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2 Judges Dismiss 24K Red-Light Camera Tickets in 1 Fla. County

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By Christopher Coble, Esq. on March 18, 2015 12:32 PM

I've got good news and bad news. The good news: If you've recently gotten one of 24,000 red-light camera tickets in Broward County, Florida, it may have just been dismissed. The bad news: The county just lost about $6.3 million in potential revenue.

Two Broward County judges this week dismissed 24,000 red-light tickets after the red-light camera program was challenged in court for breaking a Florida state law, the ABA Journal reports.

How did so many people get so lucky?

Improper Delegation of Police Power

Broward County contracted with American Traffic Solutions (ATS), an Arizona-based company, to review video captured by traffic cameras. ATS would then select cars it believed ran red lights and forwarded their recommendations to Broward County police to issue the tickets.

This scheme, however, violates a Florida state law requiring that only local law enforcement may issue traffic citations. Since the tickets were improperly issued, they were invalid, the judges found.

As the Sun-Sentinel explains, Broward County joins a long line of Florida counties and cities that are either re-evaluating or dropping their red light camera programs altogether. Palm Beach County and cities such as Boca Raton, Margate, Hallandale Beach, and Coral Springs have stopped their red-light camera programs; Fort Lauderdale and Hollywood have suspended their programs, following court rulings similar to the one issued by the two Broward County judges.

What to Do If You Get a Red-Light Camera Ticket?

If you are unlucky enough to get a red light ticket, here are some ways you could potentially challenge them:

  1. A hearsay argument. Usually hearsay evidence cannot be presented in court, unless there is an exception. Whether a red-light camera photo is considered hearsay varies from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. If your jurisdiction has ruled such photos as hearsay, then the ticket may be dismissed for lack of evidence against you.
  2. Check the picture. Take a good look at the picture taken by the red-light camera. Is that actually you driving? If it wasn't you in the driver seat, then you arguably didn't break the law.
  3. Find out who is reviewing the red-light camera. Do what they did in Broward County: Does your state have a law requiring that only local law enforcement issue tickets? Are the cameras being reviewed by an out-of-state company? If so, you may be able to challenge the legality of the red-light camera program itself.

If you've received a red light camera ticket in the mail and would like to challenge it, an experienced traffic attorney may be able to help assess your options.

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