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Posted: 8:07 a.m. Friday, Feb. 8, 2013

How to fight if you're snapped at a red light

Red light cameras
The red light cameras at the intersection of Southside Boulevard and Touchton Road

By Matt Augustine

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. —

You've probably been there before -- you're cruising up to an intersection when suddenly the light flips to yellow.  You're still several hundred feet from the stop line so now you've got to make a choice:  do I try to make it or just wait out the next green light?

It's a question that could be the difference between you and a $158 ticket at some intersections in Jacksonville where red light cameras have already been installed or will be installed in the future.  Currently the intersection of Southside and Baymeadows and Southside and Touchton are both photo enforced, at least for the next three weeks. 

The Jacksonville Sheriff's Office began a 30 day trial period for the cameras last Wednesday so if you get snapped in the next three weeks, you're in the clear.  But starting in March, if you get snapped, your picture will go to a trained JSO officer who will review it, decide if you were fairly cited, and then send you the notice. 

But how can you fight if you feel you've been unfairly cited for running a red light?

WOKV legal expert Mark Rubin says the one way to always avoid a ticket is to not get one in the first place, and that means knowing which intersections in Jacksonville have cameras.  Rubin says the cameras are designed to be accurate,  but mistakes happen.

"They don't give you the benefit of the doubt but they give you a little extra time so that they're not catching people that are right on the border."

He says even with new technology the fact that there is a human being going over each violation before they're sent out is key to this whole process working.

"It would be a shame if there was no scrutiny and there was an error and if there was, because it's technology, it could be replicated many times over and lots of people could get bogus tickets."

Rubin says if you're going to fight a red light ticket, you're going to need to prove that either the camera messed up when it took your photo or that the JSO officer who reviewed your violation messed up.  People receiving citiations will be able to review their violation online.

"Man gives his opinion, the technology gives you the facts.  But sometimes the technology can be wrong, so that's why we challenge it."

Some people have said that the cameras are an invasion of privacy and they don't like the "Big Brother" feeling they get from them.  Rubin says arguing invasion of privacy will likely prove difficult.

"Whatever you're doing in your car, you really don't have an expectation of privacy if you're on a public road."

Click here to see the full list of intersections in Jacksonville where there currently are or will be red light cameras.

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