What to Know About Florida’s Red Light Camera Law
There’s a lot of debate surrounding red-light cameras, especially in Florida. Some see them as a necessity, while others think they don’t do the job well enough, only making the government money, and charging the wrong people.
If you need to know the Florida red light camera law and how it works, keep reading for a simple breakdown.
What Is the Florida Red Light Camera Law?
Red light laws punish drivers for going through red lights. The red light camera law allows districts of Florida to install cameras into their lights to better catch these offenders. The cameras take photos or videos of a vehicle that happens to pass through a red light, sometimes even when turning right on a red.
If you’re caught breaking a red light law by a camera you will be notified via mail.
The law states that you must be notified of the violation within 30 days. You also must be informed that you have a right to view the evidence, and you must be informed that you have the right to contest the ticket. If none of those happened when you received your ticket, you may be able to get off.
Why Does Florida Have Red Light Cameras?
In 2010 a man named Mark Sandal was killed by someone who went through a red light. In his honor, and to make driving in Florida safer, the Florida government passed red light camera laws. They named the law after the victim — the Mark Wandall Traffic Safety Program law.
Florida has a very high number of traffic accidents every year, another reason for bringing in these laws. These laws were put in place with the hopes of making Florida’s roads safer, and endangering fewer lives.
It’s always a good idea to familiarize yourself with Florida traffic laws whether you have a case against you or not. Being informed will help you defend yourself when things like this happen, and help you be prepared to not make these mistakes again.
What Do People Think of Red Light Laws?
Since its implementation in 2010, there have been push-backs to get the law repealed. Most recently, in January of 2019, there was a 12-1 vote to repeal the law, which would go into effect in 2022. However, this still has to go through the senate, so it may not go into effect.
Many believe that red-light cameras do not do anything to punish bad driving. Instead, they believe the laws lead to more fines for people who are turning right on a red, or are a little over the line when they make a stop. There is a constant push for repeal, but so far none of these pushes have gone through to the fullest extent.
What Are the Fines for Breaking Florida Red Light Camera Law?
Red light violations, as well as stop sign violations, are noncriminal infractions. Fines vary depending on your traffic violation history, but failing to stop at a red light will cost you between $150 and $275 altogether. Red-light cameras help determine whether or not you actually stopped.
The initial fine for getting caught by a camera running a red light is $158. If you fail to pay the ticket after your first notice, you’ll get hit with another more substantial fine.
Since breaking a red-light law isn’t a criminal infraction, no demerit points will be put on your license. This offers at least a little relief if you’re being convicted.
This only applies if it’s your first red light camera violation, though. Your second violation leaves you open to receiving up to three points on your license, and so does avoiding paying the ticket upon first notice. This hammers in the importance of taking action immediately after receiving a red light ticket.
What You Should Do If You Get a Red Light Camera Ticket
You should always contact an attorney before you pay a red light camera ticket. You should do this as soon as possible so you aren’t fined for failing to pay the ticket. There are lawyers in Florida that specialize in traffic and red light tickets, and these are often the best options for getting this done.
A traffic attorney can usually get you a reduction on your fine, or even have it completely dismissed in certain situations. Of course, nothing is a guarantee, but it’s better to try and get the ticket reduced rather than give in and pay.
Defense Against Red Light Camera Tickets
Red-light cameras can be hard to defend against. They provide photographic evidence of an individual violating traffic laws. There are some defenses that your attorney can use and look into to try and get you off, though.
If the photo taken by the camera does not show you as being the driver of the car, the evidence might not stand. If you ran the red light to avoid an accident, or because your brakes were faulty this can also lead to a fine reduction. It’s also worth looking into whether or not the red light camera was working properly, and has been correctly maintained.
Other defenses include running the light to yield to an emergency vehicle and being directed by the police to go through the light. You can also get off if you have a ticket by a police officer for the same violation.
Get the Help You Deserve
Hopefully, you’ll never have to face a red light camera fine, but accidents happen. If you get hit with a fine because of the Florida red light camera law, you need to get yourself a traffic lawyer. You’ll be thankful you took the necessary steps to defend yourself, even if you can’t get the fine completely erased.
If you’re looking for someone to defend you in the case of a red light camera ticket, see what we can do for you by getting a free ticket evaluation. Contact us with any questions, comments, or concerns.