Red Light Camera Violations
WHERE ARE THE RED LIGHT CAMERAS IN PINELLAS COUNTY, TAMPA, HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY, AND PASCO COUNTY AND WHAT CAN I DO TO FIGHT THESE?
UPDATE: Unfortunately, after years of fighting these cases, the Florida Supreme court has weighed in on this issue (as I have been suggesting for over half a decade). The decision in Jiminez v. State means that American Traffic Solutions and others can continue to take money from people with, what is in my opinion, Due Process, right to remain silent, and proving a case beyond a reasonable doubt. However, this is the law of the land of the State of Florida, and therefore, until our legislature repeals this (which I encourage you to contact your local legislator), then we must deal with this process.
The government has now been able to convince the Florida Supreme Court that they continue to use the red light cameras as a weapon at their disposal in trying to catch people at running a red light. Our law office has been battling, from the beginning when these entered service, and will continue to battle the police in defending people charged with this offense. The law office of Craig Epifanio, P.A. has defended people in all parts of Tampa Bay. See below for some of the most common intersections where these red light cameras are located.
Despite the recent Supreme Court ruling, there are still defenses to these cases. For example, if the camera only shows the "owner" of the vehicle and not the actual "driver" of the vehicle, then this may still be challenged. In the preliminary challenges that my office and others have done, some, but not all, judges are saying that there is a rebuttable presumption of the owner being the driver. Also, some judges require the owner to come forward with evidence of innocence. While the statute does allow a person to simply submit an affidavit, notions of due process should not require a person to prove their innocence. Since the founding of our country, if the Government is going to take either our liberty (as in jail) or our property (such as fines), then it has ALWAYS been the Government's burden to prove that the person being charged is actually the person who committed the law violation.
However, our office will continue to challenge this law where it can. In addition to other potential Constitutional grounds there are various legal challenges that can be made based on existing precedence and Court rules. Among other things, there are still rules of hearsay, and this statute allows a person to be convicted on pure hearsay. Florida law has never allowed that. Further, there are authentication of the records used to convict a person of this red light infraction. American Traffic Solutions (ATS) does not have a representative from their company to authenticate any picture or video of the vehicle. In fact, ATS, does not even allow a person access to their evidence. ATS is set to make a lot of money from these camera systems. The St. Petersburg Times on September 8, 2011, has said that it will cost $3.7 million dollars over three years to maintain and run this system in St. Petersburg alone. That cost will be covered from the fines recovered. In fact, according to Tampa Bay Online article in August, 2012, in St. Petersburg, they collected $1.2 million dollars in 11 months and Tampa has grabbed an astonishing $2.3 million dollars in 10 month's time. Cities and counties expect to make about $1 million dollars on top of what they have to pay ATS. Clearly a money grab for the jurisdictions who have these camera systems which is put on the back of citizens in an economy where hard working citizens can barely afford it. In fact, a December 2012 report on the St. Petersburg intersections with red light cameras show that accidents actually INCREASED by 10%, further reinforcing the fact that these cameras are not about safety, but about revenue.
One of the most important challenges our office has made is in respect to proving the identity of the driver. There is no photo of the driver, only the license plate tag. However, on infractions, when a person is represented by an attorney, they are not required to appear in court. Despite this, Florida law still requires that the officer prove the identity of the driver. When challenging these citations, this rule of law has become one of the most powerful weapons to fight this statute. Even if one were to admit to their attorney that they were actually driving, it does not change the fact that our country is founded on the principle that the Government must prove their case, and the accused does not have to disprove anything. The Law office of Craig Epifanio, P.A. is dedicated to fighting these types of tickets as well as any other traffic or criminal violation where the Government exceeds their power.
I have created a mostly comprehensive, but not all-inclusive, list below as a public service so that you and others you may know are aware of the many red light camera intersections throughout the Tampa Bay area that are either already in use or about to be in use:
|PINELLAS COUNTY||HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY||PASCO COUNTY|
New Port Richey:
Feel free to contact my office with additional locations so that we can keep the public aware of these red light camera locations.