I received my citation for running a red light on the "camera,” but the video clearly shows the light was YELLOW. When I was about to cross the "sensor" line, the light turned Red, which triggered the camera as if I ran the red light. How can I fight this in the Orange County court?
Please help, the citation is more than I can afford, since I am a struggling Florida college student.
Thanks in advance,
Speeding / Traffic Ticket Lawyer
Red Light Camera violations in Orange County, FL have some very serious evidence issues that must be presented in court for the picture of the violation to be admissible. However, these issues cannot be easily explained and require real knowledge of the law and rules of evidence to challenge.
If you cannot afford to hire a traffic attorney in your area, then you have the right to ask for an infraction hearing for your red light camera ticket and present your case to the judge.
Criminal Defense Attorney
Here is an answer that should help you understand how to fight a red light camera ticket in Florida.
It is very important for you to save the envelopes which contained the notice and the citation. The envelopes will show the dates on which the items were mailed. I have had success in challenging these red light tickets using this method described above. In many instances the notices were mailed out after the 30 day time period has expired, or, the citations were mailed after the 60 day time period has expired. The statute is very specific in stating that the notice and the citations "shall" be mailed within the time period described therein.
If the items were mailed in accordance with the Statute, it is up to the Officer to show they complied with the mandates of the statute. Some judges will make the officer's show the dates in which they mailed the notice and citations, and the officers never keep a copy of the envelope. Without being able to prove the foundation and compliance with the mandates of the Act (the mailing of the notices within the proscribed time periods), the officers do not carry their burden and must use the traditional method of introducing the video into evidence (a live witness).
It used to be difficult for an officer to prove these cases because there was no witness to authenticate the video depicting the driver running the red light. However, these rules of evidence were recently changed due to the legislature passing the Mark Wandell Safety Act. Under the Act, the officers can submit the video into evidence without the necessity of their being a live witness to the driving. This is done by way of an evidentiary shortcut built into the statute. In fact, the registered owner is presumed to be the person running the red light.
If the police department issuing the citation follows a very specific procedure pursuant to the Act, they will then be afforded the luxury of this evidentiary shortcut. The procedure is very specific. The municipality must mail the registered owner of the vehicle a notice of the violation within 30 days of the violation. If the registered owner does not pay the amount in the notice, the municipality must mail a copy of the traffic citation within 60 days of the violation. If they have not mailed notice and/or the citation within the time frames described above, the city cannot enforce the red light violation through this method. The case will then be dismissed.
The above defense that I describe here is somewhat novel and will not work in every courtroom as this statute is very new and courts are having difficulty in uniformly applying it. I have had success, however, that is not a guarantee. Keep in mind if you do not pay the amount listed on the notice within the time period described therein, the amount goes up. So, if you are not successful in challenging the ticket, the amount you pay will be at least $100 more if you pay the ticket. Good luck and use caution. This is not legal advice. Make your own decision.
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