Broward News

Pembroke Pines to Issue Partial Refunds for Red-Light Camera Tickets

If you got one of those pesky tickets from a red-light camera for blowing through an intersection in Pembroke Pines, you could be in luck.

The city has announced it's going to be giving refunds to anyone who paid for a red-light-running ticket from a camera they received before July 1, 2010, according to the Associated Press.

Pembroke Pines began using red-light cameras and issuing tickets before it became legal by state law to do so.

The power for cities to issue citations caught by the red-light cameras in Florida's Uniform Traffic Code didn't take effect until July 2010, and a lawsuit filed is getting those people off the hook.

Jason Weisser, a West Palm Beach attorney, filed the lawsuit contending that the city didn't have the right to issue the red-light camera tickets before the state law took effect.

Pembroke Pines Assistant City Attorney Mike Cirullo issued a memo with the announcement, although he says the city isn't at fault, according to the AP.

Cirullo says they're just giving the refunds "for settlement purposes only."

There are around 3,000 people who will be eligible to file a claim with the city to get some of their money back from their ticket, although Pembroke Pines is waiting for the courts to figure out how much of a refund drivers are entitled to receive.

This announcement is the second small victory recently for those who detest being caught on camera gambling to be T-boned in an intersection, since Broward County Judge Fred Berman effectively banned police officers from writing tickets for running red lights while red-light cameras are still in use.

Berman ruled a few weeks ago that it's not fair for police and cameras to coexist in ticketing drivers for running red lights because they each carry different penalties.

He contended in his ruling that the double standard was a violation of both the Equal Protection Clause of the United States Constitution and the Florida Constitution.

The attorney general's office wasn't too happy about it, but Berman thinks the law can't go both ways -- if you're caught running a red light by a cop, you'll likely have to pay a fine and points will go against your license. For a traffic camera, the fine is significantly lower, and no points go against your license.

His ruling doesn't hold as precedent for other judges in the county, and Pembroke Pines' decision won't affect other cities, but it may be proof that the anti-camera advocates are catching up.

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Matthew Hendley
Contact: Matthew Hendley