HOLLYWOOD, Fla. – Dozens of red-light runners who were caught on camera in the city of Hollywood were in court Monday morning as their cases were dismissed.
Brian Ray said he was surprised by the ruling.
"I was expecting to have to plea out," Ray said. "I wasn't aware that it was going to be a dismissal. I thought I was going to have to at least explain the case."
It comes after Friday's decision by the Fourth District Court of Appeal to not reconsider its October decision which said the city can't rely on its private vendor, American Traffic Solutions, to first review the pictures and videos from the traffic cameras and decide which ones to send to the city so it can issue the violation.
"The court is essentially saying that the police officers have to review every single violation, if they're going to use this program," attorney Ted Hollander with The Ticket Clinic told Local 10 News.
He said technically the ruling applies to cities statewide, but many are still issuing the $158 fines, which most violators just pay. Of the cases that end up in court, most are being dismissed or continued by the cities that issued the violation.
However, despite the ruling, some cities are still prosecuting the cases. If you'd rather take your chances in court, Hollander said, you should disregard the violation when it comes in the mail. Within 60 days, you'll get a traffic citation in the mail. Don't pay that either, he said, and elect to go to court. Hollander said you should bring a copy of the appellate court's ruling and ask to have your case dismissed.
"But if you go to court and you don't win, you risk not only a higher fine, you also risk a conviction on your driving record and that could affect you for a long time to come," Hollander said.
The ruling doesn't become official until the court issues its final mandate within 30 days. The city of Hollywood is going to ask the court to withhold the mandate until it decides whether it's going to appeal to Florida's Supreme Court.
In the meantime, many cities are asking judges to continue their cases so they can prepare to argue that their red-light camera programs are different than the one in Hollywood that was struck down by the court.
Hollander said he's ready to fight that battle.
"I'm anxious for our day in court because I have a contract for virtually every city in the state and each contract has the same provision that says ATS will do the initial review," Hollander said.
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