RED LIGHT CAMERA TICKETS GONE CRAZY
You knew it was only a matter of time. First the Florida Legislature sold it’s soul to American Traffic Solutions, the for profit company that installs and maintains red light camera machines. Then after a huge uproar from across the state from citizens and lawyers who show how unfair these cameras are, they increase the fines and limit due process. It is truly incredible. We at the Traffic Ticket Team have been following the legislation and fighting these tickets for years. We thought that common sense would prevail and the red light cameras might be banned. Instead, it appears that the money for the state and the money from lobbyists was too much to resist. As argued by us on several occasions, the only people red light camera tickets hurt are the poor. Since you don’t get points on your license, if you are rich, you can just keep paying the tickets. It does not save lives, it just makes working class people pay more of their limited money to the state so they can balance their budgets. It has gone from bad to VERY bad in only two years. Here is what you and your neighbors can expect under the new law.
That’s what they call the red light camera tickets when you come to an almost complete stop and then make your right hand turn on red … Gotcha Tickets. All session it seemed that at least these kind of tickets would be banned, but there’s too much money at stake. Instead, the new law states that:
“A notice of violation and a traffic citation may not be issued under this section if the driver of the vehicle came to a complete stop after crossing the stop line and before turning right if permissible at a red light, but failed to stop before crossing over the stop line or other point at which a stop is required,”
GOOD BYE DUE PROCESS
One positive change is that the 30 reply to contest a red light camera ticket is now 60 days. But that seemingly fair change is overshadowed by the craziness of the rest of the changes. If a Notice of Violation is dropped in the mail, it is considered proper notice even if the camera company mails it to the wrong address. Oh, it gets worse. Instead of having judges hear these cases, cities can now set up there own quasi hearings run by city staff to determine the validity of the tickets. Oh and just to make sure nobody can really challenge the red light tickets anymore, they have done away with the rules of evidence. If you challenge a ticket and the government worker who gets paid from the city budget decides you are guilty, they can add $250 to the $158 ticket. Oh, but if you decide to challenge the ticket, then change your mind, they will only add $50 to the $158 ticket.
This is my favorite violation of due process in the new law. If you don’t pay the red light ticket, they will automatically prevent you from renewing your registration. If you first learn of the red light ticket when you go to renew your license, you are forbidden from challenging the ticket. That’s right, if the for profit camera company mails the ticket to the wrong address and you only find out about it when you renew your tag, you can’t fight the ticket. If this sounds un-American to you, you’re not alone. I have received countless calls and emails from clients who can’t afford these unconstitutional tickets, but want justice. Well, we promise to keep fighting the good fight and will update you as this new law winds itself through the courts.
If you have been given a citation for this or any offense you should contact our office as soon as possible since you may be charged with a criminal violation should you ignore your citation and continue to drive. Please call us at (954) 967-9888 or email us at [email protected].