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Robert Blanchard
Robert Blanchard
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Florida Bar Advice to the Public Needs Clarification

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As part of public information provided by the Florida Bar about “what to in case of an auto accident,” the Florida Bar website advises that guilty pleas in traffic infraction cases can be used in a civil lawsuit (as in a personal ijury case). However, Section 318.14(4) states:

318.14 Noncriminal traffic infractions; exception; procedures.–

(4) Except as provided in subsection (12), any person charged with a noncriminal infraction under this section who does not elect to appear shall pay the civil penalty and delinquent fee, if applicable, either by mail or in person, within 30 days after the date of issuance of the citation. If the person cited follows the above procedure, he or she shall be deemed to have admitted the infraction and to have waived his or her right to a hearing on the issue of commission of the infraction. Such admission shall not be used as evidence in any other proceedings.

So if it is simply a traffic infraction, any payment of the fine or guilty plea cannot be used in a civil case. Nonethelss, if it is a criminal charge, not an infraction, the guilty plea would be admissable.

The other information provided by the bar is very helpful, expaining what to do in case of an autommobile accident. The section referred to above says:

With the exception of your exchange of required information, you should not comment on the accident. Keep your notes and opinions to yourself. Do not admit you were wrong or careless. Such admissions, made in the tension and excitement of the moment, may be accurate, but they could turn out to be costly. There is time to admit responsibility after the facts are all in if they clearly show you were wrong. If the accident was a serious one, you should consult a lawyer as soon as possible before arriving at any agreements with anyone, and before making any admissions. A plea of guilty to a traffic charge may sometimes be used against you in a lawsuit to establish your civil liability for damages.
See all of the information provided at Florida Bar.