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Carlson Meissner Hart & Hayslett | Legal Blog

Apr  25,  2017

Recognized Clearwater criminal defense attorney Paul A. Meissner Jr., of Carlson, Meissner, Hart & Hayslett, PA. clarifies the red light camera controversy

When the Florida Legislature convenes on March 7, 2017, the debate over red light cameras will resume. This time, discussions will include a recent report from the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles that indicates crashes increase at intersections where red light cameras are installed.

According to the report, after the installation of red light cameras, crashes rose 10 percent at 148 intersections in 28 Florida cities and counties during the July 2012-April 2016 period, and rear-end crashes increased more than 11 percent.  Accidents involving pedestrians and other non-motorists fell almost 20 percent, and crashes involving running a red light were down about 3 percent.

Florida’s Legislature has considered bills to ban red light cameras over the past few years. Each of those bills has failed. This upcoming legislative session will consider two bills—SB 178 and HB 6007 -- that call for the repeal of red light cameras in Florida by 2020.

“The introduction of photographic automated enforcement systems – red light cameras – has added a new twist to defending against traffic tickets,” said defense attorney Paul A. Meissner Jr. of Carlson, Meissner, Hart & Hayslett P.A. “Much of the controversy over the use of these red light cameras is related to the way evidence of speeding or running a red light is verified and how the violation is served.”

Red light cameras work by triggering the camera to take a photograph as a vehicle passes over a sensor in the intersection when the light is red. Photos of the vehicle’s front license plate and the driver are taken. A police officer is to check the photo of the driver against the driver’s license photo of the vehicle’s registered owner before a citation is mailed to the vehicle’s registered owner.

“If you receive a citation, the first step is to check the photographs to determine if the vehicle in the photo is your vehicle, and who was driving the car at the time the photograph was taken,” continued Mr. Meissner. “There are several issues to explore in defending a red light ticket, including circumstances where the driver was making a right turn.”

The criminal defense lawyers at Carlson, Meissner, Hart & Hayslett P.A. have been serving the Tampa Bay area community for more than 45 years, and share more than 125 years of combined experience. Innovative practice and proven litigation skills make the firm Tampa Bay’s premier legal team, with a proven track record of success and a reputation for excellence. For more information, visit the firm website at or contact the office directly at 877-728-9653.

Tags: red light cameras, edward carlson, carlson meissner hart and hayslett, carlson meissner, traffic ticket lawyer, red light camera lawyer, criminal lawyer
Posted in Criminal Defense|Drivers License
Jun  09,  2016
By Jennifer A. Burns

Florida drivers know that buckling up is the law. Yet fatal crashes continue to increase, as violators fail to put on their seatbelt when driving or riding in a vehicle. While statistics show that drivers and passengers have been buckling up more consistently during daytime hours, evening and night time fatal crashes between the hours of 6 pm and 5:59 am have continued to increase.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Association (NHTSA) has instituted a national seatbelt enforcement mobilization period beginning May 23rd and ending June 5th, 2016. The mobilization was created to enforce seat belt laws 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Local law enforcement agencies will be joining forces and patrolling “Coast to Coast” on major interstates including I-10, I-40, I-70, and I-80. The objective of the patrol is to remind citizens that law enforcement’s priority is safety.

The Click It or Ticket campaign highlights key issues in traffic safety. Research conducted by the NHTSA showed, while 88.5 percent of passenger vehicle occupants buckled up in 2015, almost 50 percent of occupants of fatal crashes nationwide are not restrained. Even more tragic, in some states the rate is as high as 70 percent unrestrained in fatal crashes. These startling statistics are the key reason the enforcement mobilization period was formed.

“Buckling up is one of the easiest ways to put your life out of danger’s way,” remarked attorney Jennifer Burns, “No one regrets putting on their seatbelt.” Jennifer Burns is one of Tampa Bay’s foremost personal injury attorneys, handling car accident claims with tenacity and compassion.

Law enforcement agencies will issue citations to all seatbelt law violators pulled over during the Click it or Ticket time period. Local police are maintaining a zero-tolerance policy for those without seatbelts. For more information on the NHTSA’s Click It or Ticket campaign please visit

Tampa Bay’s leading personal injury attorneys at Carlson, Meissner, Hart & Hayslett, P.A. are available 24/7 to address questions and concerns you may have regarding legal issues. The firm handles all types of legal matters, including personal injury, family law, DUI defense, Social Security, criminal defense, immigration, and workers' compensation. 

Tags: carlson meissner, jennifer burns, tampa accident attorneys, florida seatbelt laws,
Posted in Announcements|Personal Injury|Community|Drivers License
Mar  11,  2016

Distracted Drivers Send U.S. Traffic Fatality Rates Up 14% in 2015

A recent study performed by the American Safety Council counted over 18,000 fatal car crashes from January to June of 2015. Experts say the majority of crashes were caused by distracted driving. The numbers show a 14% increase in crashes caused by distracted driving since the year 2014. Additional factors, including low gas prices have contributed to the increase in the number of drivers on the road. This startling statistic highlights the need for practiced injury attorneys to protect victim’s rights.

Research by the U.S Department of Transportation shows that at any given moment across America, approximately 660,000 drivers are using cell phones or operating electronic devices while driving. This number has held steady since 2010. WTSP 10 Tampa News spoke with local Countryside High School students and school resource officer, Officer Long. Officer Long, as well as students agreed that distractions quickly multiply in the car of a student driver. Young drivers are easily preoccupied by friends, social media, or “showing off” while driving noted two Countryside students.

With young people ages 15-24 accounting for 14% of the U.S. population, there are a large number of inexperienced and often distracted drivers populating the roads. For more than four decades, Tampa Bay’s foremost injury law firm of Carlson, Meissner, Hart & Hayslett, P.A.has fervently advocated for victims of automobile, motorcycle, and truck accidents. Dedicated accident attorneys help families put the pieces back together following injuries caused by someone else’s negligence or wrongful conduct.

Leading Clearwater injury attorney Edward D. Carlson states, “Our skilled group of personal injury attorneys work tirelessly as a team to fight on behalf of accident victims. Winning maximum compensation for damages, pain and suffering for every injured accident victim is always our priority. Our experience allows us to handle each case with tenacity and compassion, always focusing on obtaining the best possible results.”


Posted in Personal Injury|Community|Drivers License
Mar  01,  2016

What to do after a car accident 

There have been a number of accidents with critical injuries or death reported in Tampa Bay so far this year. In most cases, the victims of the car, motorcycle or truck accident are faced with vehicle damage, mounting medical bills and missed workdays because of another driver’s negligence. 

“It is disheartening to see victims of auto accidents overwhelmed by the physical and financial damage of the accident to fight for justice. Compensation from an auto accident may not be reached unless an experienced attorney is involved." Edward D. Carlson, co-founder of Carlson, Meissner, Hart and Hayslett P.A. said. “By providing a comfortable, trustworthy client-lawyer relationship, we deal with the stress of fighting for justice, so our clients can focus on recovery.” 

What to do if you've been in a car accident

After an accident, victims should be wise about getting contact information from the other driver and insurance company information. Gather contact information from any witnesses. Victims should document the scene by taking photographs and recount any physical damage to themselves or their property. If you or a passenger in your vehicle has received injuries, go to the emergency room or physician's office as soon as possible. Be mindful of injuries that may present several days or even weeks after the accident and be sure to get them checked by a physician as well. Following the accident, contact a knowledgeable accident attorney for legal guidance seeking monetary damages related to the crash. 

Since 1971, the Clearwater personal injury attorneys at Carlson, Meissner, Hart and Hayslett P.A. represent victims injured in motor vehicle accidents due to negligence — speeding, reckless driving, driving while under the influence, running a red light, talking or texting while driving, tailgating, changing lanes in an unsafe manner and failure to obey other traffic rules. If you have been involved in an accident as a result of someone else's negligence, contact our Clearwater office at 877-728-9653 

Posted in Personal Injury|Community|Drivers License
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