tickets must be dealt with quickly. Contact a Florida faulty equipment ticket lawyer today to learn more.