Throughout the past year, judges in both Broward and Miami-Dade County have heard challenges to the red light camera systems on constitutional and evidentiary grounds, and have ruled in the municipalities’ favor. This summer, Polk County entertained a similar challenge from more than 40 ticketed drivers, with similar results.
On August 17, a County Court Judge in the Tenth Judicial District denied a Motion to Dismiss Red Light Camera Citations on the basis that the movants failed to prove their assertion that the red light camera ticketing program was unconstitutional. Attorneys for the defendants attacked the constitutionality of the red light cameras on numerous grounds, including their assertion that the program violated equal protection. Because the red light camera program did not create a suspect class or deprive drivers of a fundamental right, the Court applied the rational basis test to determine whether the program was constitutional. The Court held that the defendants failed to show that the statutory language was not rationally related to the State’s interest. In a related case decided the same day, the Court ruled that the City of Haines’ contract with American Traffic Solutions (“ATS”) for red light camera services was a valid and legal contract. The Court held that the ATS-Haines City Contract was legal because ATS would be paid a fixed fee based on services rendered and not on a quota system of tickets issued.
WSH attorneys have extensive experience defending municipalities in challenges to their red-light camera systems. Our Litigation Division has represented several South Florida municipalities in red-light camera litigation, including Aventura, Coral Gables, and Hallandale Beach. Our Appellate Practice Group routinely handles constitutional challenges before appellate courts at the State and federal level. In 2011, WSH Partner-in-Charge Michael S. Popok and Partner Edward G. Guedes obtained a favorable decision from the Third District Court of Appeal, which upheld the constitutionality of the City’s red light camera program. The case, Aventura v. Massone, was widely publicized in newspapers and legal blogs in South Florida.
Author(s): Brooke P. Dolara