Red Light tickets are being given out more and more each day. In fact there is a big movement to install thousands of red light cameras across the nation, but we will get back to that.
Running red lights is one of the deadliest types of traffic infractions. However, as we all know, sometimes we just make a mistake and ran the light. But this does not mean you should have to get points on your license. We have fought thousands of red light tickets and most of the time our clients get no points and non driving school when we fight their ticket.
If you get a ticket for running a red light from an officer, we can fight it. In fact, if you just pay it, you will get points. However, there are now dozens of Red Light Cameras in place. Red light cameras take a picture of your car and your tag if you run a red light. The ticket goes to the registered owner of the car and the ticket does not carry any points. That is, if you pay it, your license in not effected and your insurance will not go up. If you want to fight the ticket, you can, but it’s a long process and might not be worth your time.
Also, if you fail to pay the red light camera ticket, you cannot register your car and the city that issued it might send it to a collection company. Thus, try to be careful for your safety and your wallet not run any red lights. The seconds you save might save your life and your money.
RED LIGHT CAMERA SCAMS
According to the New Times of Broward, Red-light cameras, when misused by idiotic and irresponsible public officials, can be one of the great scourges of America. That much is fact. Even when they are used with some semblance of jurisprudence, they might be flat-out illegal. We’ll just have to see how the court challenges turn out. But in the wrong hands, they can be downright evil. Check out this Miami Herald story on the poor people of Aventura — and all others who drive in that city – who are getting shaken down by their own government for hundreds, sometimes thousands of dollars. Their “crime”: Rolling a red light on a right turn. You do it all the time even if you don’t know it. You come up on an intersection, see there’s no cars coming, and never quite come to a complete stop. In Aventura, this will get you a $125 fine for the first offense, $250 for the second, and a whopping $500 for each additional. It’s obscene, and making it worse is that if one of the cameras got installed at a red light near you, you could rack up multiple fines before you get the notice in the mail telling you did anything wrong in the first place. Responsible towns don’t do this. Pembroke Pines, which was the first city in Broward to install the cameras (send your thanks to Angelo Castillo), doesn’t do it. West Palm Beach did it for a while but then realized how grotesque it was. In May, WBP not only discontinued the practice but decided to refund all the money it generated from such fines back to the citizens who paid them. But some towns just don’t get it. Here’s the top of the Herald story: Jeff and Patricia Rudman have an unexpected $2,000 bill to pay. The Sunny Isles Beach clothing salesman came home from work to find his pregnant wife sobbing, holding several tickets for failing to come to a complete stop at a camera-monitored red light in Aventura. After a $125 ticket in the mail the previous day, five more — amounting to $1,875 more fines — were dropped in the mailbox that afternoon. All of them were for making only a rolling stop before a right turn at Aventura Boulevard and West Country Club Drive, nabbed by one of the red-light violation camera fast spreading throughout South Florida. And all were within a weeklong period. “Two-thousand dollars to anybody right now is a hit, and to us, with a third kid coming, it’s beyond. It’s just way too much,” Jeff Rudman said. Rudman is among a contingent of South Floridians who’ve received multiple tickets for red-light violations before they even knew they were breaking the rules.“We didn’t have a chance to learn what we did wrong,” he said. “I don’t think anybody in their right mind, knowing full well that the oven is hot, is going to put their hand in the oven. We didn’t get the opportunity to get burned the first time.” … City officials argue the law against running red lights has been on the books for decades, and drivers who break the law shouldn’t complain when they get caught. “That requirement that you come to a complete stop before turning right on red, it’s been a state law for many, many years,” said Joanne Carr, Aventura’s community development director. First off, Joanne Carr should be fired. Period. She obviously has no understanding of basic concepts like justice and fairness. Next every elected official in the town should be run out on a rail. Don’t pay these fines. Go to court and fight them. Judges, do your duty and dismiss the cases one after another until the derelict cities follow in West Palm Beach’s footsteps.
RED LIGHT CAMERA’S ILLEGAL?
Cities throughout the state scrambled Monday to review their red-light camera programs after a circuit judge ruled that Aventura is illegally using the traffic devices to catch motorists. Although the case is being appealed, its eventual resolution will influence at least 26 cities statewide that have installed red-light cameras. They include Pembroke Pines, Hallandale Beach, Boynton Beach and West Palm Beach. Invoking opinions issued by the state attorney general in 1997 and 2005, Miami-Dade Circuit Judge Jerald Bagley said traffic laws are the purview of the state and that police officers should witness — and then issue tickets to — red-light runners. Relying on a traffic camera alone, without an officer at the intersection, was “invalid,” Bagley said, according to a transcript of his summary judgment issued Monday. City officials argued red-light cameras prevented accidents and they sidestepped state law by issuing code violations, not traffic tickets. The vehicle’s owner, not the driver, was cited. No traffic points were issued and fines generally cost $125. Appeals could be made only to a special magistrate, who typically worked for the city. ”Red-light cameras save lives and the state of Florida has been too slow to approve this life-saving measure, forcing cities to do what they themselves should be doing to protect residents,” said Pembroke Pines Commissioner Angelo Castillo. But traffic lawyers and some motorists say local governments overreached. The State should run the traffic ticket laws said Jason Diamond from the Traffic Ticket Team. Several hundred drivers from throughout the state last year joined class-action suits filed against Pembroke Pines, North Miami, Homestead, Orlando and more than a dozen other local governments. Pembroke Pines officials have already set aside $253,919 in an escrow account from the 3,072 citations issued since March 2009. It has cameras posted at Southwest 129th Avenue and Pines Boulevard, but postponed the installation of several more until a lawsuit filed by more than two dozen drivers is settled. ”We are aware of the order,” said Michael Cirullo, who is helping represent Pembroke Pines in a suit pending against the city’s red-light program. “We have yet to fully review the order, but when we do, we will be evaluating it to see whether it will have any effect on the city’s program.” Officials in West Palm Beach, which began using a red-light camera system on Sunday, said their city will be unaffected by the ruling because it was in a different circuit court. ”We have not had time to completely review the case. However our system will remain active,” city spokesman Chase Scott wrote in an e-mail. “Before we issue a ticket, the incident is reviewed by three people and then a link to watch the video is issued along with the violation. We believe the cameras save lives and prevent injuries to pedestrians and other drivers.” Fort Lauderdale City Attorney Harry Stewart said he had not seen the order yet, but based on what he’d heard, the city might wait for the appeal to be decided before installing the cameras at 10 intersections. The city on Feb. 3 approved a 39-month contract with American Traffic Solutions in Kansas and hoped to start reaping about $1.8 million a year. ”In order to evaluate whether we should dump our program or continue forward, we need to be able to see the order and evaluate the legal determinations therein,” Stewart said late Monday afternoon. City Attorney Brian Shutt said his city was prepared for the controversy. ”We have a provision that says we won’t proceed forward with implementing or installing the cameras until there is state law that provides for this or until there is a favorite court ruling that allows them,” he said. The issue came up in the state Legislature last year, only to fail after lawmakers disagreed over how to apportion the ticket proceeds. In March, the Legislature will consider a bill that would allow cities and counties to use traffic cameras. Part of the proceeds from fines would go to trauma centers, hospitals and nursing homes.
PALM BEACH HAS RED LIGHT CAMERAS
Never mind the court challenges or the bills in the legislature. Warm-ups and warnings are over, West Palm Beach says. For the first time in Palm Beach County, a city with red-light cameras says it will start handing out real fines today. “I think initially we’ll see a lot of resistance and a lot of flak about the program, but in the long run I think people are going to see it’s going to keep our streets safe,” said assistant police chief Dennis Crispo. West Palm Beach and a private camera vendor will split $125 fines generated at four intersections, soon to be five. Since a warning period began Nov. 21, red-light cameras in West Palm Beach have recorded 17,349 “events,” Crispo said. After reviewing the evidence, police approved the mailing of warnings in 5,815 cases. As of today, cops are supposed to start approving fines, not warnings. Royal Palm Beach indefinitely postponed fines Feb. 8 after some drivers there were upset about warnings for what they considered safe right turns on red. There were also complaints about distracting camera flashes. Before fines are mailed to car owners based on their license plates, West Palm Beach police will review camera evidence on a case by case basis, Crispo said. Motorists who show a clear attempt to stop during a right-on-red attempt are less likely to get a fine than those who blow through without stopping, he said. Car owners who are sent a fine will be able to go online to see evidence against them, Crispo said. Appeals will be handled by a designated official, he said. Infractions do not count as points on a driver’s record. In some places, the mood has turned testy against the use of various forms of cameras for traffic cases. A dentist’s sign-wielding protests against Juno Beach’s speeding van have preceded the planned March 2 debut of red-light camera fines there. In an extreme case in Arizona, a man has been charged with fatally shooting the operator of a van designed to nab speeders with cameras. Several cities decided to wait for what happens with court challenges to the cameras in Florida, as well as bills in the state legislature. West Palm Beach attorney Jason Diamondargues the cameras are unconstitutional because they fine the car owner as opposed to the driver, presume guilt, and fail to ensure traffic regulations are uniform throughout the state. Other cities are pushing ahead. Palm Springs expects to begin fines from red-light cameras March 1, with Haverhill pegging March 15, officials in those municipalities said. West Palm Beach’s red-light cameras await at Parker Avenue and Belvedere Road, Parker and Summit Boulevard, Australian Avenue and Banyan Boulevard, and at Australian and Belvedere, One will be added at Australian and 25th Street.
RUNNING RED LIGHT TURNS DEADLY
For police officers, even the most mundane of duties carries the risk that it can escalate into violence. That is what happened to Florida Highway Patrol trooper John Paikai on Tuesday. Paikai attempted to execute a routine traffic stop after Robert Swank ran a red light in Avon Park. The officer was most likely just planning on writing a traffic ticket to the Florida driver but that’s when things took a deadly turn according to an AP press story last week. After Paikai pulled Swank over he exited his cruiser and began to approach Swank’s car. At that point the 37-year-old struck the officer with his car. In order to stop the assualt Paikai fired his weapon and shot and killed the car’s passenger, 33-year-old Amber Gregory. Paikai was taken to the hospital and an investigation is under way. If you have received a traffic ticket, make sure you don’t mouth off to the police and you should not do anything that will get you shot.
RED LIGHT CAMERA LAW SUIT
Two separate law suits involving red light cameras in Aventura and Temple Terrace, Florida have officials in Pembroke Pines worried that their Broward city could be next. Critics of the red light cameras assert that the cameras violate drivers’ due process rights. A few months earlier, Florida’s legislature killed a bill that would have allowed municipalities to install red-light cameras at intersections. In response to these concerns, city officials are working to amend their contact with American Traffic Solutions (ATS) so that ATS would shoulder part of the burden of any lawsuits. Last March, Pembroke Pines became the first city in Broward County to fine drivers for speeding using red-light cameras. The first camera is at Pines Boulevard and 129th Avenue. They have since added five more, and violators are fined $125. Twelve other Broward County municipalities are either researching this option or are about to vote on it. Hollywood, Fort Lauderdale, and Hallandale Beach have all approved red-light camera programs, despite it being a legal gray area. If you get a traffic ticket for a red light camera, you don’t need to worry about points on your license, but the fines are hefty. If you need some advice, please call me at (954) 967-9888 or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
RED LIGHT TICKET REFUNDS?
RED LIGHT CAMERA TICKET REFUNDS?
Potentially good news for you and me. The Florida Supreme Court will hear two cases on the legality of fines collected from motorists caught by red light cameras before the Legislature passed a law authorizing their use. At stake could be millions of dollars in fines collected across the state. They may have to be refunded if the justices side with the 5th District Court of Appeal.
LOSING MONEY ON RED LIGHT CAMERAS
**Those traffic light cameras that flash two seconds after you’ve run the red were supposed to be big revenue generators for local governments. Turns out, not only don’t these cameras save lives, they are not making any money for local governments. Almost every major study shows that red light cameras don’t prevent accidents. In fact, most studies show that they cause more accidents from people locking up their brakes to avoid a ticket. According to Palm Beach county administrators, the county owes more than it’s taking in.
The ten cameras that were installed throughout Palm Beach county last year have generated $308,877. However, the county owed American Traffic Solutions $456,957 for that period. Since the county’s contract doesn’t require them to pay the difference until the cameras turn a profit, they won’t necessarily lose money. The traffic light cameras won’t make any either.
The problem seems to be that not enough people are running red lights. If the system were to break even, West Palm Beach would owe American Traffic Solutions $199,425. However, the city won’t have to pay if the cameras continue to lose money. According to spokesman Elliot Cohen, only one of the city’s seven red light cameras has made a profit since the system was installed in 2010.
Boynton Beach, Palm Springs and Juno Beach, who all have a contract with American Traffic Solutions as well, have all made a profit this year. County commissioners are expected to discuss the cameras at the end of the month. Commissioner Burt Aaronson said that the goal was never to generate revenue. “It was about saving lives, ” he said. “It was never intended to be a ‘gotcha’ thing.” If you believe that, there’s a bridge in Brooklyn I have for sale. Meanwhile, Palm Beach County officials say that, in order to cover the over 4-grand-per-camera fee, they would have to hand out 64 traffic citations a month. So be sure to smile real big next time you run a yellow in West Palm Beach.
RED LIGHT CAMERAS UNCONSTITUTIONAL?
As I’ve said many times, things in the world of red light camera tickets change constantly. What is legal one day, is illegal the next day. What traffic ticket attorney motions are being granted one day are being denied the next. It makes it very hard to have hard and fast rules, as every Florida County is unique, and there is such animosity towards these red light camera tickets that every city is trying to weigh the benefits against the cost.
About a year ago, the town of Davie decided to install red light cameras and have been writing tickets since. Most of the time if a client called us for a Red Light CAMERA ticket within the first 30 days, we advised the clients that it was in their best interest to pay the ticket as these tickets do not carry points. At the Traffic Ticket Team, we always put the client first. It is rare that a person should pay a ticket and not fight it, but there are circumstances when that is the case.
Well, I’m glad to report, that we have a rule we can apply that will work in our client’s favor. Judge Fred Berman, a Broward County Judge, has ruled the town of Davie’s Red Light Camera Tickets are unconstitutional. What does this mean? Well, at least for now, if the appropriate motion is raised in front of Judge Berman, he will be dismissing red light camera tickets that come before him. How long will this last? Who knows? As I indicated, things change fast in the legal world. Especially the red light camera ticket world. Of course, the ruling is being appealed. But that could take months or longer. For now, if you have a red light camera ticket issued in the town of Davie, I encourage you to allow us to fight it for you and try to get it dismissed.