Florida Supreme Court Rules Red Light Cameras Constitutional
Earlier this month, the Florida Supreme Court ruled against an argument saying that officials in Aventura, Florida, gave an outside entity too much leeway in determining if camera photos located at red lights showed traffic violations.
The Supreme Court ruling maintains Florida’s laws surrounding camera usage at red lights, which lawmakers have attempted to rescind in recent years, yet have continually failed. Traffic violations dished out by the camera photos carry a $158 fine.
Even though the ruling means that Florida cities can keep the red lights working and keep handing out violations, several cities say they don’t intend to turn the cameras back on. According to studies, the financial benefit to cities to have the cameras is astounding. The cameras bring in about $77 million annually in Florida, with an estimated 58 percent going to the state.
Red Light Citations
Driving through a red light is not just illegal; it is dangerous too. If you happen to drive through a red light that has a camera, it’s illegal, dangerous, and expensive. Here are a few pointers to consider when approaching a red light.
- Come to a complete stop. If you fail to come to a complete stop, even if you are making a right turn, you will likely receive a ticket in the mail for your violation.
- You won’t get a ticket for driving through a yellow light. The cameras are only programmed to capture your vehicle if the light is red. If you enter the intersection when the light is yellow and then it turns red while you’re in the intersection, you’re still probably okay.
- The owner on the vehicle’s registration receives the ticket. If you let a friend borrow your car and they ran a red light, you’re still going to get the bill. This can be contested, but it can be difficult to prove that it wasn’t you driving your car.
- The first violation won’t add points to your driver’s license. Getting one violation in the mail doesn’t add points to your license, but if you fail to pay the bill, a second notice will be sent to you that increases the fine to $262 and points will be assessed to your license.
Not all flashes of the camera will result in a violation. Occasionally, the camera will trigger even if someone doesn’t drive through the intersection. This may happen if the driver made a hard stop and passed the trigger point for the camera. When the camera does take photos, it takes two photos and records 12 seconds of video. If you receive a violation, it will include the date, time, and intersection location. Most photos do not capture the driver’s face.
Can a Citation Be Contested?
If you feel like your citation wasn’t merited, you may be able to contest it in Court. There are a few things that can help you when contesting your red light ticket, but it is best to consult with an experienced attorney rather than trying to fight the violation yourself.
Examine the photographs closely. Is the license plate legible? Were you the one driving your vehicle, or did you loan it to a neighbor or friend? Although you may be the owner, if you weren’t driving the car, the red light violation shouldn’t be your responsibility.
Make sure that the enforcing agency can prove that the sensors and camera were working properly the day of your citation.
Depending on the environment, there could have been a reason for your driving in the photos. Was it raining and the road was too slick to stop? Were you speeding up to avoid being hit by another car? Don’t be afraid to speak up and explain the situation.
Contact an Experienced Attorney
If you have questions about red light cameras in Boca Raton, it is important to contact a legal professional. The attorneys at Leifer & Ramirez are prepared to answer any questions you may have. Call today for a consultation.