Florida law makers may pass a law that bans smoking cigarettes in a car with a child present. “Eight states have smoking bans in private vehicles when a child is present. Florida lawmakers are pushing to make the Sunshine State the next on the list.” (News4jax.com)
The goal is to protect children in a situation in which they cannot protect themselves. “Nationwide, more than one-third of all children live with a smoker…. Six out of every 10 children are exposed to secondhand smoke, according to health experts. State lawmakers now say a change is needed to protect those under 18.”
The fears of the danger of secondhand smoke are well-founded. “Registered nurse Sandy Grischy said secondhand smoke is dangerous, especially for those still in the developmental stage. ‘Carcinogens are those pieces that affect our DNA and that’s where the potential for cancer arises,’ said Grischy. Secondhand smoke is responsible for nearly 300,000 cases of bronchitis and pneumonia annually, health experts say.”
As a Jacksonville drivers license lawyer, I have many questions about the proposed new law.
- Will smoking with a minor in the car be a civil or criminal traffic ticket in Jacksonville? Will you be given a fine to pay or will you be required to set a court date at the Duval County Courthouse?
- If smoking with a child present in your vehicle is a civil Florida traffic ticket, is it going to be considered a moving violation? Will you get points on your license if you are convicted of the citation?
- Will convictions for smoking with a minor in your car cause a Florida drivers license suspension?
- Will police be permitted to stop your vehicle if they suspect that you are smoking and there is a child present? Will they have cause to stop the vehicle if the only violation suspected is smoking with a minor present? For example, police cannot stop a car for the sole reason that they believe the driver is texting and driving. Read The Florida Texting and Driving Law on Jacksonville Speeding Ticket Lawyers website. It appears that the “loophole in the proposal is police would have to stop someone for something else before they could be ticketed for smoking in a car with a child present.”
- What age will the Florida legislature consider a minor? Will it be any person under 18 years old of age?
If the smoking with a child in the car ticket is a criminal traffic charge, this ticket could cause more than a problem on your driving record. It could also create a Florida criminal record. I am assuming that it will be a civil traffic infraction and a non-moving violation. Perhaps, something like having a minor in your car that is not wearing a seatbelt.