Did You Know? (Florida Edition)

Sat, Apr 19, 2014

General Legal Issues

Some rights reserved by Dhaval JaniDid you know that every state has different laws? While some overlap, many are distinctly different. The difference between states can be large or small, it all depends. Did you know that:

  • Texting while driving is banned in Florida. Drivers are not able to text or type on a phone while they are driving. However, it is a secondary offense—meaning that you must be stopped for a primary offense first. Florida is not alone; many other states have laws against texting while driving. In fact it is a primary offense in many states.
  • Using a cellphone while driving is allowed in Florida. However, many other states ban the practice, or at least ban talking while driving using a handheld device.
  • Seatbelts are required in Florida for the driver and all front-seat passengers in most vehicles. Seatbelts (or the proper child restraint) are always required for anyone under 18. There are limited exceptions to the seatbelt rules—like type of vehicle being operated.
  • It is not illegal to drive barefoot in Florida. However, a law enforcement officer might find your choice of footwear inappropriate and could mention it in an investigation of an incident or accident.
  • It is illegal to wear headphones for most Florida drivers. An exception is emergency personnel. Otherwise, check out this blog post to learn more.
  • Florida has a unique law regarding medical malpractice laws. It is the only type of tort that requires the plaintiff to obtain a qualified affidavit from someone in the same field as the defendant that indicates that the defendant has breached the prevailing standard of care BEFORE the suit is even filed.
  • Florida has a Florida Sunshine Law, which is part of our open government. It allows public access to meetings of various boards and committees. It also addresses various other things like Green Lodging, funds limitations, access to officials, etc.
  • Florida also has a public records law that allows the public access to many types of public records. Some public records may have personal information like social security numbers and such removed or blacked out. Check with your local Clerk of Court to learn more.
  • Florida has gun laws that make many people hot under the collar. Florida is known to have relaxed gun laws, though one of our recent posts proves that Florida’s are not as lax as some.
  • You can eat at a restaurant with your dog in Florida, as long as you follow certain rules—such as not letting the dog sit on the furniture, etc. For more check out this blog post on the Dixie Cup Clary Local Control Act.
  • Florida has a lemon law. Attorney General Pam Bondi’s page details Florida’s Lemon Law, and we have a blog post about it here. There are many restrictions written into this law though.
  • You can dry your clothes on a clothesline in Florida? We are a right to dry state, which trumps many local HOA laws. We wrote more about that here.
  • Florida requires personal injury protection for all motorists. It’s a hotly debated provision of Florida’s personal injury laws. Learn more here.
  • Florida requires motorcyclists to have a special endorsement on their license. This requires taking a special class.
  • If you get divorced in Florida and your husband/wife is still listed in your will as your husband/wife, that part of your will is no longer valid. The will itself is, but the former spouse will be treated as if they are already deceased and so will not inherit or become your personal representative. But many attorneys will suggest updating your will and other things with a beneficiary after a divorce, just to be extra clear.
  • Florida has many wacky laws. This link is to our Florida Legal Trivia Game we created for the holidays last year. There you’ll find some interesting legal trivia to impress your friends.

Attorney Christopher D. Smith is a Lakewood Ranch, Florida attorney with SmithLaw Attorneys. He concentrates in bankruptcy, civil litigation, probate, estate planning, and elder exploitation cases in the Sarasota and Bradenton area. Call 941-907-4774 to learn more and to ask about our free consultations.

Image: Some rights reserved by Dhaval Jani

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