I hate to admit it, but I got busted for doing the same thing. My car was in the shop and I rented a car from a local rent a car place. I totally forgot to take my SunPass from my car and put it in the rental car. I even shut the SunPass off that the rental company gave me because I did not want to pay the $2.50 per day for the privilege of using their SunPass. I figured I would just use the pay lane as I was not planning on traveling far.
Unfortunately, I was so used to avoiding the toll plaza that I drove right under the sensors and failed to pay. At first I was indignant about it, then I saw the picture and realized, like so many of my clients, I was busted and guilty. Fortunately for me, and my clients, I know not to pay a red light camera ticket no matter what because of the consequences. Specifically, I did not want to get an ADJUDICATION on my record nor did I want to be found guilty. I also did not want to pay the $158. So I fought it and won, but I have been asked a lot how it works when you get a red light camera ticket in a rent a car.
HOW IS IT HANDLED?
Whether it’s a red light camera ticket
or SunPass violation ticket, it’s handled the same way. OK, so you are driving around in Budget Rent-A-Car’s car and you go through a red light or Sunpass toll with no transponder. The State of Florida is supposed to send the owner of the car a Notice of Violation. If the Notice of Violation is paid within thirty days, you don’t get points and you will not have points put on your record. Herein lies the problem. The Notice of Violation is sent to the rental car company. Then the rental car company fills out an affidavit stating who the driver (or renter) of the car was on the relevant date and time. Because this usually take more than thirty days, the driver (you/me) doesn’t get the Notice of Violation.
WHAT IF IT’S NOT PAID IN 30 DAYS?
Instead, we get what is called a Uniform Traffic Citation. At Uniform Traffic citation for a red light camera ticket or SunPass ticket looks just like the speeding ticket you got last year. The fines and penalties for a Uniform Traffic Citation are much bigger. The fines can be hundreds of dollars and you can get points on your license if you ignore it or just pay it. If this seems unfair you are right, it is. Why should you give up your right to just pay the Notice of Violation because the rental car company dragged its feet. In essence, the State of Florida is treating cars owned by citizens different from cars rented by citizens. It’s been argued that this violated both the state and federal constitution and some judges are agreeing. This is just one more reason why our lawyers feel that the whole “camera” and “mail notice” system is fatally flawed and should be thrown out. That’s what we have been arguing in Court and some judges are coming around.
Jason Diamond is the Founding Partner of the Traffic Ticket Team. His Attorneys have over 50 years of combined experience and have handled over 1,000,000 traffic tickets in Florida. Jason has given traffic ticket legal clinic seminars throughout Florida ranging from topics on “How to Beat a Florida Traffic Red Light Camera Ticket” and “How to Fight a Speeding Ticket in Broward, Dade and Palm Beach Counties.” If you would like Jason to come to your place of business and do a 30-minute traffic ticket legal clinic please contact us at (561) 752-9288 or Jason@TrafficTicketTeam.com to arrange it.