New ruling adds penalty points to red light camera tickets in St. Peters

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by Stephanie Baumer and Brendan Marks / KMOV.com

KMOV.com

Posted on November 12, 2013 at 6:54 AM

Updated Tuesday, Nov 12 at 8:00 PM

(KMOV.com) Tickets received by red light cameras in St. Peters will now add penalty points to driver’s licenses, according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

The Post-Dispatch reports The St. Peters Board of Aldermen voted unanimously to allow red light camera tickets to be counted against your license.  

The move comes after a woman won her case against a red light ticket she received in St. Peters. The judge ruled the city's red light camera tickets contradicted state law.

One of the attorneys who argued against St. Peters over red light camera tickets says the change in the law shows that  "St. Peters' government is revealing how addicted it is to camera ticket revenues--not public safety." 

Monday night’s ruling fixes the contradiction, but also brings a big change. Instead of paying a fine for running a red light, drivers should now expect to get penalty points on their license.

St. Peters currently has nine red light cameras at seven different locations. 

The city of St. Peters released a statement saying:

“The City of St. Peters passed a new red light camera ordinance on Thursday, November 7, 2013 to comply with state law and recent court decisions.  The new ordinance now assesses points against driver’s license of the person convicted of running a red light, caught on a red light camera, pursuant to Missouri laws.  We are not happy to have to assess points, but we must comply with the current laws and court rulings of the State of Missouri.  We are appealing the recent court decision because we believe our original “no points” ordinance will ultimately be found to comply with Missouri state law.

The set fine for these violations has not increased. 

“The new ordinance gives the City of St. Peters the ability to use the camera as a tool instead of an officer being the eyewitness to the violation.  If a police officer is the witness to the violation event, they testify in court and that is the evidence that is used.  With the photos, we actually have photo evidence of the driver committing the violation.  The cameras used in this program capture images of the driver of the vehicle and license plate of the vehicle.  A police officer is reviewing the red light camera evidence to determine if a violation has occurred and the identity of the driver of the vehicle before any summons is issued. 

Until this issue gets resolved in the court system, we will continue to enforce our ordinance under current state law. 

Funding from the fines collected from this program is being used to pay for the City of St. Peters transportation program providing rides for senior citizens and people living with disabilities who meet income guidelines to qualify for this program.”

The full statement from Bevis Schock and Hugh Eastwood, attorneys at-law can be seen below. 

"Apparently St. Peters has now attempted to conform its red light camera ordinance with Missouri law on assessing points, and also has passed a failure to appear ordinance.  By ratcheting up the stakes and potential penalties, St. Peters' government is revealing how addicted it is to camera ticket revenues--not public safety.

 If going forward St. Peters prosecutes these camera tickets with points but without firmly knowing the identity of the driver, the City and its individual police officers will expose themselves to liability under federal law, 42 U.S.C. §1983.

 Although we cannot give your viewers individual legal advice, our view is that any St. Peters camera tickets issued before last week's vote are void and unenforceable at Missouri law.  We would not pay our own if we had them.  The City and its individual police officers would also be opening themselves up to civil liability under 42 U.S.C. §1983 if it were to prosecute those pre-existing tickets."

 

 

 

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