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Speeding Camera Ticket? Not So Fast

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By Brett Snider, Esq. on July 01, 2013 8:42 AM

No one likes a speeding ticket, but what about getting one without ever being pulled over by an officer?

Across the nation, cities have taken advantage of speeding cameras -- automated devices that record the speed of passing cars and snap photos of the ones that exceed the posted speed limit in that area.

Local jurisdictions may be happy to collect the revenue. But drivers, and even legislators and some judges, are not smiling at all for these camera tickets.

Tickets Lack Foundation

One of the main issues with speeding camera tickets is that the camera system is entirely automated; no actual person observes the driver speeding, which leaves lots of room for legal challenges based on hearsay.

Normally, a police officer would need to testify that a driver was exceeding the posted speed limit in order to prove the elements of a speeding violation.

Just like with red-light camera tickets, drivers seeking to contest a speeding camera ticket can potentially object to the camera's report as both hearsay and a violation of the right to confront the witnesses against her.

Judges Shutting Down Cameras

Partially due to many of these evidentiary issues, judges all over the country have dismissed tickets issed based on speed-camera evidence, and in some cases have ordered the cameras to be unplugged.

In one recent example, an Ohio judge found the city of Elmwood Place in contempt for not shutting down its speed cameras after his order in early 2013. The judge also ordered the city to pay back $48,500 collected from speed-camera tickets to drivers, reports Cincinnati's WCPO-TV.

Another judge in New Mexico found that the use of speeding cameras violates a driver's right to due process.

Legislators Fight Back

There are approximately 150 communities in 13 states that use speeding cameras to lighten the pockets of speeding drivers. Speeding camera tickets net these cities millions in revenue, reports NBC News.

Lawmakers in some states like Ohio have gotten tired of the court cases and citizen complaints, and have moved to ban speeding cameras altogether.

As speeding camera tickets have attracted opponents from both sides of the aisle, the widespread use of automated cameras to enforce speed limits may be coming to a speedy end.

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