Aug. 29--BROOKSVILLE -- Vehicle owners thinking about challenging their red light camera tickets in traffic court might want to take notes from local attorney Peyton Hyslop, who Monday gave arguments against the tickets that made a judge give pause.
Hyslop, who is representing Spring Hill resident Julio Carral, said that he is involved in one of the first case challenges against the red light camera tickets.
Carral received a ticket after his vehicle was photographed in May running a red light at the intersection of U.S. 41 and Wiscon Road.
Hyslop argued Monday before traffic court Judge Kurt Hitzemann that motorists aren't given a fair opportunity to challenge them.
He said that, from the start, vehicle owners are given no option to challenge red light camera tickets they receive in the mail. Members of Sensys America Inc., the company contracted to operate red light cameras, act as collection agents for the city, he argues, while pressuring vehicle owners to either pay the $158 ticket or give up a name of someone else who may have been driving his or her vehicle.
If motorists want to challenge the tickets, they have to wait to be issued a traffic ticket and go to court -- where they could face court costs, higher ticket fines and even points on their license.
But he further argued Monday that red light camera images aren't proof as to who the driver is -- something that the state is obligated to prove when determining someone is guilty of a traffic infraction.
He further argued that the images and footage from the cameras should be inadmissible, since there isn't a witness who took the images at the time to testify to their validity.
"A lot of it has to do with what can be submitted into evidence during real court proceedings," Hyslop said. "When you're alleging that a person drove their car through a red light, it's a whole different ball game. It has to be more than tape of someone's car going through a red light."
He added that Brooksville Police, who review footage of traffic infractions after Sensys, have no way of proving who the driver is.
Other arguments he made Monday dealt with whether the tickets are properly delivered and if the contract between Brooksville and Sensys was legal, since it relied upon meeting a red light camera ticket quota to pay the company every month.
During Monday's hearing, Brooksville Police and a Sensys spokesperson were present to answer questions about the cameras and the procedures taken when capturing footage of traffic infractions.
An attorney from the Hogan Law Firm also was present to represent the city, although Hyslop argued that the State Attorney's Office was representing Florida, not the Hogan Law firm.
Judge Hitzemann agreed, leaving no one to argue against Hyslop. However, Hitzemann said he wants to give the State Attorney's Office an opportunity to issue an argument in the case.
The office will be given 20 days to respond. If they do issue an argument, Hyslop would be given another 20 days to issue his response.
Copyright 2012 - Hernando Today, Brooksville, Fla.