Can I get a ticket for a damaged windshield?
Florida statute 316.610 reads:
It is a violation of this chapter for any person to drive or move, or for the owner or his or her duly authorized representative to cause or knowingly permit to be driven or moved, on any highway any vehicle or combination of vehicles which is in such unsafe condition as to endanger any person or property, or which does not contain those parts or is not at all times equipped with such lamps and other equipment in proper condition and adjustment as required in this chapter, or which is equipped in any manner in violation of this chapter, or for any person to do any act forbidden or fail to perform any act required under this chapter.
In case you just skipped over the technical jargon, it means the police can stop you if they believe your car is unsafe, like a damaged windshield. Also, it is a primary offense, meaning you do not have to be doing anything else wrong for them to stop you. You can have your hands at “ten and two”, going three miles under the speed limit and maintaining your car in the lane perfectly…but if your windshield is cracked, you may still see sirens in your rearview mirror.
What’s the Outcome?
You can be facing a variety of unfavorable outcomes. If the police officer lets you off with a warning, then you will still have to spend several anxiety filled minutes alongside the road. If the police officer writes you a ticket, then you will either have to pay it or get the windshield fixed within 30 days AND either mail in proof of the correction or bring proof (depending on the county) to the county clerk’s office where you were ticketed. However, if the police officer decides your vehicle is not safe to drive, then you could be forced to have it towed at a substantial cost…and, of course, the ticket. While the last scenario may seem unlikely, Florida Statutes do not specify what the measurements, length, or placement of windshield damage would be to render a vehicle unsafe to drive. Therefore, it is up to the police officer’s discretion. Continue reading