Have you ever opened a piece of mail, only to discover that you were caught on a traffic camera running a red light or speeding? Even though it might seem that a photograph is the ultimate form of evidence, there are still ways to dispute it.
By 2016, there were almost 4,000 red light cameras and over 1,400 speed cameras. While many of them are removed each year, there are also more installed daily.
While the hope is that these traffic cameras will make our streets safer, evidence shows that it’s still up for debate.
We all make mistakes, even on the road. But sometimes a photograph doesn’t necessarily prove that. Maybe you ran a yellow or had just realized you were speeding and were slowing down.
Either way, there are ways to fight traffic camera tickets. Keep reading to find out how you can dispute it.
What’s the Debate About?
While many studies show and claim that traffic cameras save lives, many drivers end up using a traffic tickets attorney to fight their claims.
In an appeal to the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals in 2008, Chicago car owners claimed that the red light camera system violated the due process and equal protection clauses of the 14th amendment.
These drivers had received $90 citations in the mail for running red lights, even though it had been other drivers driving their cars. The judges ruled against these drivers, saying that no one has the right to run a red light on a public street, regardless of who is driving.
Any other lawsuits brought against the government for traffic cameras have been disputed or dismissed. Thus, municipalities have the right to use red light and speeding cameras.
Who Uses Them?
There are 13 states which prohibit the use of speed cameras and 8 states which prohibit the use of red-light cameras. There are 20 states which permit some form of red-light camera use and 21 states who have no laws pertaining to the use of red light cameras at all.
In Florida, as it pertains to speed cameras, there are no laws or programs. However, as it relates to red light cameras, they are permitted for use statewide. The citation is always issued to the registered owner of the car, regardless of who is driving at the time of the photograph.
Traditional penalties typically amount to $158 with no points or $125 with 3 points.
Because red light cameras are used across the state of Florida, there is often a need for drivers to call a Florida traffic ticket attorney.
What Should You Do If You Receive a Traffic Camera Ticket?
If you open your mail and note that your car was photographed running a red light, the first thing you should do is look carefully at the ticket. Check the date, time, and location and determine whether or not it was you driving the car.
Take note of what section you are being accused of violating. Make sure that if your penalties are listed in the code section, that the code section violations match the fines assessed on your ticket.
Check for any dates and further instructions. Some will let you pay or dispute online, whereas some will require a court appearance.
Remember to abide by any specified dates. If you miss your window to pay, your fines could almost double. If you wait too long, your license could be suspended.
How Can You Dispute a Traffic Camera Ticket?
If you have determined that you were not the one driving your car at the time the ticket was taken, then you have reasonable cause to fight it. The prosecutor must prove that it was you driving the vehicle. If you weren’t the one driving, then be honest, and use the blurriness of the photo to contest that it was you.
If your license plate is not legible, you’ll have even more cause to fight the ticket. If the license plate is not clearly visible, then you really can’t be charged with the ticket at all.
In Florida, even though the owner of the vehicle is the first person deemed responsible for a ticket, they aren’t necessarily accountable if the prosecutor can’t prove that it was the owner of the car.
The device that takes photos is not always accurate. The enforcing agent should be able to provide evidence that the sensors and the camera were working accurately on the day in which the photo was taken. If they can’t do this, you may be able to suggest or claim a device malfunction.
What Was the Situation?
Even if the photo is clear and your license is visible, AND you admit that it was YOU driving the car, you may still be able to dispute the ticket. Driving is about following the rules and laws of the road. But it’s also about being able to adapt to any situation to be as safe as possible.
Maybe the day that you received your ticket, it was raining, and you determined that it was too slippery to make a complete stop. Perhaps you deemed that by running the red, you would eliminate the chance of sliding into the intersection where you may have caused an accident.
Demonstrate your avoidance to cause a crash or any other safety concerns you had at the time which inspired you to make the choice that you did.
You May Need a Lawyer to Help with a Traffic Camera Ticket
If you received a traffic camera ticket in error, or you believe that your reasons for running a light were valid, you have more than enough cause to fight your ticket.
Depending on your knowledge of the law, and the time that you have available to dedicate to getting your ticket dismissed, you may wish to seek the help of a Florida traffic lawyer.
While you may be reluctant to shell our any funds after worrying about having a ticket to pay, hiring a lawyer could help get your entire ticket dismissed without any points being added to your license.
Are you worried about how much it will cost or want to know how we may be able to help? Give us a call or contact us today.