We are disappointed to report that we were unsuccessful in the Facella v. Orange County case.
Here is a link to that opinion, if you’d like to check it out: FacellaOpinion
The short version of the opinion is that this means that the state of the law in the Ninth Circuit (Orange and Osceola counties) now is that you cannot argue at your administrative hearing that the RLC system is invalid or illegal as a defense to your violation.
Instead of trying to fight the validity of your RLC at the administrative hearing level, you must request a hearing in traffic court.
This was a blow to the little guy, as most non-lawyers (and even most lawyers!) are not going realize the necessity of electing a traffic court hearing over an administrative hearing. However, the process is pretty simple and it is important to get the word out, so here we go:
If you want to argue that your RLC is illegal or invalid under Hastings v. City of Orlando and City of Hollywood v. Arem (Fastcase) (i.e., if you want to argue that the RLC system violates the Mark Wandall Act by allowing a private vendor (ATS) to step into the shoes of the local police and essentially issue the violations), you must ignore the initial notice and wait until you receive a Uniform Traffic Citation (UTC) in the mail.
Once you receive the UTC in the mail, you will then need to request a hearing which will be before a real traffic judge. Pay attention to the date you receive your UTC, which should come by certified mail.
In many jurisdictions, the municipalities are unable to get the traffic court hearing set within the speedy trial deadlines (180 days in Florida under Rule 6.325(a), Florida Rules of Traffic Court).
That means that if you do not get a hearing within 180 days of the day you receive the UTC in the mail by certified mail, you can file a motion to have your case dismissed based on speedy trial.
The Facella Opinion was disappointing, but we are all committed to working toward getting red light cameras banned in the Florida. In fact, a ban bill has passed the state House at the time of this writing, and there is a lot of pressure to have the Senate vote as well. If both houses pass the ban bill, RLCs will be done in Florida. So call your Senators and tell them to vote against RLCs.
There is a lot that can be done at the local level too.
You can join the fight by opposing Orange County’s (or your city or county’s) RLC contract renewal and by being active at local council meetings.
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