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. Now, in the case of a funeral procession, you need to fight that one as well because the law hasn’t changed. Let’s hope the incompetence of those issuing the citations has.
In what is perhaps the most obvious sign that cities are turning a blind eye to the law just to make a few extra bucks, here's a story of a woman who was in a funeral procession for a family member, was waived through a red light by a police escort, and was later issued a red light camera ticket.
So after all the lies about how these tickets are being monitored to ensure that they are only being issued to people who deserve them, we get this. Clearly, they are not being monitored. Clearly, whoever is being paid to monitor these is ripping off the cities, just as the cities are ripping off its citizens.
Folks, I am only one man. I can only do so much. But how many examples of these municipalities shoving the constitution down our throats in the name of "safety" do I need to point out before we stand up and say "enough."
It was never about "safety," it was always about money.
Always was, always will be.
The law is very clear that red light camera citations are not to be issued if a person is involved in a funeral procession. Don't tell that to the police officer, whose job it was to review the video, see the police escort and not issue the ticket in this instance.
What is so concerning is this particular case made the news because it was so obvious. But what is being done to the thousands of other citations I see that are extremely questionable? How many people are choosing to just pay the fine and move on with their lives, even though they may not have committed the violation, instead of fighting red light camera tickets? Many people just see this as another tax and pay it.
We encourage people to give us a call so we can review the video. We will at least give you a fair and honest assessment of your case. Depending on the county and the circumstances of your ticket (funeral processions included) it might be in your best interest to fight it. If we feel otherwise, we will be happy to tell you. Oh, and did I mention, there's never a charge for an opinion.
The end of this saga is that, as a result of all the exposure, the city dropped the charges (ya think) but how many people have no idea they didn't deserve the ticket and just paid it. Makes me mad just thinking about it.