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.
***Update*** The 60 day requirement has been removed from the statute as of 2013. Oh well, it was good while it lasted.****
If you are a regular reader to our blog, you have seen me write that we always encourage people to fight their tickets, (here's the most important part) when it's in their best interest to do so.
Well, the obvious question is "when is it in my best interest to fight a ticket?" The simple answer is "almost always." But recently, the red light camera ticket has given us reason to modify that somewhat. You see, red light camera tickets are unique because they don't carry points. So, as a result, it becomes a simple question of how much is the ticket and how much would it be to fight it (coupled with the equation of how likely we are to get the case dismissed).
Since my main goal is always to make sure that my clients wind up in a better situation after hiring me, I need to evaluate all the facts before making a decision. For most moving violations, it's easy. By keeping the points off a license, I know I am saving my clients a ton of money. But, for red light camera tickets, we need to dig a little deeper.
However, recently, an event transpired that has caused me to encourage people to fight red light camera tickets in Florida. Just the other day, it was announced that approximately 5,000 people in Broward and Palm Beach county essentially had their red light camera tickets thrown out.
Here's how. These cities can't keep up with the paperwork that's involved with these red light camera tickets. And the law is very clear. If a person gets a red light camera ticket, they will receive a notice to pay $158.00. The hope, of course, is that everyone will, like lemmings, just pay the money and move on with their lives.
However, if you choose not to pay the $158.00, the state MUST send you a second notice within 60 days of the incident. If they don't . . . wait for it... the fine is unenforceable. BOOYAH!!!
So over 5,000 people were rewarded by not taking action and paying the first notice of $158.00. They were able to have their fines essentially wiped out.
Now, I'm not suggesting that you should ignore notices. In many cases, this is not a good practice. But, if you are a gambling sort, you might benefit drastically by the state's inability to get their act together and comply with this law.
If you want to fight your red light camera ticket in Florida, but are a little uneasy about the entire process, we will be happy to explain it to you, or you can hire us to do the monitoring of your ticket (to see if they file on time). Whatever you decide to do, we're here to help.
I hope for your sake, the next time I write this article, the number of people who got out of paying a red light camera ticket fine gets increased by one.
**** Please see the updated note in the top of the article. The 60-day requirement has been removed as of 2013***