Red light traffic camera tickets are still somewhat of a new animal in the Florida traffic ticket world. Pursuant to Florida Statute Section 316.0083 (the “Mark Wandall Traffic Safety Program”), anyone who runs a red light that has a traffic camera may be issued a “notice of violation” within 30 days. The “notice of violation,” contrary to popular belief, is not actually a traffic ticket – instead, it is a fine of $158, which the driver can pay to avoid the notice turning into a traffic ticket. A person who receives a notice of violation may also request a hearing within 60 days, instead of paying the ticket, to contest the validity of the notice.
If the driver fails to pay the $158 fine within 60 days, or to request a hearing, an actual traffic ticket for running a red light will be issued and the fine more than doubles and may include points on the driver’s license.
The “notice of violation” is sent to the registered owner of the vehicle involved. In the case of joint ownership, the notice will be issued to the first person named on the registration. The owner has the right to review the pictures of the infraction or the streaming video evidence. The evidence constitutes a rebuttable presumption that the owner of the vehicle has committed the infraction; this means that the owner of the vehicle is presumed guilty, however, he may provide evidence to show that it was not actually the driver of the vehicle or that there was some defense to the violation. For example, a driver may not be ticketed for failure to stop at a red light if the driver is making a right-hand turn in a “careful and prudent manner” at an intersection where right turns on red are allowed. Additionally, a driver may not be ticketed if the driver came to a complete stop after crossing the stop line and before turning right. A driver may also not be ticketed if he passed through the intersection to yield right-of-way to an emergency vehicle or a funeral procession, or if he passed through the intersection following the direction of a police officer. A person may not be issued a red light ticket in addition to being issued a ticket by a live police officer after the event; only one ticket for running a red light may result from running a red light.
Finally, the owner of the vehicle can contest that he was the driver at the time of the infraction. The State has to be able to tie the vehicle to the ticketed individual by establishing that the driver was the owner. If the owner contests that he was the person actually driving the vehicle at the time of the red light infraction, the owner has to submit an affidavit that includes the name, address, date of birth, and, if known, the driver license number of the person the owner is claiming had control of the motor vehicle at the time of the violation. Further, if the owner is arguing that the vehicle was stolen at the time of the offense, the affidavit must include the police report regarding the stolen vehicle.
Casey Reiter is an associate attorney at Stuart R. Manoff & Associates, P.A. in West Palm Beach, Florida, practicing in the areas of Criminal Defense and Marital Law.