Law would permit red light camera appeals

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - Andrew Bolger has gotten three red light camera violations.

He knows his options by heart.
 
"You can pay it or you can be prosecuted," said Bolger.
 
As it stands now If you think you're not guilty, your only option is to refuse to pay the red light citation.
 
But then that citation turns into a full blown moving violation and the possibility of an even bigger financial penalty.
 
"Basically, there's no recourse," said Bolger.
 
If the governor signs it, a new state law would require cities with red light cameras - like Boca, Boynton and West Palm - to create an appeals process, one that would allow you to plead not guilty before a city hearing. 
 
But Ticket Clinic lawyer Tod Hollander sees a big problem with that.
 
"The hearing officer is paid by the same city that's issuing the ticket," said Hollander. "I can't imagine there won't be pressure on that hearing officer to make sure that people are paying for these citations."
 
The law would also allow municipalities to tack on as much as $250 dollars in fees if you lose your appeal.
 
And so that $158 red light violation could suddenly cost more than $400.
 
"I think they clearly missed the mark," said Hollander. "There's all kinds of problems with the statute."
 
Boca Raton councilor Susan Haynie disagrees, saying council would appoint the same local attorneys who currently handle code enforcement to consider red light appeals.
 
"They work in an impartial manner. I would envision we would just expand that process," said Haynie.
 
The governor's press office says he has not yet been sent the bill, and won't say whether he plans to sign it.

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