This year, the Florida legislature will be reviewing a proposed bill that would set statewide standards for cameras at intersections that take pictures of the license plates of vehicles that run red lights. Once the picture is taken of a vehicle that allegedly ran a red light, a traffic ticket is automatically mailed to the owner of the vehicle. Legislation regarding standards for red light cameras have been before the Florida legislature several times before, but they have not been able to agree on how to split the revenues.
We see a few problems with red light cameras. First, the ticket goes to the owner of the vehicle, but it is not clear what happens when the owner is not the person driving the vehicle when it goes through a red light. Does the state or county have to prove that the owner was driving or does the owner have to prove that he/she was not driving?
Additionally, as criminal defense lawyers, we represent many people who have been charged with the crime of driving with a suspended license. This can be a serious crime that results in jail time and a longer driver’s license suspension if a person gets multiple convictions. Many people have their licenses suspended without knowing it and do not find out until they are stopped by the police. If a vehicle owner is sent a ticket but does not receive it because it got lost in the mail or he/she changed addresses, that person may have his/her license suspended without knowing it. One could see how the system does not function properly resulting in a lot of people facing potential driving with a suspended license charges without knowing it until they are stopped by police and arrested.