Everyone knows that running a red light is both illegal and highly dangerous. In the State of Florida, approaching an intersection and making a right turn in less than three seconds is just as egregious. Thanks to red light cameras that are installed nearly in every crevice of the State of Florida, you could be looking at a fine anywhere from $158 to over $277. Still feeling in a rush to make that right turn? According to the New Times of Broward, when misused by irresponsible and less intelligent than average (ahem) public officials, red light cameras can be considered one of the great scourges of America. Even when used with some semblance of common sense and jurisprudence, they can be just plain illegal.
As a traffic ticket attorney for over seventeen years, I’ve seen my fair share of these red light camera tickets. I recently had a client for a free consultation. Her daughter had borrowed her car and run a red light. A few weeks later she received a fine in the mail for $158. She was both outraged and confused as to why her driving record was in jeopardy because of the negligence of her offspring. Unfortunately, due to the fact that red light camera are unable to detect the face of the driver, the red light camera violation is assigned to the primary name on the car’s registration. This means that if you name appears first on your car’s registration (or any car), congratulation, you’ve just been awarded a fine anywhere from $158 to $200+! Don’t you feel lucky?
Some cities in Florida are more pernicious than others. For example, if you received a red light camera ticket in Aventura, you could be facing a fine as high as $500. The worst part is that there is often a two week or more delay before you receive these violations in the mail (if at all). By that time, some “run” multiple red lights by not waiting the required three seconds before making a right turn. Reasonable cities/towns don’t follow this practice. Pembroke Pines, which was the first city to install red light cameras in Florida (you can send your fan mail to Angelo Castillo), does not follow in this practice. They have a set fine amount that you incur for running a red light, regardless of how many times lights you’ve already allegedly run. The supposed tradeoff for these red light camera tickets is that they do not carry points. This may not prove to be comforting enough as with the story of Jeff and Patricia Rudman. The Miami Herald reported that the couple have accrued $2,000 in fines from red light camera violations. They received a red light camera ticket for $125 in the mail and the next day five more, amounting to $1,875 arrived. All of these red light camera tickets were for making a “rolling” stop before making a right turn at Aventura Boulevard and West Country Club Drive.
Jeff stated that, “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.” Because these tickets all arrived in rapid succession, the Rudmans didn’t even realize that they were breaking the law before being buried underneath exorbitant fines. “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.” If you are one of the unlucky many who has received one of these red light camera violations in the mail or did not receive a red light camera ticket at all and have a suspended license as a result, do not despair. Call our office for a free consultation regarding your traffic tickets to discuss your options at (954) 967-9888.