Red-light camera bill could change challenge process

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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - A new bill awaiting the governor's signature could give drivers two months to challenge a red-light camera ticket, but carry a heavy price tag.

Channel 9's Racquel Asa discovered that although the 230-page bill gives drivers 60 days to challenge a ticket, the fine jumps to $408 if they lose.

Jerleen Franklin-Brown has less money to spend on gas these days after she said she shelled out out $158 for a red-light camera ticket she got at Conroy and Kirkman roads.

Franklin-Brown said she didn't bother to fight it and just paid it.

"It was a ticket and we thought it was the right thing to do," Franklin-Brown said.

While she said she believes the process is about justice and being fair, if she decides to challenge one in the future, the process could change.

The biggest change will be in front of whom you challenge the ticket. Page 18 of the bill says a local hearing officer will be designated by the city or county that issued the ticket to begin with.

Attorney Matthew Aungst of the Ticket Clinic said it's not fair because the hearing officer is an employee of the city.

"You're getting set up because the person making the decision is getting a paycheck from the people making the money," Aungst said.

Aungst said the changes don't give drivers and attorneys a chance to challenge the video as evidence, which is how a majority of tickets get toss out right now.

"The rules of evidence don't apply, the cities get their money and the camera companies get even more money," Aungst said.

The same bill also prevents drivers from getting a ticket if they make a right on red properly by coming to a complete stop.

Red-light cameras currently often treat drivers as if they ran the light if they make a right on red.