Red Light Camera Tickets / Orlando

Yes, these cameras are here and yes – we are fighting them.  However, if you intend to fight these, be prepared.

Here are the things we are running into in court.  The municipality or county is trying to introduce hearsay through documents they try and enter into evidence through the “business records exception.”  Problem is that hearsay within hearsay, such as this, is inadmissible unless ALL hearsay meets the requirements (predicate) of an exception.  So far, the municipalities and counties have not been able to meet this burden.

Another thing we have run into is the part of the statute (316.0083) that says that certain things are “admissible.”  Sometimes a hearing officer will think that this is a legislative exception to the rules of evidence.  Fortunately, only the Florida Supreme Court can approve a rule of evidence or a modification thereto.  Have case-law on that to back up your argument.

Finally, be prepared to fight the introduction of the video and the photograph.  The enforcement officer may be familiar with the intersection but the date and time are hearsay and only known to the officer by the information header found on the video.  Also notice that the license plate is not readable on the video (at least the ones I have seen).  This means that the photo is the only method of identification.  The photo, however, crops just the area where the plate is located – there is no other information that the enforcement officer could testify to having knowledge of but the back end of the car and the plate itself.

Needless to say, the rules of evidence are alive and well.  Expect some municipalities to fight these with hopes to appeal them (and win).  Get your objections on the record, voir dire the witness (don’t rely on cross-examination), bring case-law. Don’t give the municipality or county the opportunity to appeal AND WIN due to a lack of defense record on appeal.

Eric J Dirga, PA

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