Being charged with HOV (High-occupancy vehicle) violations in Florida can result in fines and having to take time off of work to go to court. More importantly, it can significantly increase your automobile insurance rates – which can have a big impact on your wallet.
If you have been issued a citation of this nature, contact a West Palm Beach HOV violations lawyer as soon as possible. Our distinguished traffic attorneys could review the charges against you and determine what legal defenses may be available to you.
Understanding HOV Uses & Violations
A high-occupancy-vehicle lane is a public roadway designated for use by vehicles in which there is generally more than one occupant. HOV lanes may also restrict usage at all times or at certain times of the day (generally when traffic is heavy or during rush hour). Anyone who violates state HOV laws could be cited for a moving violation which can result in fines, court costs, and more.
While that is the general law, there are exceptions for certain inherently low-emission vehicles (ILEV) and vehicles designed as hybrids (a combination of electric and gas-powered vehicles) which may be driven in an HOV lane at any time, regardless of the number of occupants in the vehicle.
Individuals must register the vehicle and obtain a special sticker that needs to be affixed to the vehicle in plain view for a law enforcement officer to see it. Our West Palm Beach lawyers know that a failure to display or obtain this sticker can result in a HOV violation even if someone is in a qualifying vehicle.
Why Do High Occupancy Vehicle Lanes Exist?
HOV lanes are meant to encourage carpooling to reduce fuel consumption. Carpooling and driving electric and hybrid vehicles is the overall goal. According to the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT), HOV lanes are used to move more people in fewer vehicles during times of high congestion. The FDOT believes that HOV lanes:
- Save time by avoiding congestion
- Provide a reliable commute – especially during rush hours
- Save money by spending less time in traffic
- Decrease driver and passenger overall stress
HOV lanes are currently located on I-95 in Miami-Dade, Broward, and Palm Beach counties. They are identified by signs and diamond symbols on the pavement and are separated from the other general traffic lanes by a striped buffer zone.
While violating HOV traffic rules can have consequences, those can significantly increase if drivers try to “cheat the system” by placing objects in passenger seats that resemble other riders or placing “hybrid” stickers on vehicles that do not have these features.
Penalties for HOV Violations
While this type of moving violation does not carry any points, there are some consequences associated with this traffic offense. If someone is issued a ticket for inappropriately driving in the high occupancy vehicle lane, they could face up to a $60 fine as well as any associated court and attorney fees. Additionally, this offense could lead to an increase in auto insurance premiums. Failure to pay any fines could result in more legal consequences including license suspension and jail time. Therefore, if someone has been accused of an HOV violation, they should contact a West Palm Beach attorney as soon as possible to avoid further consequences.
How a West Palm Beach HOV Violations Attorney Can Defend You
Only those who are legally allowed to use HOV lanes should. However, anyone who does violate the law should contact an experienced West Palm Beach HOV violations lawyer to determine how to deal with the charges against them.
While these violations may seem inconsequential, they can have a serious impact on your life. Consult with an attorney to review your situation, your driving history, and determine whether you might be able to have the charges against you dismissed or mitigated.