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Don’t Be So Quick To Pay That Red Light Ticket

The Fourth District Court of Appeals upheld a recent ruling declaring that Florida statutes did not authorize certain municipal procedures pertaining to the use of red light cameras to issue tickets to drivers.  In State v. Arems, the 4th DCA stated that the City of Hollywood’s practice of contracting with a private vendor to review red light camera footage, and recommend traffic violations, was an impermissible delegation of powers.

How The Red Light Camera System Works

Most cities in the state of Florida, including Hollywood, use an Arizona private company called, American Traffic Solutions (“ATS”), to implement a red light camera system in their cities.  ATS then regularly reviews the camera footage to determine if any traffic violations have occurred.  If ATS determines that a traffic violation occurred, they send the footage to a Traffic Infraction Enforcement Officer (“TIEO”).  The TIEO then reviews the footage.  If the TIEO agrees with the recommendation from ATS, then he clicks an “Accept” button.  If the TIEO clicks the button, ATS then sends a notice of violation to the car’s registered owner.  If the registered owner fails to pay the fine on the notice of violation, then ATS issues a citation with a computer generated signature of the TIEO.

Why This Practice Is Prohibited Under Florida Law

In Florida, only law enforcement officers and traffic infraction enforcement officers have the legal authority to make the determination if a traffic violation has occurred and issue traffic citations to the alleged violator.  Florida law does not authorize law enforcement officers or traffic infraction enforcement officers to delegate their statutory duties to private businesses such as ATS.  Therefore, cities cannot contract with private businesses to handle the review of their red light camera footage.

Will My Ticket Be Dismissed?

The unique facts and circumstances of your situation will determine whether your ticket will be dismissed.  If the city that issued you a red light ticket has a procedure similar to Hollywood’s procedure, then you have a strong case for dismissal.  However, every city has the opportunity to distinguish it’s procedures for issuing red light tickets.  For example, a city can decide to use it’s law enforcement officers, instead of a private business, to review red light camera footage prior to issuing tickets.  This practice would be completely authorized under Florida law.  If you are interested in fighting your red light ticket, you should call an experienced attorney.

Disclaimer:  Please note that by reading this blog you are not entering into an attorney-client relationship with Hubbs Law, P.A. This blog only provides general legal information.  Every case is different and you should request a free consultation to ensure that you are getting the correct legal advice for your specific case.