Red Light Ticket Defense FAQ
A ticket for running a red light or stop sign can add 3 points to your driving record. Your license can be suspended for accumulating 12 points in any 12-month period, therefore having an experienced traffic ticket defense attorney in your corner can mean the difference in maintaining your driving privileges.
Question: I got charged for running a red light in Miami, but I know the light was not red. At the very least, it was yellow or maybe even green. If I tell this to the Court, aren’t they going to find me not guilty?
Answer: The law is the same throughout Florida. The charge has to be proven beyond a reasonable doubt, the same standard of proof that is used in criminal cases.
However, I have been a traffic ticket defense lawyer in South Florida since 1997, and this is my experience: If it comes down solely to your word against the word of the police officer who wrote the ticket, you will have difficulty defending your position.
When I’m defending a client in such circumstances, I use discovery to gain all of the information and facts available. This is the best way to formulate a successful red light ticket defense that isn’t simply your word against the officer’s word.
Question: What red light ticket defense works best?
Answer: It depends on the facts of each situation, and having an experienced traffic attorney working for you is your best opportunity to have the ticket dismissed or for you to be found not guilty. Some of the most common red light ticket defense strategies are:
- Showing that the signal is not operating properly, for example, that the yellow light is too short
- Demonstrating that the driver’s view of the signal or the officer’s view of the signal was obstructed by a permanent or temporary obstacle
- Making the case that running the red light prevented greater harm such as causing an accident or hitting a pedestrian
- Proving that the police officer who issued the ticket was not in a position to see whether or not you ran the red light or has vision problems (such as not wearing corrective lenses) that affected his or her ability to see properly
- Verifying that you ran the red light to get out of the way of an emergency vehicle such as an ambulance or firetruck that was approaching rapidly from behind
Question: I got a red light ticket in Fort Lauderdale. Can I defend myself in the case?
Answer: Regardless of where in Florida you received the ticket for a red light offense, you have the right to defend yourself.
In my many years as a traffic defense attorney, I have seen very few cases where someone defending themselves has been successful. If you’d like to discuss reasons for and against defending yourself against a red light ticket, you are welcome to call me for a free consultation.
Question: There is a new traffic light on my street, and I received a ticket for running the red light one week after it was installed. Isn’t there a grace period?
Answer: In some cases, a police officer might be less likely to give you a ticket in the first few weeks after a light is installed. However, there is no grace period. You might make the case in Court that the light was just installed and there were no signs warning of the new traffic light, but it isn’t a guaranteed defense.
Question: Last year, I was given a ticket for running a red light in North Miami. Recently, I got a ticket for running a stop sign. They are both 3 points on my record. Isn’t running a red light worse?
Answer: No. The points are the same, likely because the consequences of running a stop sign such as causing an accident or hitting a pedestrian or person on a bicycle are just as serious. By the way, the system of points is uniform throughout the state of Florida.
Choose an Experienced Traffic Ticket Defense Lawyer
Thank you for taking the time to visit this site to learn more about my work as a traffic ticket defense attorney in South Florida.
Contact me today for a free consultation about a civil or criminal traffic violation:
- Use the quick form on this page, and I will promptly reply
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Russell D. Bernstein, Esq.
Attorney at Law representing clients in Coral Springs, Hallandale, North Miami, Miami, Weston, Boca Raton, Jacksonville, Fort Lauderdale and neighboring communities.