Miami Legal Tips Blog

Florida Judges Toss 24,000 Red Light Tickets

stoplightThe pair of Broward County justices, reports the Orlando Sun-Sentinel, determined that the program – whereby drivers are issued tickets for stoplight violations based on evidence collected from a video camera – goes against Florida law.

Had the issuing of the tickets resulted in the collection of a $264 fine for each offense, the 24,000 citations would have generated $6.3 million.

With that kind of money at stake – and potentially much more, with courts in Miami-Dade and Palm Beach counties poised to determine similar cases—what was the argument that convinced the judges to rule in favor of the Ticket Clinic, a group that has helped its clients fight the red-light program for greater than four years?

According to the group’s attorney, they made the point that the red-light program amounted to “an improper delegation of police power” due to the fact that the recordings from the cameras were being shipped to another state, where a company had its employees review them for potential violations.

As the attorney explained, it’s not fair to break one statute while trying to enforce another one – something he contends various municipalities have essentially been doing for some time. Other cities, such as Coral Springs, Boca Raton and Margate, have ceased operating their red-light camera operations.

More hearings have been scheduled in other locales, including one in Polk County near the end of May. A group that wants to try to get back fines previously paid in the Miami area has initiated a class-action proceeding in a federal court there.

In February 2015, an appeals court turned down an appeal by the city of Hollywood, which objected to a ruling in October that prevented the municipality from farming out the writing of tickets to its out-of-state vendor. While Hollywood has ceased writing tickets, the dozen-and-a-half red-light cameras it owns continue to capture footage.

The city is said to be mulling over how to keep the program in compliance with state statutes; it’s possible that violations currently being recorded by its cameras could be acted upon at some future date.


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