Monday, July 1 was the first day of the new fiscal year. Each year in the beginning of July, states throughout the nation implement new laws, rules, and regulations that voters or legislators have previously approved. This year, common threads throughout the nation included laws on topics ranging from abortion rights to firearms regulations to everything in between. In Florida, more than 150 laws went into effect on Monday with the endorsement of Governor Rick Scott. Among these laws, some of the most important include policy changes for state budgets, new high school graduation standards, and teacher pay raises. In the context of new criminal laws, Florida has also implemented a few new changes – the infamous "bong ban," new time frames in the criminal justice system, and a new driving offense.
As previously blogged about, Florida's new "bong ban" went into effect on Monday. The legislation – known officially as House Bill 49 – is designed to prevent retailers from "willfully and knowingly" selling marijuana smoking devices. While the law was enacted amid considerable controversy, and although many believe it is riddled with loopholes and ineffective provisions, the law is nonetheless now part of the Florida statutes. You can read more about Florida's "bong ban" and what residents can expect when facing criminal allegations for marijuana-related offenses on our previous blog.
As for the new time frames in the criminal justice system, Florida enacted the Timely Justice Act of 2013 – a measure that creates tighter time limits for appeals and post-conviction motions. It also requires reporting on case progress. Legislators believe the new time frame limitations will provide the Florida criminal justice system with clarity and transparency by providing inmates with official notification when they have exhausted appeals.
Another law that hit the books this week targets slow drivers. Under the new law, motorists who drive more than 10 miles per hour under the posted speed limit in the left lane can now be ticketed. According to policymakers, the new slow driver law is designed to improve the flow of traffic and reduce the risks of accidents created by slow drivers in the left lane. Law enforcement officers throughout the state will now be enforcing the traffic law. One of the more debated bills – a law to ban texting while driving – will not take effect in Florida until October.
Although many do not feel that a traffic ticket is serious enough to warrant the services of an attorney, the fact remains that traffic offenses do have the potential to negatively impact drivers. Traffic infractions can result in fines, possible points on your driver's license, increased insurance premiums, and other repercussions that may affect your future and financial well-being. Contrary to what many have been led to believe, traffic tickets can be challenged and they can be beat, especially with the assistance of a proven lawyer.
At Parks & Baxton, PA, our Miami criminal defense and traffic ticket attorneys always stay up to date with the latest policy changes in the state to ensure that we deliver the highest quality legal services and representation possible to our clients. We provide proven support and representation to local residents facing a variety of criminal allegations, including those involving marijuana drug crimes and traffic tickets. If you would like to learn more about the new Florida "bong ban" or the new Florida traffic law targeting slow drivers, your rights, and how our legal team can be of assistance, contact our firm today.