Florida Red Light Camera Tickets

Florida Red Light Camera Tickets

© William D. Slicker, 2012.  

            At present, there are about 26 states, plus the D.C., that allow municipalities to use cameras as the basis for issuing red light tickets. There are also about 15 states that prohibit such action.

            Florida is one of the states that allow municipalities to use cameras as the basis for issuing red light running tickets. Cities in at least 10 different counties have set up cameras for this purpose.

            The city ordinances have been attacked on various constitutional grounds. A county court in Dade County struck the ordinance of the City of Aventura as being preempted by the State’s right to control traffic. However, that opinion was reversed on appeal. City of Aventura v. Masone, ___ So. 3d ___, WL 5964359 (Fla. 3rd DCA 2011). A contrary ruling was issued in Minnesota. State v. Kuhlman, 729 NW 2d 577 (Minn. 2007).

            Another ordinance was challenged on the basis of a denial of equal protection. However, a county court in Broward County upheld the ordinance. State of Florida vs. South East Florida Zimmer, Case No. 11-005631 T 120 A.

            At least two ordinances have been challenged on the basis that city ordinances impermissibly shift the burden of proof from the government onto the defendant. A county court in Broward County upheld the ordinance. State of Florida vs. South East Florida Zimmer, Case No. 11-005631 T 120 A, relying upon City of Knoxville v. Brown, 284 SW 3d 330 (Tenn. 2008). Also see Agomo v. Fenty, 916 A. 2d 181 (D. C. 2007); Idris v. City of Chicago, 552 F. 3d 564 (4th Cir. 2009); Shavitz v. City of High Point, 270 F. Supp. 2d 702 (M.D. N.C. 2003). A county court in Pasco county initially struck a city ordinance as unconstitutional due to this burden shifting. However, the opinion was pulled because the Attorney General had not been notified and allowed to argue. Filippone v. City of Port Richey, Case 11-5699 WFF. The county is waiting for an en banc ruling on the issue.

            Attacks on such statutes based upon the argument that the photo constitutes an illegal seizure have been denied in at least one other jurisdiction. McNeil v. Town of Paradise Valley, 44 Fed Appx. 871 (9th Cir. 2002).

In short, as of 2012 it did not look good for a constitutional attack on Florida’s red light running camera ordinances.

            However, there was finally a determination that a city had illegally delegated the enforcement of red light running and the issuance of tickets to the camera company. City of Hollywood v. Arem, 154 So. 3d 359 (Fla. 4th DCA 2014). That ruling has been followed in Blake v. City of Gulfport, Case #15-0013-AP-88B (Fla. 6th Cir. 2015).

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