Recognized Clearwater criminal defense attorney Paul A. Meissner Jr., of Carlson, Meissner, Hart & Hayslett, PA. clarifies the red light camera controversy
When the Florida Legislature convenes on March 7, 2017, the debate over red light cameras will resume. This time, discussions will include a recent report from the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles that indicates crashes increase at intersections where red light cameras are installed.
According to the report, after the installation of red light cameras, crashes rose 10 percent at 148 intersections in 28 Florida cities and counties during the July 2012-April 2016 period, and rear-end crashes increased more than 11 percent. Accidents involving pedestrians and other non-motorists fell almost 20 percent, and crashes involving running a red light were down about 3 percent.
Florida’s Legislature has considered bills to ban red light cameras over the past few years. Each of those bills has failed. This upcoming legislative session will consider two bills—SB 178 and HB 6007 -- that call for the repeal of red light cameras in Florida by 2020.
“The introduction of photographic automated enforcement systems – red light cameras – has added a new twist to defending against traffic tickets,” said defense attorney Paul A. Meissner Jr. of Carlson, Meissner, Hart & Hayslett P.A. “Much of the controversy over the use of these red light cameras is related to the way evidence of speeding or running a red light is verified and how the violation is served.”
Red light cameras work by triggering the camera to take a photograph as a vehicle passes over a sensor in the intersection when the light is red. Photos of the vehicle’s front license plate and the driver are taken. A police officer is to check the photo of the driver against the driver’s license photo of the vehicle’s registered owner before a citation is mailed to the vehicle’s registered owner.
“If you receive a citation, the first step is to check the photographs to determine if the vehicle in the photo is your vehicle, and who was driving the car at the time the photograph was taken,” continued Mr. Meissner. “There are several issues to explore in defending a red light ticket, including circumstances where the driver was making a right turn.”
The criminal defense lawyers at Carlson, Meissner, Hart & Hayslett P.A. have been serving the Tampa Bay area community for more than 45 years, and share more than 125 years of combined experience. Innovative practice and proven litigation skills make the firm Tampa Bay’s premier legal team, with a proven track record of success and a reputation for excellence. For more information, visit the firm website at www.CarlsonMeissner.com or contact the office directly at 877-728-9653.