Palm Beach County is racing to set up a new appeals system that will allow drivers to contest red-light camera tickets without going to court, where the penalty for the infraction could be higher.
The new system would be required under a bill (HB 7125) passed by the Legislature and sent to Gov. Rick Scott this week. Unless vetoed by Scott by June 12, it requires counties, cities and towns with red-light cameras to designate a local hearing officer, similar to a code enforcement magistrate, by July 1 to review appeals.
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Staff writers Lona O’Connor and Willie Howard contributed to this story.
WHAT THE BILL WOULD DO
• Make it more difficult to issue red-light camera tickets to drivers who turn right on red.
• Create a new hearing process to allow motorists to appeal red-light camera citations without going to court.
CHALLENGING RED LIGHT TICKETS
— Motorists must wait 30 days to challenge the ticket in court. By that time, the fine has risen from $158 to $264.
— Motorists who wait to appeal and are unsuccessful could be hit with other court costs and have the ticket added to their driving record, which is inspected by insurance companies.
— Motorists would have 60 days to appeal the $158 violation to a local hearing officer. If the challenge is unsuccessful, drivers could be required to pay as much as $250 in administrative costs in addition to the $158 fine, but if they pay at that point, the ticket would not be added to their driving record.
— Those who don’t ask for a hearing and don’t pay the ticket within 60 days would see their fines rise to $264. They would still have the ability to appeal the ticket in county court.