How Can I Get Out of a Florida Red Light Camera Ticket?

Can I Flight a Red Light Camera Ticket in Florida

Red light cameras have been causing a stir over the last few years as critics have challenged their safety, accuracy, and how constitutional they are. In Florida alone, law enforcement agencies processed more than 300,000 red light tickets in 2015 – a 20% increase from the following year.

When a vehicle passes over an intersection at a red light, a sensor is activated, triggering the camera. The camera photographs the license plate and the driver, which is sent via mail as a citation to the vehicle’s registered owner’s address.

If you’ve been charged with a red light camera citation, there are a few things you should know. If you want trusted legal representation, the attorneys at McIntyre Thanasides are experienced in handling red light tickets and can help you with the details of your case. Here are a few items to consider when contesting a red light ticket.

  1. The photos: This is the first line of defense in fighting a red light ticket, as the camera will not only photograph the license plate of the vehicle in question, but the driver behind the wheel as well. Examine the photos closely. Is the license plate clearly legible? Are you in fact driving the vehicle? In some cases, you may have lent your car out to a friend or neighbor, and weren’t driving at the time. The responsibility of a red light ticket violation is not automatically the vehicle’s owner, but rather, the person operating the vehicle at that time.
  2. The device: If you are ticketed, the enforcing agent should provide evidence that the camera and sensors were working properly on the day your citation was issued. Be sure that the enforcing agent should be able to this evidence at trial, otherwise it could suggest a device malfunction.
  3. The situation: Driving is a complex task that requires drivers to adapt and react accordingly to changes in their environment. If you ran a red light because it was raining and the road was too slick to stop in time, or you did so to avoid being hit by another car, you must say so. Explaining safety concerns and demonstrating an avoidance to cause a crash can be valid claims in disputing a red light ticket.

Depending on your situation and circumstances, you may be able to get out of a Florida red light ticket. If you have received a citation in the mail, contact the experienced attorneys at McIntyre Thanasides to help you navigate the best course of action. Our lawyers are here to serve you, call today at (844)511-4800.

Are Red-Light Camera Tickets Enforceable in Florida?

red_lightOften you are faced with a split-second decision when you approach an intersection as to whether it is safer to slow down or continue through an intersection upon the light first changing from green to yellow. You may also know that the length of time during that yellow light differs depending on the particular intersection you are driving through or even the city you are in. If your vehicle does not make it through that intersection prior to the light turning red, you are at risk for receiving a red-light camera citation.

Certainly you’ve heard the buzz over disputes related to the enforceability of red light cameras in Tampa Bay. The city of Tampa currently has 57 red-light cameras. Camera-issued fines are set at $158 for the offense, but can rise to $264 plus court costs should you contest violations in court. Further, Tampa has issued approximately 190,000 tickets since it started the red-light camera program and collected $11.1 million in fines, with $6.8 million of that amount going to the company who provides them, American Traffic Solutions, according to city records. Despite more than 12 cities getting rid of traffic light cameras in 2014, the system issued $148 million in tickets in Florida last year, according to data recently collected by the state’s Department of Highway Safety & Motor Vehicles (DHSMV) as part of its annual survey.

Are they enforceable?

The short answer is yes. Basically, if you receive a red-light camera ticket in Florida, you are required to pay the citation, but you do receive a 60-day period in which you can contest the charge.

There are currently a couple of lawsuits pending in Florida which claim using camera providers to review citation data and issue tickets violates a Florida law that says only law enforcement and traffic enforcement officers have legal authority to determine a violation and to issue a citation. The way it works in Tampa’s program is that potential violations are reviewed by American Traffic Solutions before being sent to the Tampa Police Department, where officers then review the video footage and any photographs taken by the cameras to determine whether a violation in fact did occur.

Should you fight the citation?

A red light camera ticket does not carry points, unlike other traffic violations. In essence red light camera tickets are like parking tickets. However, if you fight them and lose, that is when the penalties increase. According to a recent article in Florida Today, about two-thirds of the people who fought their red light camera tickets had their cases dismissed or they were found not guilty. In nearly all the other cases, the vehicle owners received an “adjudication withheld” decision, which means they paid a fine that was typically less than the initial fine, or they attended driving school.

Working with an experienced attorney who can review your case and examine the video data captured by the red-light cameras is key. These types of cases are typically dismissed, because there is no police officer who can argue that a driver ran the red light. In court, a photo of the incident is not evidence that the person who received the violation was driving the car. In some cases, a police department will drop the case when it ends up in court.

If you have questions or if you would like to discuss a pending red-light camera ticket with an attorney, do not delay. Contact TJ Grimaldi at McIntyre Thanasides Bringgold Elliott Grimaldi & Guito, P.A. to learn what you can do and whether your citation is enforceable.