David Willis

Got a Ticket? Missed a Traffic Court Date?

    Not every traffic citation requires a court appearance and a notice will be mailed to the address on your citation alerting you to any upcoming court dates. Criminal Violations require a mandatory court appearance. They include such charges as Driving Under the Influence (DUI), and Reckless Driving, and if you receive a ticket that does require a court appearance and you miss it, there can be serious consequences for your right to drive in the State of Florida.


    Failure to appear at the date and time indicated on the notice may result in a warrant being issued for your arrest and/or your license being suspended. Once in court, you may plead guilty, not guilty, enter a “no contest” plea, or (for non-criminal citations) you may skip court and pay the citation fine. Paying the fine is treated as a guilty plea, and that conviction will go on your driving record with points against your license.

    If you choose to ignore the ticket, or forgot about it and missed the payment date, the court notifies the DMV of your failure to pay the fine (FTP), and the FTP will be placed on your driving record as well as the citation. An FTP almost always results in suspension of your driver’s license.

    Before you pay that ticket, let David Willis Law Group, P.A. resolve your citation by going to court for you and arguing to keep a guilty plea and points off of your record and license.

    If you have failed to appear in court (FTA), the FTA is noted on your driving record and the court will direct the issuance of a warrant for the arrest of any resident of this state who fails to appear and answer a criminal traffic complaint against whom a complaint or information (charge) has been filed. That can cost you thousands of dollars and adversely affect not on only your driving record, but your criminal record as well.

    For every conviction of a moving traffic law violation that you receive, the court notifies the DMV and the conviction goes on your driver license record.

    If you have a failure to appear or a failure to pay on a current case, please contact the offices of David Willis Law Group, P.A.  as soon as possible. Our dedicated Traffic attorneys will immediately start working to get any possible holds off of your license and to keep your record clean.

Five Things NOT To Do When Arrested

No one expects to be arrested, but it can happen to normally law-abiding, hard-working citizens. Sometimes an extraordinary set of circumstances will combine and you may find yourself in the back of a police officer’s car, but usually one misjudgment or minor mistake on an otherwise average day is all it takes. Remember, being arrested is not the same as being charged with a crime. You can help avoid future charges by avoiding the following behaviors:

1. Save Your Breath

Don’t try to convince the officer of your innocence. It’s useless. He or she only needs “probable cause” to believe you have committed a crime in order to arrest you. He does not decide your guilt and he most likely doesn’t care if you are innocent or not. It is the job of the judge or jury to free you if he is wrong. If you feel that urge to convince him he’s made a mistake, remember the overwhelming probability that instead you will say at least one thing that will hurt your case, perhaps even fatally. It is smarter to save your defense for your lawyer.

2. Don’t Run

Don’t try to escape the police. It’s highly unlikely a suspect could outrun ten radio cars converging on a block in mere seconds. By running, you are signalling to the police you have something to hide or are guilty of an offense. Even worse, the police might suspect you’re running because you have a weapon or are going to retrieve a weapon, perhaps making them quick to draw their own firearms. Most police officers will just arrest a runner, but there are some who will be mad they had to work so hard and will injure the suspect unnecessarily, or will be afraid the runner is going to retrieve a weapon and will shoot a fleeing suspect. Two runners have been shot and killed in separate instances in Jacksonville by JSO for these reasons.

3. Enjoy a QUIET Ride To The Police Station

Assert your right to remain silent! The Supreme Court recently ruled that simply staying silent isn’t enough to invoke your right; you have to actually tell the police officers or detectives you wish to invoke your right to remain silent. The hardest criminal defense cases are those where the arrested person got very talkative. Incredibly, many will start babbling without the police having asked a single question. Judges and juries will discount or ignore what a suspect says that helps him, but give great weight to anything that seems to hurt him. Remember, they are gathering evidence to build a criminal case against you and your statements speak directly to that. You can count on one hand the number of times a suspect was released because of what he told the police after they arrested him.

4. Do Not Give Permission To Search

Don’t give permission to search anywhere. Most searches without a warrant are illegal! If they ask, it probably means they don’t believe they have the right to search and need your consent. You have the right to refuse! If you are ordered to hand over your keys, state loudly “You do NOT have my permission to search.” If bystanders hear you, whatever the police find may be excluded from evidence later. This is also a good reason not to talk should they find something incriminating.

5. Do Not Be An Active Participant in Searches

If the police are searching your car or home, don’t look at the places you wish they wouldn’t search. Don’t react to the search at all, and especially not to questions like “Who does this belong to?” If the police show up at your door without a warrant, step outside then close and lock the door behind you — if you don’t, they might just walk in, and later argue that you implied an invitation by leaving the door open. If they ask to come in, tell them “I do not consent to a search.” Tell roommates, guests, coworkers and renters that they cannot consent on your behalf.

If you find yourself on the wrong end of the law, getting a criminal defense attorney early can make a huge difference in the outcome of your case. David Willis Law Group knows the impact an arrest and subsequent charge can have on your life and future. Let us help you defend your rights. Call (904) 270-8707 or email questions to info@dwlawgroup.com today!