Red Light Cameras: What You Need to Know

If you get a red light camera Notice of Violation in the mail saying you ran a red light and must pay a penalty, here is what you should know.

The Notice of Violation must be sent to the registered owner by U.S. Mail within 30 days of the event. If there are two people on the registration, it is issued to the person named first on the registration. In other words, they presume that the person named first on the registration must have been driving – which seems to be, at best, a 50/50 guess by them.

The Notice of Violation must give you the ability to view the photographic and/or video evidence, with the time, date and location being disclosed.

You must be given 30 days from the date of notification to pay a $158 penalty (with no points).

If you do not pay the $158 within 30 days of the issuance of the Notice, then a Traffic Citation may be issued to you. This must be sent to you by certified mail no later than 60 days after the date of the alleged violation.

The Traffic Citation must also provide you with a means to view the video of the alleged violation.

If you receive the citation you must act within 30 days to either pay the ticket (almost $400) and get points; or, elect to complete a driving course; or, ask for a hearing (this is what Longwell Lawyers generally recommends).

By electing a hearing, you, or Longwell Lawyers on your behalf, may assert the MANY DEFENSES available, starting with the ones provided by the red light camera law itself.

You may file a Motion to Dismiss with an affidavit establishing that you are exempt. A person is exempt from responsibility if:

a. The motor vehicle passed through the intersection in order to yield right-of-way to an emergency vehicle or as part of a funeral procession;

b. The motor vehicle passed through the intersection at the direction of a law enforcement officer;

c. The motor vehicle was, at the time of the violation, in the care, custody, or control of another person;

d. A uniform traffic citation was issued by a law enforcement officer at that time to the driver of the motor vehicle for the alleged violation; or

e. The motor vehicle’s owner was deceased on or before the date that the uniform traffic citation was issued, as established by an affidavit submitted by the representative of the motor vehicle owner’s estate or other designated person or family member.

These exemptions require that you file appropriate documents or affidavits containing specific information in order to be accepted. For example, the most common exception is that you were not the driver (c, above). In such a case, you must provide a sworn affidavit that gives the name, address, date of birth, and, if known, the driver license number of the person who leased, rented, or otherwise had care, custody, or control of the motor vehicle at the time of the alleged violation. If the vehicle was stolen at the time of the alleged offense, the affidavit must include the police report indicating that the vehicle was stolen.

Another defense specified in the law itself is that if you were cited for turning right on a red without coming to a complete stop, a Notice or Citation may not be issued to you, and is not enforceable, so long as you turned right on red where otherwise permitted, and did so in a careful and prudent manner.

There are many more defenses that may be asserted prior to or at a hearing.

At Longwell Lawyers, we encourage you to write to your local and state politicians to express your objection to the use of red light cameras. The cameras do not serve to thwart or stop crashes and serve no real public interest. It is obvious that the cameras are used in an effort to generate revenue for government at the expense of your privacy and due process interests. Ultimately, the implementation of the red light camera ticket system is flawed and may be defeated in court, rendering it ineffective as a tool for traffic safety.

In summary, if you get a red light camera ticket, and if you want to fight it, there is much that can be done to help you.

Longwell Lawyers is a criminal defense and family law firm, in Orlando, Florida. Serving all of Central Florida, including Orange, Osceola, Brevard, Volusia, Seminole, and Lake Counties, Longwell Lawyers offers a free consultation, reasonable fees and payment plans. We are able to serve you in English, Spanish, Portuguese, and Greek.

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