Posted On: May 1, 2012 by Leifert & Leifert

Palm Beach County Traffic Ticket Defense: A Double Standard

Our Palm Beach County traffic ticket defense attorneys know that red light cameras have raised concerns regarding fairness and legality. trafficlight.jpg

For those who have ever required a Palm Beach County traffic ticket defense, you're probably aware that these little devices snap photos of vehicles who reportedly run red lights. At one point last year, there were so many legal problems with the devices - problems that were costing taxpayers more in legal fees than they were bringing in with citations - that lawmakers had even for a time debated taking them down.

Those discussions have been shelved for now, but one issue that has recently cropped up is a double standard between cops and the rest of us. According to an investigation by The Sun-Sentinel, most cities aren't ticketing their own officers when they run a red light without a legitimate reason.

In most cases, the newspaper found, the officers are being given a verbal warning or a written reprimand, rather than the $160 fine the rest of us get.

In Juno Beach, for example, the town has out-and-out refused to give officers citations for red-light running if they're in their police cruiser - whether they're actually working or not. There, all emergency vehicles are getting a pass.

In a lot of cases, if the officer was on official duty, the ticket is dismissed.

Certainly, our Palm Beach County traffic ticket defense attorneys understand that police are emergency responders, and as such, sometimes have to get to a scene very quickly and are permitted to violate certain traffic laws to do so, provided they use the utmost caution.

And certainly, the red light cameras are rife with problems.

But the greater issue here is fairness. If police are not rushing to a scene, there should be little reason why they would need to run a red light.

The whole issue has led to some somewhat embarrassing exchanges, which the newspaper made public. In one e-mail, a deputy U.S. marshal contacted a sergeant at the West Palm Beach Police Department, asking for, "help with a little problem that I have." She went on to say she received a red light citation while she was in her personal vehicle, but that she was in fact on official business. The case was dismissed.

While we can't weigh the merits of that specific case, the greater issue is perception. Municipalities can't cherry-pick to whom they will give these citations.

Police agencies have said that a written reprimand is a harsh penalty for officers who violate the law, and that most would rather pay the $160 fine. However, our Palm Beach County traffic defense attorneys would counter that most citizens would rather receive the written warning - if that were an option.

However, Palm Beach traffic defense attorneys have had great success in fighting these red light camera tickets. That means if you receive one, you don't merely have to pay the fine and have the mark on your driving record. Consult an attorney to consider your options.

If you need traffic ticket defense in Broward or Palm Beach counties, contact the Law Offices of Leifert & Leifert, a Partnership of Former Prosecutors, for a free consultation to discuss your rights. Call 1.888.5.DEFEND.

Additional Resources:
Policing cops: Red-light cameras catch officers running lights, By Susannah Bryan and Sally Kestin, Sun Sentinel

More Blog Entries:
Broward Judge to Police: No More Red-Light Tickets in Fort Lauderdale, June 20, 2011, Palm Beach Traffic Ticket Defense Lawyer Blog