Fighting red light tickets could soon cost more

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Posted: Saturday, May 11, 2013 4:54 pm | Updated: 9:14 pm, Mon May 20, 2013.

SARASOTA--More and more often, there's an eye in the sky watching you pass through intersections.

You may not even know its there; that is, until a ticket shows up in your mail box. And if a proposed law comes to pass, fighting that ticket issued by a red light camera could end up costing a whole lot more.

"I definitely see challenges, there have been challenges with these red light cameras since the day they've been instituted," said attorney David Haenel.

As it stands now, tickets issued by red light cameras cost $158.

Under the new proposal, that amount would stay the same, but local jurisdictions could increase the cost of the court fees associated with appealing the ticket up to $250. That would bring the grand total to more than $400.

If the change goes into effect, jurisdictions would also have to create an independent review board to hear the appeals. Haenel says that could lead to a conflict of interest.

"The problem that you have with that is the agency, the city of Sarasota, for example, is actually the one who is issuing the ticket and is also the one that's going to hire somebody to listen to your appeal," said Haenel, "obviously there's a lot of money in the actual issuing of the citation and actually through the appeals process, and I'm not comfortable with that."

He also says the fear of having to pay that much in court fees could persuade drivers to just hit the brakes when it comes to challenging the ticket.

"I think in actuality it's probably a scare tactic," said Haenel, "it's basically set up in such a way that you initially hear the maximum penalty, you're going to be shying away from actually challenging your ticket because you think wow the tickets $158, if I lose I could be paying up to 400 dollars."

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Welcome to the discussion.


  • srd275 posted at 8:42 pm on Sun, May 12, 2013.

    srd275 Posts: 8

    The new provisions are part of a 226-page omnibus transportation bill (HB7125) that includes numerous other provisions unrelated to red-light cameras. They were slipped into the bill on the next-to-last day of the legislative session, without a single hearing in committee (only the bill in its original form was heard in committee). The bill cleared the House on Thursday in a 114-1 vote. It is awaiting Gov. Rick Scott’s signature.

    The red-light camera provisions’ major shifts represent a severe blow to consumer interests and protection. Conversely, the shifts will help local governments that have spy cameras, such as Palm Coast, further increase their revenue from the scheme, since the totality of the supplemental fine portion—allowable as “administrative” costs—will go exclusively to the local government assessing them, giving local governments an incentive to do just that.

  • srd275 posted at 8:40 pm on Sun, May 12, 2013.

    srd275 Posts: 8

    In summary, you would be able to appeal notices of violation at the city level, but the trial will not be overseen by an impartial judge, you will have less tools to fight the ticket, you will have less of a chance of winning, and if you lose it could cost you more than appealing a citation in front of a real judge that will allow you to have full legal trial rights. If you do appeal at the city level you might have to pay as much as $408, and if you don’t pay that fast enough you won’t be able to renew any of your vehicles’ registrations. All of these will be the new penalties for the civil infraction that is a red light camera violation.

  • srd275 posted at 8:39 pm on Sun, May 12, 2013.

    srd275 Posts: 8

    •HB 7125 continues to make US mail "proper notification". PEOPLE EVEN BEING SUED have the benefit of a process server. This is important because MAIL is lost all the time or sent to the wrong address. PROCESS SERVER SHOULD BE REQUIRED TO PROPERLY NOTIFY!
    •HB 7125 holds a owners registration even if you NEVER RECEIVED THE RLC TICKET IN THE BEGINNING!
    •HB 7125 OUTLAW CHALLANGES on motorists who learn of the ticket months later! (this is why you need process server notification).
    •HB 7125 STRIPS eveidence rules out.
    •HB 7125 lets RLC towns move challanges from Court to "hearing" officers RUN BY CITY STAFF. This is akin to letting the Fox guard the hen house!
    •HB 7125 Imposes HIGHER COST TO DARE CHALLANGE! "$250 in costs on top of the $158 ticket for a total of $408. If someone who files a challenge later decides it is not worth the risk, he will be automatically fined $50 on top of the $158 ticket cost."


    WE URGE CITIZENS TO CONTACT THE GOVERNOR AND ASK HIM NOT TO SIGN HB7125 until RLC industry provisions are removed.

    His contact information is here:

    Office of Governor Rick Scott
    State of Florida
    The Capitol
    400 S. Monroe St.
    Tallahassee, FL 32399-0001

    (850) 488-7146


    Ban the Cams also urges you to contact your representatives and tell them about what was sneaked in. Ask them to work on removeing the 3 above PRO RLC industry amendmendments.

    List of Representatives:

    Locate your representative:

  • Paul Henry posted at 12:55 am on Sun, May 12, 2013.

    Paul Henry Posts: 5

    An "independent review board"? Hardly. Having read the bill, a "hearing officer" could be anyone the local government, who is in the revenue stream of these tickets big time, decides to use. There are no legal qualifications, so the dogcatcher could do it, as could the same police officer that reviewed the evidence. Will a city employee find against their employer? A similar situation happened in Pasco County, and the hearing officer resigned.

    The law has many more bad parts to it, such as suspending tags for ALL vehicles for just ONE unpaid ticket. How will that effect "economic development" when a freight company loses all their tags?

    The legislature had a great chance to follow the principles of American justice with the Motorist Rights bill. Unfortunately, big money via Sen. Jeff Clemens (D-ATS) amended all of that out of the bill, and added skewed language instead.

    Citizens need to call Gov. Scott at (850) 488-7146 and tell him to line item veto every one of the changes made to the red light camera law in HB7125.

    Automated for-profit law enforcement is a bad idea, and it breeds corruption.
    "In the future, there is significant revenue to be generated by this venture"
    - Former Gulf Breeze, FL Police Chief Peter Paulding, who now makes $2,000/month in retirement thanks to an automated for-profit device program he used his official position to implement


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