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Boynton Beach Police Department - Protecting Our Community
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Boynton Beach Police Department - Traffic QuestionsTraffic / Vehicle Questions

 

Why do all cops speed?

This is really an unfair question. There is a public perception that police offices may abuse their positions by exceeding the speed limit. Some may, and that is an unfortunate reality; however, police officers know the consequences of excessive speed both from a physical injury and a legal responsibility stand point.

One thing that the general public may not be aware of is that officers sometimes respond to calls that pose a significant risk of danger to themselves and the general public. In some of these cases, the use of emergency equipment such as lights and siren on a vehicle are inappropriate. For instance, if there is a silent hold up alarm at a bank, and you were inside, would you want the person(s) robbing the bank to know that the police were closing in on their location? In this situation, signals of our arrival might escalate the bank robbery into a hostage situation.

As a result of situations such as the one depicted, it's not possible to know when a police car is going to an emergency call. If you feel as though the activities of an officer in a vehicle are inappropriate, you always have the ability to call the station and verify that the officer was responding to a call.

 

Is it true that police officers won't chase law breakers?

With more and more vehicle congestion on our roadways, we must be mindful of the risk to human life when chasing a suspect in a vehicle. It is true that we have, to some degree, limited the conditions in which officers are permitted to chase a suspect in a vehicle. This decision was made with the understanding that we must temper the risks between letting a suspect get away with a crime (for the time being) compared to the risks of injury or death to the general public, officers, and even the suspect during a high speed chase.

Our officers are skilled drivers and receive formal training on a routine basis in emergency operation of their motor vehicles.

 

What should I do if I am pulled over?

If you are pulled over, remain calm. Try to find a well-lit area that is relatively free from moving traffic. If it is night time, turn on the interior dome light of your car and lower your driver's side window. Lower the volume of your stereo and place your hands on your steering wheel.

When the officer requests your driver license, registration, and proof of insurance, you should advise the officer where the items are and slowly reach for them. It is a good idea to produce these items as soon as possible. Consider using a paperclip to affix these items to your driver license and placing them together in your wallet. This should increase the speed of retrieving these items and will speed up the amount of time that you have to sit on the side of the road.

Do not argue the violation with the officer on the side of the road. You are entitled to due process for this alleged violation and you can argue your side of the story to a magistrate. Remember, just because you receive a citation does not mean that you are, as far as the state is concerned, guilty.

When prompted, sign the bottom of the citation, with the same style signature which appears at the bottom of your driver's license. You should receive the yellow copy of the citation or courtesy warning.

 

What are my options if I get a ticket?

You have three options to take care of a moving citation.

  1. You can take the citation to court and contest the charge. If you do, the officer will have to make a case against you.
     
    Pro:
    The magistrate may throw the case out if the officer doesn't show up or lacks documentation to make his/her case. The magistrate may also withhold points or reduce the fine.
    Con:
    You could be fined up to $500, and if you forget you attend court, your license will be suspended.
     
     
  2. You can pay the fine and take the points against your license.
     
    Pro:
    Write a check, call in a credit card number... the ordeal is over and you can get on with your life.
    Con:
    Insurance rates tend to increase with your points and with the accumulation of too many points in too short of a period of time will result to a license revocation by the state.
     
  3. You can elect to attend a driver improvement school, pay a reduced fine, plus a school registration fee.
     
    Pro:
    You get no points on your record (in most cases) and your insurance rates don't go up.
    Con:
    When you get done paying the fine and registration fee, you end up paying more then the citation (in most cases).
     

 

What if I am not sure if the car pulling me over is really a police car?

If you are close by, drive to the police station. If you are not, continue driving in a non-aggressive manner to a well populated area with a high volume of people out in the open. If you are unsure that the vehicle is a police car because it is unmarked, then wait until a marked police vehicle joins the unmarked vehicle. If you have a cell phone, consider calling the police department to verify that the officer is in fact legitimate. Instances of people posing as police officers are not as common as you might think, but it is prudent to have a plan if you face a situation that you think may be dangerous to you.

 

How do I know if my license is valid or suspended?

You can go to a local driver license bureau and request that they pull up your license.

 

What should I do if I am in a traffic accident?

If you are in danger of being struck by oncoming traffic, move the vehicles out of the path of danger. Assess the need for first aid to yourself and any other involved party. Call the police. A report is optional if there are no injuries, there is under $500.00 worth of combined property damage, and both vehicles can leave on their own.

 

Just how fast can I drive before the police will give me a ticket?

You can be pulled over for exceeding the posted speed limit no matter how much over you are. Tickets may be issued based on the discretion of the individual officer.

 

If an officer requests that I stay in my car or get out of my car, do I have to?

Yes. The United States Supreme Court has ruled that a police officer has the lawful authority to place you in a controlled position while you are in their custody on a traffic stop.

Supporting cases:

PENNSYLVANIA v. MIMMS, 434 U.S. 106 (1977)
MARYLAND v. WILSON

 

I received an equipment violation ticket. How do I resolve it?

Take it to any police station or sheriff's department in the State of Florida within the allotted time period. An officer will inspect the correction and sign the back of the citation. Retain a copy of the citation and either drop off or mail the signed ticket plus the appropriate dismissal fee to either the main courthouse in West Palm Beach or the South Courthouse in Delray Beach.

 

When do I know when I have had too much to drink to drive?

The answer to this question is not concrete. Due to different concentrations of water in male and female bodies, the rate each individual metabolizes alcohol, the amount of alcohol in a particular drink...etc. It would be irresponsible to attempt to give you this information. When in doubt, let someone else drive. If that is not an alternative, wait.

 

What is implied consent?

Implied consent is an agreement that you have entered into with the State of Florida when you signed your driver license. It states that you agree to submit to testing of your breath, blood or urine when requested by a law enforcement officer who suspects you of driving under the influence. Refusal to comply with your implied consent agreement will result in the suspension of your license for a period of one year for a first refusal and eighteen months for each additional refusal.

 

Are seatbelts dangerous if I am knocked out in a traffic accident and my car catches on fire or goes into a canal?

If you are knocked out in a traffic crash, you aren't going to be able to free yourself from the car anyway. Remember, less then 1% of all accidents involve water or fire.

There are actually three collisions which occur whenever you are in a vehicle crash. The first impact occurs when the body of your vehicle collides with another object. The second collision occurs when your body, inside of the vehicle, continues to travel at the speed of the vehicle prior to impact, and strikes another object within the vehicle... such as a steering wheel. The third impact occurs when the organs within your body, which are also traveling at the same rate of speed that your vehicle was originally traveling, impact the skeletal system. The use of a seatbelt helps spread out the impact of a crash across the body and lessens the effects of the second two crashes within the crash.

 

What are the legal parameters for use of a child restraint seat?

Florida Statute 316.613 mandates that every operator of a motor vehicle, while transporting a child, must provide protection of the child by properly using a crash-tested, federally approved, child restraint device.

Applications:

BIRTH THROUGH THREE (3) YEARS- separate federally-approved carrier

FOUR (4) THROUGH FIVE (5) YEARS- separate federally-approved carrier or seat belt

This is a primary enforcement effort, so you can be pulled over solely for this traffic violation

 

Why do I sometimes see police cars parked on the curb outside of businesses?

Police officers frequently park their patrol vehicle on the curb next to a business because of the possibility that they may have to take someone at that location into custody. Subsequently, a walk across the parking lot would increase the opportunity for escape, gives the "bad guy" more of an opportunity to assault the officer, and increases the possibility of injury to the officer or suspect by vehicular traffic. Departmental policy authorizes this practice when an officer is acting in their official capacity and regular parking is not practical.