After an accident that was not your fault you may receive a subpoena. The reason is because the other driver is fighting the ticket. If the police officer shows up, you may be called as a witness to testify against the other driver. In other words, unless the police officer actually saw the crash, you are likely the best witness. So, if you receive a subpoena in Florida for an accident that was not your fault you must go to court.
Likelihood of Testifying
In most Florida traffic cases the ticketed driver pleads “nolo contendere.” This means no contest and no trial. The ticketed driver usually walks away with no points or traffic school, and you don’t have to testify in court. This does not mean you should ignore the subpoena and not show up.
Sometimes ticketed drivers plead “not guilty,” and request a trial. Usually this is cost prohibitive, which is why it’s rarely done in Florida. If there is a trial, the traffic court judge will determine whether the ticketed driver violated the Florida traffic code. Again, because police officers can only testify to what they saw or heard, you are likely the best witness.
Contempt Of Court
If you ignore a subpoena to appear in court you could be found in contempt of court. This could mean fines, fees, and in extreme cases, jail time. I ALWAYS instruct my client to show up to court, and be prepared to testify, even if the case likely won’t go to trial. Also, be prepared to wait. It can take several hours before you’re called to testify or sent home. I recommend you bring a good book!
Workplace Retaliation Protection
It’s unlawful for an employer in Florida to retaliate against an employee for being subpoenaed to court. In other words, you cannot be fired for being called to testify. It’s best practices to notify your employer as soon as possible. This means as soon are you receive the subpoena, inform your employer. While you are protected from retaliation there are notification requirements. Do not wait to the last minute to tell your employer you need time off to testify in court.
The Longo Firm, P.A.
Micah J. Longo
12555 Orange Drive, Ste. 233
Davie, FL 33330
Tel: (954) 862-3608