Municipal governments in South Florida spend millions of dollars a year on law enforcement. They have to pay for the training and salaries of all the officers. They have to pay for equipment and vehicles. The total amount spent on enforcing the law is staggering and governments are always looking to save money. One solution might be to stop hiring officers to enforce dubious traffic tickets like rolling through stop signs. Another solution would be to stop hiring officers to sit at speed traps all day long in the hopes of catching a few unfortunate drivers. Of course, no politician ever won his or her way to re-election by suggesting that fewer police officers are needed or by suggesting that laws be enforced less often, no matter how small the law. Instead, politicians and municipal governments come up with other ways to save money, or in some cases to make it, on law enforcement. One increasingly popular solution to make money around the country is to automate law enforcement. That means that computers do the work of catching citizens breaking the law. We see this solution at work in South Florida with the proliferation of red light traffic cameras.
If you do not know what a red light camera ticket is, it’s pretty simple. A camera is mounted near a stop light. When the light turns red, motion sensors activate. Any car that goes through the red light activates the camera to take pictures of the car’s license plate. Those pictures are later processed and red light camera tickets are sent out to the registered owner of the vehicle. The technology is so cheap and effective enough at catching supposed violators that municipal governments actually make money on the cameras. Naturally, this gives the governments incentive to put up more and more red light traffic cameras.
The problem for people who get red light camera tickets is that the tickets seem almost impossible to fight. Americans put great faith in technology getting things right. The camera takes a picture and it could not possibly be wrong. Of course, we know that technology fails all the time. Planes crash, space shuttles blow up and computers crash. Just because an automated system says that one thing is true, does not make it so. We tend to ignore that fact when it is convenient. Unfortunately, it is all too convenient for municipal governments and courts to ignore that fact when it comes to red light camera tickets. You can fight red light camera tickets, and you should. In a lot of ways, they are no different than other tickets. Just paying the ticket has other penalties, including increased auto insurance rates. One possible way to fight a red light camera ticket is to understand that the person who owns a vehicle is not responsible every time that someone breaks the law in the vehicle. If the car owner was not the person driving at the time, then he or she is not responsible for the ticket. It can be difficult to prove that the owner was not driving when the ticket was issued, but no more difficult than proving that the owner was driving.
There are other ways of fighting red light camera tickets in South Florida. Going over your case with an experienced Florida traffic ticket lawyer is a great way to explore possibilities that you never knew existed. Our firm offers free consultations and we will be happy to explore what you can do to fight your red light camera ticket.