Legal Question in Traffic Law in Florida

Driving with wrong tag on car

My boyfriend put my tag on his truck. Both were expired. I got pulled over with the wrong tag on his truck while I was driving. Now I have to go to court. What are the legal consequences on this? Jail time, suspended license or just a fine?

Asked on 1/14/09, 8:48 pm

2 Answers from Attorneys

Thomas Rosenblum Rosenblum Law Offices

Re: Driving with wrong tag on car

In response to your question, I'd first say if you have no prior crim. record, or just a misdemeanor or two, the State Atty. and the Court won't gwt that worked up over an expired tag case. It would help if you renew the tag before you go to court...makes the Judge happy! Usually, the State only recommends a fine and a withhold of adjudication of guilt...which means it is NOT a conviction. I don't have time to fully explain the meaning of a "withhold" and to explain the procedures from the first court date until the end...or any defenses, such as whether the stop was legal. If you are interested, you can review some of my prior answers to criminal law questions.

I can say the first court date is an arraignment. You either plead guilty or no contest to get rid of the case or plead not guilty and ask the court to pass the case for a pretrial date (kind of a status conf.). You can pass cases for a few (depending on the County and the judge) pretrials (we tell the court we are looking into the case or trying to get a valid license, or paying restitution (if it is one of those cases), or negotiating with the State. After a few passes, if the court thinks the case should be moving along faster, the court will set it for trial at the next date. I doubt a tag case needs to be dragged out very long.

Good luck. If my office can be of any assistance in No. Fla. please write or give us a call. Tom Rosenblum

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Answered on 1/15/09, 10:30 am

Rebecca Zima The Law Offices of Rebecca Zima, P.A.

Re: Driving with wrong tag on car

If you have been charged with Attaching a Tag Not Assigned (Florida Statute Section 320.261), that is a second degree misdemeanor and is a criminal charge. You face a possible fine, probation and up to 60 days in jail. You are not likely to actually get jail time for that charge, but that depends on the judge and your record. Driving with an Expired Tag (Florida Statute Section 320.07) is just a noncriminal traffic infraction and should only be a fine. The State would have to prove that you actually knew the wrong tag was on the truck while you were driving it, so you might be able to fight the criminal charge. That also depends on specific circumstances though. You should probably talk to an attorney, particularly if you don't already have a criminal record. This would be a dumb reason to get one. Good luck!

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Answered on 1/15/09, 10:37 am

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