Red light camera law takes effect July 1

Traffic camerasIn a communication from Dana Reiding, Chief of the Bureau of Records at the Division of Driver Licenses, local Historic City News reporters have learned that, effective July 1st, counties and municipalities in Florida are authorized to use red light cameras.

Governor Crist signed House Bill 325; creating Section 316.0083, Florida Statutes, establishing procedures related to red light camera violations.

Under the new law which goes into effect next week, a county or municipality must issue a notice of violation to the registered owner of the vehicle within 30 days after it has been determined that a red light violation has occurred.

The notice must contain the photo of the tag and intersection, the time and date stamp of the violation, a time and place or Internet location where the evidence may be examined or observed, and an explanation of the penalty and remedies.

The penalty is $158 and must be paid directly to the entity sending the notice — either the actual government authority or its approved technology vendor.

Within 30 days after the date of the first class mail notification, the owner must either pay the penalty to the issuer or submit an affidavit claiming one of the following exemptions:

• The driver was trying to yield the right of way to an emergency vehicle or as part of a funeral procession;
• The driver passed through the intersection at the direction of law enforcement;
• The motor vehicle was in the care, custody or control of another person, in which case the owner must provide additional information identifying the driver or proving theft of the vehicle. If the vehicle owner identifies another person as the driver, that driver may receive a citation.
• A uniform traffic citation (UTC) was issued for this offense by a law enforcement officer to the driver already. The affidavit must include the number of the uniform traffic citation.

If you don’t respond to the notification, a Uniform Traffic Citation will be issued. The owner or driver must pay the penalty, plus court fees, to the Clerk of Court. The estimated total civil penalty if paid to the clerk is $256.

If requested, the new law provides for a hearing and subjects a violator to civil penalties by the court. If the issuing entity determines that the UTC was issued in error, the entity may provide documentation to the driver to present to the Clerk of Court requesting dismissal. The Clerk of Court is authorized to dismiss the citation in these instances, but may not charge a fee for the dismissal.

Regardless of disposition, no points will be assessed to the driver record. However, if the owner or driver pays the civil penalty or is otherwise found guilty, the violation will be recorded as a conviction on the driver record.

Red light camera violators will not be required by the Department to complete a basic driver improvement course, unlike violators cited for running a red light by a law enforcement officer.

Photo credits: © 2010 Historic City News staff photographer

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