Re: Had My Seat Belt On, Pulled Over for Speeding, Got a Seat Belt Violation
This sounds like the FHP in Miami-Dade. I wouldn't be surprised if it was. But to that effect: what court is this?
F.S. 316.614 requires you to be in a moving motor vehicle to be guilty of this violation. If you really want to fight it, you need to prove that you were on the side of the road, stopped, and the car was not being "operated," i.e. not running. This can be established by asking the officer when he noticed you not wearing your seat belt.
So here's the law: (5) It is unlawful for any person 18 years of age or older to be a passenger in the front seat of a motor vehicle unless such person is restrained by a safety belt when the vehicle is in motion.
Seeing as the vehicle was not in motion, you should be able to have this case dismissed. That is, if the officer doesn't lie in open court.
If you want, you can request the officer's notes from the court to be prepared for what he's going to say. Fla has a very informal discovery process.
To that effect, I think it would be wise to have you both schedule a hearing on the same day. You should BOTH fight the ticket. As I see it, he's in the same boat and is being "shafted" as well. Also, there's nothing to lose for him as well- the officer cannot amend the citation in open court, he can only amend the citation before court has started. Only the prosecutor can amend the citation in open court. Most jurisdictions have the officers fight the tickets themselves rather than waste a prosecutor's time.
So, why not make another road trip out of it? I guarantee you'll learn a lot. You'll probably enjoy the experience as well.
If you need a copy of the FL Rules of Traffic Court, let me know and I will send one your way.
"A jury consists of twelve persons chosen to decide who has the better lawyer." ~Robert Frost