What Should You Do If You Get a Red Light Camera Ticket in Florida?
You can drive for miles in Orlando and believe that you are abiding by all traffic laws when, without warning, you receive notice of a Florida red light camera ticket.
If you receive a red light camera ticket in the mail, you might assume that the easiest thing to do is to pay the ticket and try to be more careful.
However, it is important to know that even red light camera tickets can be costly—both in terms of an initial fine, as well as the increased costs associated with points on your license.
The following is a list of everything you should do if you get a red light camera ticket in Florida.
You Should Wait to Pay the Fine Until You Have Spoken with an Attorney
Under Florida law (Fla. Stat. § 316.075), it is unlawful to enter an intersection when a light is red. Even though a red light camera ticket indicates that you have violated Florida traffic law, you should not immediately jump to paying the ticket.
Instead, you should wait to pay the ticket until you have spoken with a lawyer. However, as we will explain further down, you should not wait too long before contacting a lawyer or you can face an additional penalty for failing to pay the red light camera ticket.
You Should Hire a Florida Traffic Ticket Lawyer
You might think it is going to make the most sense time-wise simply to pay your red light camera ticket. However, especially if you received a second notice of the violation, you should get in touch with a Florida traffic ticket lawyer to learn more about disputing the ticket.
In many cases, drivers who receive red light camera tickets can get the fines reduced, or, even better, can have the violation dismissed. It is worth your time in the short term to work with a lawyer to avoid the long-term costs of a traffic ticket.
You Should Understand the Penalties for a Red Light Camera Ticket
While many states issue red light camera tickets that are tied to relatively low fines, the fines are actually quite high in Florida:
- $158 fine for running a red light and receiving a red light camera ticket; and
- $262 if you do not pay the red light camera ticket after receiving your first notice.
The cost of these tickets is as high—and in many cases higher than—other moving violations in Florida. To be clear, red light camera tickets in the Orlando area are not a low-cost ticket since it was not issued directly to you by a law enforcement officer. Rather, the fines associated with red light camera tickets in Florida can be as high as numerous other traffic offenses in the state.
You Should Learn More About How Red Light Camera Tickets Can Impact Your Driver’s License
Although a first notice of a red light camera ticket will not add points to your license, you should know that, as soon as you get a red light camera ticket, if you do not pay it or fail to speak with a lawyer, you can end up having points assessed to your driver’s license. Indeed, the $262 ticket associated with failure to pay your red light ticket upon first notice counts as a ticket for which you will get points on your license.
As you may know, points can add up quickly, even with only one or two traffic tickets on your record. These points can result in substantial auto insurance increases and can end up costing you a lot of money in the long run. The initial time-related costs of fighting the red light camera ticket can help you to avoid insurance costs down the road.
You Should Discuss Possible Defenses to Beat the Ticket or Reduce the Fine
If you got a red light camera ticket, you should not assume that you need to pay the fine. To be sure, there are many ways to fight a red light camera ticket. Even if you cannot convince the court to negate the ticket altogether, with the help of your Florida traffic defense attorney, you may be able to have the cost of the fine reduced.
Possible defenses to a red light camera ticket can include:
- Photo does not clearly identify you as the driver (e.g., photo is blurry);
- Red light camera was not working properly when it took your photo, and you did not actually run a red light under Florida law;
- You ran the red light in order to avoid an accident; or
- You ran the red light because your brakes were faulty and would not allow you to stop in time.
You Should Consider the Possibility That the Ticket is Unlawful
For quite some time, lawmakers in Florida have been taking steps to repeal the Mark Wandall Traffic Safety Program law. That law was passed in 2010, and it was named after a person who was killed by a driver who ran a red light.
The law permitted the installation of red light cameras across Florida, and it is the source of red light camera tickets in the Orlando area today. Almost since it took effect, legislators have questioned the fairness of the law, particularly given the high cost of red light camera tickets.
Florida Bill HB 6003
According to an article in the Sun Sentinel earlier this year, those in favor of repealing the law have argued that red light cameras do not actually punish “bad” driving, and that the law actually assesses expensive fines for “taking a right on red, failing to stop, or just barely crossing the line when a camera is at an intersection.”
Just recently, lawmakers proposed HB 6003, which would repeal provisions of the law allowing for the use of red light cameras. While the bill died in the Appropriations Committee in May 2019, lawmakers could push for a repeal again.
Contact a Florida Red Light Ticket Lawyer
Did you receive a red light camera ticket in the mail? A Florida red light ticket attorney can discuss your options for disputing the violation. Contact Skubiak & Rivas, P.A. to learn more about how we can help.