The new laws surrounding red light camera traffic tickets are unfair and boarders on draconian. But the latest news makes you think we have moved to communist Russia; circa 1958, where the State looks at how much money you have and decides it is too much. What I am talking about is the fact that you will pay more for a red light traffic ticket if you live in the city of Boca Raton, Florida. That’s right, the same ticket received in the next city would cost you less money. In fact, if you get a red light camera ticket in Boca Raton, you will pay more than if you got the identical traffic ticket in ANY other South Florida city. Let me explain.
NEW RED LIGHT CAMERA LAW
Starting in July 2013, there is a new process when you get a red light camera ticket. You will receive notice in the mail that you got a ticket. You will then have 60 days to pay it, appeal it or wait. If you pay it, you will pay $158. If you appeal it, you will go before a special clerk in the city that you received the traffic ticket. That special clerk (ie; a city employee with no legal, judicial or any other experience) will decide whether the ticket is valid. If he decides that it is, he can charge you up to $250 for appealing in the first place. Basically, it is a punishment for asserting your rights.
WHO ARE THESE PEOPLE
The reality is, that the city can have anyone hear your traffic case. They can hire a lawyer or retired Judge, but they won’t. What they can and are doing is just adding this job to a clerk’s job. In other words, the person who you pay your electric bill at city hall can hear your appeal. The guy who sweeps the floors in the building can hear your appeal. Why pay someone competent to hear a legal issue when you can have the janitor do it. Well, that is what some cities are doing. Here is the best part, they are paid with your money. Let me explain. You get a red light camera traffic ticket in Boca Raton. You appeal it in the City of Boca Raton (you have no choice). The Clerk who hears your appeal is paid by the City of Boca Raton. The money you pay when you lose goes to the City of Boca Raton. How many red light camera tickets do you think will be dismissed under this system? I bet almost none.
DISCREPANCIES IN FEES TO APPEAL
Like the title suggests, you will pay the most if you live in Boca Raton. Not every city has set up the appeals system yet, but most have. Here is what we have so far. The fee to Appeal your case (have your day in pretend court):
- BOCA RATON CHARGES $150
- BOYNTON BEACH CHARGES $85
- CORAL SPRINGS PENDING
- DAVIE PENDING
- PALM BEACH CHARGES $70
- FORT LAUDERDALE CHARGES $75
- MARGATE CHARGES $75.
This is just a sample to give you an idea of what is going on. Why should it be twice as expensive to get your day in court in Boca Raton than it is in Margate? It shouldn’t and it is unfair. There is one bit of good news I have for you. If you wait past the 60 days, your red light camera ticket becomes a uniform traffic citation (UTC). That means that it becomes a real traffic ticket that can be taken to real court with a real judge. That means that you can hire an experienced traffic ticket lawyer to fight your red light camera ticket. Thus, if you get a ticket, wait the 60 days and call me, Attorney Jason Diamond, for a Free Consultation.