Since I’ve been writing this blog we’ve been talking about the endless saga of the constitutionality of red light camera tickets. For those who have been in the dark, red light camera tickets started approximately 10 or so years ago. Municipalities placed cameras at specific intersections that recorded all traffic. Upon someone entering an intersection without stopping at a red light picture was taken of the driver’s vehicle. Then a ticket would be issued to the driver called a “Notice of Violation.” This “Notice” was not a ticket but a chance to pay the city directly for the violation without it notifying the DMV. The upside was no points on your license. The downside was the government watching our every move and enacting a fine procedure without having to prove the case.
The alternative to paying the fine was the city would then issue a uniform traffic citation. This citation was a real deal ticket. If you failed to pay the ticket or appear in court, it would have an effect on your license.
The kicker to this whole situation was that the municipalities rarely had to do anything. The red light cameras were being leased and operated by a private company. What you would see are these private companies making arrangements with the city for lease of the cameras, but in many instances the payment of the cameras were made by the fines received. It was a win-win for the city and for a private company.
AREM v. CITY OF HOLLYWOOD
In 2014 things came to a halt with reference to red light cameras. The Fourth District Court of Appeal found that “only law enforcement officers and traffic enforcement officers have the legal authority to issue citations for traffic infractions, which means only law enforcement officers and traffic enforcement officers are entitled to determine who gets prosecuted for a red light violation.” Essentially, the cities cannot let the private entities make the choice of who gets a ticket.
BOYNTON BEACH IS BACK AT IT
In today’s Palm Beach Post a new article warns that Boynton Beach has reinstated the red light camera ticket program. Watch yourself: Traffic cameras are now active After AREM, many cities stopped using the red light camera tickets. However, some just changed how the program operated to be in accordance with the law. That is apparently what Boyton Beach has done.
WHAT TO DO
If you get a red light camera Notice of Violation the first thing you need to do is find out if you actually ran the red light. Each notice of violation has a link for you can actually watch the video to see if you answered after the light turned red. If you did not, you should fight the ticket.
What if you weren’t the one driving and you were issued a ticket? There is a remedy for that. What you have to do is fill out an affidavit stating it was not you, however you will have to identify who was driving. Ultimately they may get a notice of violation, and a ticket.
If you are issued a uniform traffic citation contact our office as we may be able help you. While tickets are not our bread and butter, we have helped hundreds of our clients with traffic matters throughout the years.