5/3/2013Florida Increases Maximum Red Light Camera Ticket Fine To $408
Florida legislature passes bill limiting due process rights of red light camera ticket recipients.
The Florida Legislature on Thursday gave final approval to legislation limiting the due process available to recipients of red light camera tickets and increasing the potential penalty for those challenging a fine to $408. The changes were included in a 220-page omnibus transportation bill which saw more than sixty amendments considered. The final package was adopted unanimously in the state Senate and with only one dissenting vote in the state House.
Earlier in the day, the House had approved language that would have entirely banned right turn on red tickets, which remain a major source of revenue for municipalities. This was stripped out and replaced with a less significant provision forbidding municipalities and red light camera companies from issuing limit line "gotcha" tickets that are mailed to drivers who did not stop at the arbitrary painted stop bar but, instead, at the edge of the intersection to look left to check oncoming traffic.
"A notice of violation and a traffic citation may not be issued under this section if the driver of the vehicle came to a complete stop after crossing the stop line and before turning right if permissible at a red light, but failed to stop before crossing over the stop line or other point at which a stop is required," House Bill 7125 states.
Another change gives vehicle owners sixty days to contest a violation instead of thirty days, but the rest of the bill's changes were authored for the benefit of municipalities and red light camera companies. The bill states if a ticket is dropped in the mail, it constitutes proper "notification," even if the photo ticketing company mails the notice to the wrong address. Instead of having cases heard by judges, cities and counties can set up hearings run by city staff.
"Formal rules of evidence do not apply," the bill states.
If the designated city or county staff member decides the photo ticket is valid, he can impose $250 in costs on top of the $158 ticket for a total of $408. If someone who files a challenge later decides it is not worth the risk, he will be automatically fined $50 on top of the $158 ticket cost.
Under the bill, Florida will suspend the vehicle registration renewal for anyone who fails to pay or never receives a red light camera ticket. The law specifically forbids a challenge to the validity of the underlying ticket from individuals who learn of a the alleged violation while trying to renew a license plate.
The new provisions will become law on July 1 if signed by Governor Rick Scott (R). A copy of the bill is available in a 900k PDF file at the source link below.