County Traffic Court: TRAFFIC INFRACTIONS – Defendant’s action of driving through parking lot because of a road closed sign was not a violation of §316.074(2) because her actions were not to avoid obeying the traffic sign. Judgment and sentence reversed. Sandoz v. State, No. CRC 06-41 APANO (Fla. 6th Cir. App. Ct. November 30, 2007).

 

 

 

NOT FINAL UNTIL TIME EXPIRES FOR REHEARING

AND, IF FILED, DETERMINED

 

 

 

IN THE CIRCUIT COURT OF THE SIXTH JUDICIAL CIRCUIT

OF THE STATE OF FLORIDA IN AND FOR PINELLAS COUNTY

 

 

 

ELIZABETH L. SANDOZ

 

            Appellant,

 

v.                                                                                                                                           Appeal No. CRC 06-41 APANO

                                                                       UCN522006AP000041XXXXCR

STATE OF FLORIDA

 

            Appellee.

____________________________/

 

Opinion filed _________________.

 

Appeal from a judgment and sentence

entered by the Pinellas County Court

Hearing Officer Herbert Langford, Jr.

 

Thomas N. Fischgrund, Esquire

Attorney for appellant

 

Mary E. Hale, Esquire

Attorney for appellee

 

 

ORDER AND OPINION

 

 

            (J. Morris)

 

            THIS MATTER is before the Court on the defendant, Elizabeth Sandoz’s, appeal from a judgment and sentence entered against her by the Pinellas County Traffic Court. She was convicted of violating Florida Statute §316.074(2) --- failure to obey a traffic control device. After reviewing the briefs and record, this Court reverses the judgment and sentence.

            The defendant’s path was blocked by four barricades and two signs that read “Road Closed.” She then made a left-hand turn into a 7-11 parking lot, drove through that parking lot and was about to leave the parking lot and enter another roadway when she was stopped by the police for allegedly failing to obey a traffic control device --- in this case the Road Closed signs.   

            The defendant raises numerous points. Only one, however, warrants attention. The evidence does not demonstrate that the defendant violated the statute. The statute in question states: “No person shall drive any vehicle from a roadway to another roadway to avoid obeying the indicated traffic control indicated by such traffic control device.” §316.074(2), Fla.Stat. (2005). The evidence was that the traffic control sign indicated the road was closed. The defendant’s actions in turning into the parking lot were not to avoid obeying the traffic control device.[1] The sign essentially informed her not to enter the road, and she did not enter the road. In fact her actions were so that she could obey the traffic control device. Therefore, it can not be said that she drove from one roadway to another to avoid obeying the “Road Closed” traffic control device. Accordingly, as a matter of law, she was entitled to acquittal.

            IT IS THEREFORE ORDERED that the judgment and sentence is reversed, and


the case is remanded to the trial court so that the charge may be dismissed.

            DONE AND ORDERED in Clearwater, Pinellas County, this _____ day of November, 2007.

 

                                                                        ___________________________

                                                                                    David A. Demers

                                                                                    Circuit Court Judge

 

 

 

                                                                        ____________________________

                                                                                    Raymond O. Gross

                                                                                    Circuit Court Judge

 

 

 

                                                                        _____________________________

                                                                                    Robert J. Morris, Jr.

                                                                                                Circuit Court Judge

 

cc:        Mary E. Hale, Esquire

 

            Honorable Herbert Langford, Jr.

 

            Thomas N. Fischgrund, Esquire

 

 



[1] This is not a situation where a motorist, in an attempt to avoid stopping at a red light or stop sign, cuts through a parking lot and continues driving.