Red-Light Cameras Have To Follow The Law, Even In Florida​

Fighting a ticket you got from a red-light camera in a small town is like fighting every other small town ordinance... if you are not from that town you are going to get rogered but good.

A number of towns in Florida have their own red-light camera rules: wildly different fines, and different processes to fight your ticket. Disputing a red-light ticket in these towns mainly involves going to city hall to have some good ol' boy administrator ask you where your Daddy is from, laugh, and then fine you anyway.

Even by Florida standards, this is incredibly stupid. You can't have wildly different traffic laws when driving from one Podunk town to another as you desperately try to make it to Miami before nightfall.

In 2010, the Florida legislature tried to standardize the state's red-light camera laws, fines, and procedure for court. The law said that motorists had a right to be heard in county courts, instead of out in Judge Jimbo's backyard.

Predictably, some towns in Florida simply ignored the state legislature, because Florida.

But yesterday, the Florida Supreme Court overruled red-light camera ordinances in Aventura and Orlando, confirming I suppose, that Mickey Mouse is still subject to statewide legal oversight. The Daily Business Review reports:

Justice Charles Canady wrote the majority opinion. Justice Barbara Pariente dissented with a concurrence from Justice Peggy Quince.

"The Orlando and Aventura ordinances establish a regime for the punishment of red-light violations that is distinct from the statutory regime for the punishment of such violations," Canady said...

"Each of the ordinances creates a municipal code enforcement system for the disposition of red-light violations that is entirely separate from the enforcement system established under Chapters 316 and 318," Canady said.

The Florida court is making a basic pre-emption argument. The state has ruled clearly on this, and individual towns are not allowed to go against the state rules just because they feel like it.

To be clear, you should still stop at red lights in Florida. But even if you don't, you are still entitled to due process