ARTICLE UPDATE: 2/25/19
Since this post was written, much has been happening in the Red Light Camera Ticket world. First of all, the Florida Supreme Court ruled in Jimenez v. State, on May 3, 2018, that the cities are within their rights to have these cameras installed and issue tickets. As soon as that ruling came down, it caused a huge blow to our (and all attorneys) ability to fight them. Basically, once that ruling came down, the courts had to allow the cities to write tickets and it made it nearly impossible to fight them successfully.
Now, I say it’s almost impossible to fight “successfully” it is because it has always been our philosophy at Unger & Kowitt to only charge people money to fight them IF we firmly believe that we can beat them and get them thrown out. Once that ruling came down, it became obvious that Courts were no longer going to allow the attorneys to make motions or arguments to get cases thrown out. Therefore, in almost every instance, we stopped handling these types of cases.
The one exception is if you received a Red Light Camera Ticket and forgot about it, or missed your deadline to pay the $158. If that did happen to you, your notice of violation automatically turned into a Uniform Traffic Citation and now you must pay $277.00 AND you will receive a mark on your driving record. We are fighting those mainly to keep the adjudication from appearing on your driving record, which we can do. But again, if you have the option of paying $158, we still recommend that at the moment because it’s the better and cheaper option.
If you notice, I did write “at the moment” because as you write this, new challenges are being made to the way some cities are ticketing drivers. Mainly, those making a right turn on red, and I believe those will be successful soon. As soon as that’s the case, I will blog again and keep you posted.
*** 7/29/2013- To read new information in regards to red light camera tickets please visit our updated blog post. ***
More and more, I'm finding people who are coming to their own conclusion about their guilt after they have received a red light camera ticket. If you take one thing away from this article, it should be this: "Don't just pay a ticket because you think you are guilty."
Paying a ticket and admitting your guilt is EXACTLY what the government wants you to do because they look at these red light cameras as a huge money maker.
Here are 3 myths about red light camera tickets that are NOT true.
1) Because there is a photo or video, you must be guilty
2) Red light tickets won't appear on your driving record so you should just pay them
3) If you didn't come to a complete stop before making a right turn, you're guilty
It's such a shame that many people just make assumptions about their guilt or innocence based upon their limited knowledge of the law. By paying the ticket, you are admitting your guilt and accepting all penalties associated with the violation. What's frustrating is that people see a photo and think they are "dead in the water."
There are countless ways a red light ticket can be dismissed and only by fighting back can you avail yourself of these myriad defenses. Just remember that equipment isn't 100% accurate and effective. There are still so many ways to attack a red light camera ticket that giving up and paying, just because you saw a photo, isn't always the smartest thing to do.
Many people have read that red light camera tickets do not carry points and therefore, they make the assumption that by paying them, their insurance won't be affected. However, this is also not entirely true.
In Florida, if you pay a red light camera ticket, within the first 30 days, you will only pay $158.00 and it is true, that it will not appear on your driving record. But, if you don't pay it within 30 days, it turns into a Uniform Traffic Citation which, in addition to costing you $277.00, will also appear on your driving record for everyone to see, including your insurance company.
Last myth involves making a right turn on red and whether you must make a complete stop. This is a little tricky because technically, you are allowed to make a right turn when it is "reasonable and prudent" to do so. This means you do not have to come to a complete stop. The problem becomes when you have to argue about whether or not it was reasonable and prudent, and that's when a good traffic ticket attorney can help you. Additionally, many intersections are now including signs that say "no turn on red" which will work against you if you make a turn.
These are just 3 of the most common myths about red light camera tickets in Florida. If you received one of those dreaded letters in the mail and want to discuss it for FREE, we're happy to give you an honest opinion of your case. If we can't help you, we'll tell you. If we can, we'll be happy to tell you how.
We encourage everyone to fight back when it's in their best interest and we'll be happy to give you a full explanation, we do it all day long. Call us at 866-374-8355.