Dealing With The Camera
The Low-Down on the Red Light Camera Ticket
There was a time when traffic attorneys were fighting the red light camera ticket and winning. For about 4 years we consistently got these tickets dismissed. That ship has long sailed for reasons I will not write down here. Today we can consistently lower the fine and stop it from being a conviction. And we can help by providing you information on what to do if you get one of these – read on.
What Happens When You Trigger the Red Light Camera
The red light camera is setup to take two photographs if it times a vehicle approaching a traffic signal at a speed it is programed to think will run the light. Even if you brake hard and not run the light, the camera will take the photos. As it is taking these pictures it is also capturing video.
Whenever this happens, the photographs and the video are then reviewed at an unknown time by an unknown person in another state. Based upon criteria contractually agreed upon, that person will electronically send the two photos and the video and a third photograph of a very close, readable picture of your license plate to the municipality paying the company to install and maintain the red light cameras. How the third photograph is created is unknown. How the cameras are maintained is unknown.
The municipality hires people to review all the photos and videos sent and decide if a ticket should be issued. This is down by some type of “accept” or “decline” button. When that happens the company, contractually obligated to the municipality, sends the information to another company which creates a Notice of Violation with the vehicle’s registered owner’s name on it. The registered owner’s name is obtained by allowing either of the two companies access to the State of Florida’s computer files containing such information. The Notice of Violation is then sent to the registered owner by regular mail.
If the fee of $158 that the Notice of Violation requires the registered owner to pay is not paid or an affidavit indicating exactly who the actual driver was is not received, a ticket will, at a future unknown date, be issued with a fine amount of $262.
What You Need To Do When You Receive a Notice of Violation
When (and if) you receive the Notice of Violation, you need to read it thoroughly. Understand what it is saying, and look at the photos and watch the video. If you remember that it was you driving the vehicle on that day or you want to take responsibility for it – pay the $158 to the out-of-state company listed on the Notice. If it was not you driving and you do not want to take responsibility you must fill out the affidavit (see the Notice for information on the affidavit) have it notarized and send it to the company. They will issue a new Notice in the name of the actual driver of the vehicle. You’ll have sixty days to get either one of these done.
Do not set it for an administrative hearing. These are show-trials, heard by people hired by the municipality who has the cameras. You will lose and they will tack on upwards of $250 in addition to the $158. If you are a student of history think of the trials in the Soviet Union during the Great Terror or the Nazi Trials during World War II.
Once paid at this stage it will disappear. It won’t be on anyone’s driving record. In fact, the DMV will never know it occurred. If not paid and no affidavit is sent a red light camera ticket will be issued.
What You Need To Do If You Receive a Red Light Camera Ticket
The red light camera ticket is easily distinguishable from the Notice by the fact that it is asking you to pay $262 (rather than the $158 required by the Notice). It is also mailed to you via certified mail – meaning you have to sign for it. If you work, odds are you will receive a notice that you have to go to the post office to pick up the certified letter. Do not delay.
If you received the red light camera ticket your best bet is to set it for a hearing with the Clerk of Court. If you set the hearing within 30-days of when the ticket was issued (see ticket for this date) you should have a hearing within 6-months of the issue date.
You will receive a notice in the (regular) mail from the Clerk of Court indicating your hearing date. You have to be there or you have to hire an attorney to represent you. What you want to do at the hearing is ask for the fine of the red light camera ticket to be reduced back to the Notice of Violation level – $158. This will most likely happen and the court will tack on around $33 in costs for a total around $190.
If you have reviewed the video (note, I said “video”) and you truly believe you did not run the light, then you can challenge the red light camera ticket at the hearing (meaning, don’t accept the offer of the reduced fine). Note that it is not a defense if:
- You ran it within a second of it turning red.
- You carefully and prudently rolled through the right turn without coming to a complete stop.
- It was not you driving and you don’t know who was.
- The big truck ahead of you blocked the view of the light until it was too late.
If You Want Me To Represent You
If you want me to represent you for a red light camera ticket you can contact me at anytime. I only represent people who received a red light camera ticket in Orange County. Once you reach out I will reply with information on my fee and services.