Red-light cameras pre-2010 were illegal, Florida Supreme Court rules

Orlando among cities that may have to return money

ORLANDO, Fla. - Florida cities, including Orlando, that installed red-light cameras before the state authorized them could have to return millions of dollars in fines now that the Supreme Court has ruled they were illegal.

The court ruled Thursday that red-light camera ordinances in Orlando and Aventura violated a state law that requires uniform traffic enforcement.

The decision only applies to cities that installed red-light cameras before a 2010 law allowing them was enacted.

Red-light cameras in Orlando and Aventura were challenged and two appeals courts had conflicting opinions.

Still in question is how fines are to be returned to drivers.

A lawyer for the city of Orlando contends that it only has to return money to people who disputed the tickets -- not those who paid them without objections.

Attorney Eric DuBois said "basically what the ruling says is that anyone who got a ticket prior to 2010, if you paid the fine ... the city has to give  refund those citations."

Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer said "we have made no determination on any of that,
the case came out today and did not address returning funds."

According to the city, this ruling is only on the process of collecting those fines, not reimbursement of any money.

So technically, the Supreme Court didn't rule on if the money has to go back.

Looking down the road, DuBois says don't expect that refund to be in the mail any time soon.

"It is going to be an accounting nightmare for the city because the monies were collected 2008. 2009, 2010 and the money has been spent," DuBois said.

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