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February 15, 2013
Amendments to the Traffic Court Rules

The Florida Bar’s Traffic Court Rules Committee (Rules Committee) and the Traffic Court Rules Committee of the Conference of County Court Judges of Florida (Conference) have submitted to the Florida Supreme Court an out-of-cycle report addressing whether the Florida Rules of Traffic Court should be amended to include a model colloquy that informs a defendant of his or her right not to provide testimony that may incriminate him or her in a pending or potential criminal case. See In re Amendments to Fla. Rules of Traffic Court, 95 So. 3d 117, 121 (Fla. 2012). The Committee proposes that Florida Rule of Traffic Court 6.450(b) be amended to include such a model colloquy. The Conference does not believe a model colloquy is needed, but has submitted its own colloquy language and also proposes an amendment to Florida Rule of Traffic Court 6.630 that would require traffic hearing officers to receive training on how to handle situations in which a defendant’s right to remain silent may be implicated. The court invites all interested persons to comment on the proposals, which are reproduced in full below, as well as online at www.floridasupremecourt.org/decisions/proposed.shtml. An original and nine paper copies of all comments must be filed with the Court on or before March 15, 2013, with a certificate of service verifying that a copy has been served on the Conference Chair, Debra Roberts, 7530 Little Road, New Port Rickey, Florida 34654, ktrulock@verizon.net, the Rules Committee Chair, David Ashley Haenel, 200 N. Washington Boulevard, Sarasota, Florida 34236-5922, david@fightyourcase.com, and the Bar Staff Liaison to the Rules Committee, Heather Telfer, 651 E. Jefferson Street, Tallahassee, Florida 32399-2300, htelfer@flabar.org, as well as a separate request for oral argument if the person filing the comment wishes to participate in oral argument, which may be scheduled in this case. The Chairs have until April 5, 2013, to file responses to any comments filed with the Court. Electronic copies of all comments also must be filed in accordance with the Court’s administrative order In re Mandatory Submission of Electronic Copies of Documents, Fla. Admin. Order No. AOSC04-84 (Sept. 13, 2004).

IN THE SUPREME COURT OF FLORIDA

IN RE: AMENDMENTS TO THE FLORIDA RULES OF TRAFFIC COURT, CASE NO. 12-2424

RULES COMMITTEE’S PROPOSAL:

RULE 6.450. ORDER OF HEARING

(a) [No Change]

(b) Description of Procedure. Before the commen­cement of a hearing the official shall briefly describe and explain the purposes and procedure of the hearing and the rights of the defendant ., which shall include an advisement to defendants present that:

“Any statement made during the course of these proceedings can and will be used against you should you be charged criminally as a result of the incident that gave rise to this citation. If you believe that your actions could give rise to criminal charges, you have the right to remain silent. If you choose to testify, you are giving up your right to remain silent and you must then also answer any questions related to your testimony.”

(c) - (g) [No Change]

CONFERENCE’S PROPOSALS:

RULE 6.450. ORDER OF HEARING

(a) [No Change]

(b) Description of Procedure. Before the commencement of a hearing the official shall briefly describe and explain the purposes and procedure of the hearing and the rights of the defendant., which shall include an advisement to defendants present that if a defendant is facing the possibility of any criminal charge arising out of the incident giving rise to the traffic citation, the defendant has the right to remain silent under the U.S. Constitution. The advisement should be in substantially the following form: “Today’s cases are civil cases, and not criminal cases. Generally the court can require you to testify in a civil proceeding. However, there is an exception when you can establish that your answers in court could be used to support your conviction for a criminal offense. If you believe your testimony might be used against you in a criminal proceeding, you have the right to remain silent and not respond to any questions in this proceeding. Keep in mind that should you testify in this case, anything you say may be used against you not only in this case, but in any criminal proceeding. Finally, if you nevertheless choose to testify, you must then also answer any questions related to your testimony.”

(c) – (g) [No Change]

RULE 6.630. CIVIL TRAFFIC INFRACTION HEARING OFFICER
PROGRAM; TRAFFIC HEARING OFFICERS


Under the authority of sections 318.30–318.38, Florida Statutes, and article V, section 2, Florida Constitution, this court adopts the following rules and procedure for the Civil Traffic Infraction Hearing Officer Program:

(a) – (f) [No Change]

(g) Training. Traffic hearing officers must complete 40 hours of standardized training that has been approved by the supreme court. Instructors must be county court judges, hearing officers, and persons with expertise or knowledge with regard to specific traffic violations or traffic court. Curriculum and materials must be submitted to the Office of the State Courts Administrator. The standardized training must contain, at a minimum, all of the following:

(1) 28 hours of lecture sessions including 2.5 hours of ethics, 5 hours of courtroom procedure and control (which must include handling of situations in which a defendant’s constitutional right to remain silent may be implicated), 11 hours of basic traffic court law and evidence, 3 hours of clerk’s office/DMV training, 2 hours of participant perspective sessions/demon­strations, 3 hours of dispositions/penalties, and 1.5 hours of civil infractions/jurisdiction;

(2) – (5) [No Change]

(h) – (n) [No Change]

Committee Notes
[No Change]

[Revised: 09-11-2014]