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Missouri: Jail Time Possible for Red Light Ticket Recipients
Proposed ordinance would jail motorists in Saint Louis, Missouri for failure to pay red light camera tickets.

Freeman M. Bosley
Recipients of red light camera tickets in Saint Louis Missouri could find themselves in jail under a recently proposed city ordinance. Saint Louis City Alderman Freeman M. Bosley, Sr. introduced Board Bill 511 in February as a means of shocking motorists into paying their photo tickets which, at present, can be safely ignored.

"Any person who shall fail to respond to a citation or letter... (from a red light camera) shall be subject to prosecution for failure to respond to citation in the Municipal Court," the proposed ordinance states.

Under the city's current ordinance, once the private vendor in charge of the program drops a ticket into a regular US Postal Service mailbox, the vehicle's owner is deemed to have automatically received, opened and understood that citation as far as the law is concerned.

"A violation notice and summons mailed under this section is presumed to have been received by the owner on the fifth day after the date the violation notice is mailed," the Saint Louis City Revised Code Chapter 17.07 states.

This means motorists who go on vacation or have a ticket that is lost in the mail could find themselves subject to serious consequences. The penalty imposed by the proposed ordinance brings the potential fine for non-payment up to $500 and imprisonment for up to ninety days.

Article Excerpt:
February 15, 2008
Board Bill No. 511

Sponsor: Alderman Freeman Bosley, Sr.

An ordinance pertaining to automated traffic control systems; adding a new section, Section 17.07.070 to the City of St. Louis Revised Code, that will make it a violation for failing to respond to a citation from an automated traffic control system; and containing an emergency clause.


SECTION ONE. 17.07.070 Failure to Respond to Citation. Any person who shall fail to respond to a citation or letter issued under Chapter 17.07 of the City of St. Louis Revised Code by timely payment of fine or by timely and sufficient statement as described herein or who shall submit a false sworn statement hereunder shall be subject to prosecution for failure to respond to citation in the Municipal Court for violation of Chapter 17.07 subject to the general penalty provisions of Chapter 1.12 in addition to any other applicable liability or sanctions.

SECTION TWO. Emergency Clause. This Ordinance being deemed necessary for the immediate preservation of the public health, safety and welfare, is hereby declared an emergency measure and shall become effective immediately upon its approval by the Mayor.

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