6.630. Civil Traffic Infraction Hearing Officer Program; Traffic Hearing Officers
Under the authority of sections 318.30–318.38,
Florida Statutes, and article V, section 2, Florida
Constitution, this court adopts the following rules and
procedure for the Civil Traffic Infraction Hearing Officer
(a) Eligibility of County. Pursuant to section
318.30, Florida Statutes, any county shall be eligible
to participate in the Civil Traffic Infraction Hearing
(b) Participation. Any county electing to participate
in the program shall be subject to the supervision
of the Florida Supreme Court. The decision
on whether to participate shall be made by the chief
(c) Appointment of Traffic Hearing Officers. The
appointment of such hearing officers shall be made
by the chief judge, after consultation with the county
judges in the county affected, and shall be approved
by the chief justice. Once approval has been granted
by the chief justice, the traffic hearing officers shall
serve at the will of the chief judge.
(d) Jurisdiction. Traffic hearing officers shall have
the power to accept pleas from defendants, hear and
rule upon motions, decide whether a defendant has
committed an infraction, and adjudicate
adjudication in the same manner as a county court
judge. However, a traffic hearing officer shall not:
(1) have the power to hold any person in contempt
of court, but shall be permitted to file a verified motion
for order of contempt with an appropriate
court judge pursuant to Florida Rule of Criminal Procedure
(2) hear a case involving an accident resulting in
injury or death; or
(3) hear a criminal traffic offense case or a case
involving a civil traffic infraction issued in conjunction
with a criminal traffic offense.
(e) Appeals. Appeals from decisions of a traffic
hearing officer shall be to circuit court pursuant to
the relevant provisions of the Florida Rules of Appellate
Procedure in the same manner as appeals from
the county court, except that traffic hearing officers
shall not have the power to certify questions
courts of appeal. The appellant shall be responsible for
the record for such appeal.
(f) Membership in The Florida Bar. A traffic
hearing officer shall be a member in good standing of
The Florida Bar.
(g) Training. Traffic hearing officers must complete
40 hours of standardized training that has been
approved by the supreme court. Instructors must be
county court judges, hearing officers, and persons
with expertise or knowledge with regard to specific
traffic violations or traffic court. Curriculum and
materials must be submitted to the Office of the State
Courts Administrator. The standardized training must
contain, at a minimum, all of the following:
(1) 28 hours of lecture sessions including 2.5
hours of ethics, 5 hours of courtroom procedure and
control, 11 hours of basic traffic court law and evidence,
3 hours of clerk’s office/DMV training, 2 hours
of participant perspective sessions/demonstrations,
hours of dispositions/penalties, and 1.5 hours of civil
(2) 4 hours of role playing including mock opening
statements, pretrial and trial sessions, and direct
(3) 4 hours of observation including 2 hours of
on-road observation of traffic enforcement;
(4) 4 hours of mentored participation in traffic
court proceedings in the hiring county. Mentors must
be county court judges or traffic hearing officers; and
(5) written training manuals for reference.
(h) Continuing Legal Education. Traffic hearing
officers must complete 4 hours of continuing legal
education per year. The continuing legal education
program must be approved by the supreme court and
must contain a minimum of 2 hours of ethics or professionalism.
Curriculum materials must be submitted to
the Office of the State Courts Administrator.
(i) Hours. Traffic hearing officers may serve either
full time or part time at the discretion of the chief
(j) Code of Judicial Conduct. All traffic hearing
officers shall be subject to the Code of Judicial Conduct
as provided in the application section of the code.
(k) Implementation of Program. In any county
electing to establish a program, the chief judge shall
develop a plan for its implementation and shall submit
the plan to the Office of the State Courts Administrator.
Funds for the program shall be used for traffic
hearing officer program salaries and other necessary
expenses, such as training, office rental, furniture, and
administrative staff salaries. Any county electing to
establish a traffic hearing officer program shall provide
the funds necessary to operate the program.
(l) Robes. Traffic hearing officers shall not wear
(m) Concurrent Jurisdiction. A county judge may
exercise concurrent jurisdiction with a traffic hearing
(n) Assignment to County Judge. On written
request of the defendant, within 30 days of the issuance
of the uniform traffic citation, the case shall be
assigned to a county judge.
1990 Adoption. The rule attempts to incorporate relevant
provisions of chapter 89-337, Laws of Florida, with minor
The provision in subdivision (c) that the traffic magistrate shall
serve at the will of the chief judge is implicit in chapter 89-337, and
is believed to be a good policy since it makes irrelevant consideration
of the necessity of any involvement by the Judicial Qualifications
(d)(1) See 1990 Committee Note concerning rule 6.080.
In relation to subdivision (e) on appeals, the subcommittee
believes that the addition of the language on the certifications to
district courts, while making an obvious point, would avoid any
possible confusion. It was also the consensus that there would be no
need to recommend amendments to the Florida Rules of Appellate
Procedure since rules 9.030(b)(4)(A) and 9.030(c)(1)(A) would appear
to cover the matter adequately without further amendment.
Subdivision (g) goes into less detail concerning the actual length
of training (40 hours preservice/10 hours continuing) required by
chapter 89-337. A special plan for such training will be provided
separately, including a recommendation for the waiver of such
for recently retired county court judges.
This rule expands the statutory prohibition of chapter 89-337,
section 7, which prohibits traffic magistrates from practicing before
other civil traffic magistrates and handling traffic appeals. The
committee expressed concern that a limited prohibition extending
only to practice before other magistrates might be read as condoning
magistrate practice in traffic cases in front of county court
judges. Given the contemplated relationship between county court
judges and magistrates in education, training, and professional
such practice would give the appearance of conflict and should
In relation to subdivision (k), it was the opinion of the subcommittee
that the wearing of robes might lead to confusion and
interfere with the informal setting of the hearings.
1990 Amendment. Amendment of section 318.30, Florida
Statutes (1990), reduced the case load requirement from 20,000
to 15,000 for purposes of allowing a county’s participation in the
Civil Traffic Infraction Hearing Officer Program. This amendment
is necessary to conform the rule to the provisions of the amended
1995 Amendment. Language was added to subdivision (d) to
make it clear that hearing officers/magistrates can hear and rule
upon motions, such as continuance motions, and otherwise handle
normal motion practice in infraction cases.
1996 Amendment. Enactment of chapter 94-202, Laws of Florida,
necessitated the deletion of all references in the rules to traffic
“magistrates” in favor of the term traffic “hearing officers.”
Subsection (a) reflects the legislative intent of section 318.30,
Florida Statutes (1994). No longer is a minimum number of cases
required before a county can establish a traffic infraction hearing
Changes to subsection (m) are intended to make uniform the
procedure for assignment to a county judge for hearing.
2001 Amendment. Subdivision (g) provides detailed requirements
for standardized initial training of traffic hearing officers.
A statewide survey of judges and traffic hearing officers was taken
and the rule then amended to incorporate the current statewide
Subdivision (h) was added to resolve a conflict that existed between
the rules and section 318.34, Florida Statutes.
Subdivision (i) was amended to conform the rule to the current
practice prohibitions for hearing officers contained in the Code of
Judicial Conduct. The code reflects the consensus of the committee
as to appropriate prohibitions.