In an important ruling that could possibly spell the end for Missouri speeding cameras, a judge in St. Louis County ruled that the speed camera tickets issued by Moline Acres conflict with state law. The judge’s ruling could be important because it could sway other judges who are presented with the question of ruling on the validity of a speed camera ticket.
Experts believe the case, involving a speeding ticket for local radio host Charlie Brennan, may be the first of its kind. Brennan was ticketed for going 56 miles per hour in a 40 miles per hour zone while driving along Highway 367. Brennan’s attorney appealed the ticket, arguing that Moline Acres lacked the necessary authority to dispense such tickets for an offense that has already been prohibited by state law.
While other challenges have been brought regarding red light camera tickets, this may be the first to challenge the speeding cameras. Some think the ruling indicates that speed cameras could be on shaky legal ground and might become significantly easier to challenge in the future.
St. Louis County Associate Circuit Judge Mary Bruntrager Schroeder sided with Brennan and his attorney in the dispute, writing that speed cameras are different than red light cameras which have been allowed under certain circumstances. Those circumstances include only those cases where red light cameras issue tickets that are treated as civil offenses, not criminal acts. For instance, a city that cites a vehicle for driving through a red light, not the driver, avoids making the offense a moving violation, which is already governed by state law.
Judge Schroeder pointed out the flaw in trying to have speed cameras follow the same path: by virtue of the act itself, speeding citations involve moving violations. Judge Schroeder wrote that, “It would seem impossible and a violation of the laws of physics to have speed without motion.”
The decision is an important one because at least 13 cities in St. Louis County currently use speed cameras. Though the ruling does not have enough force to automatically invalidate that usage, it does leave many wondering what kind of justification those municipalities will come up with to avoid having their speed camera tickets thrown out of court in the future.
If you’ve had a run in with the law and find yourself in need of a Missouri criminal defense lawyer capable of aggressively protecting your interests, contact our St. Louis criminal defense law firm today at (314) 863-0500.
Source: “St. Louis County Judge Throws Out Speeding Camera Ticket,” by Allison Blood, published at StLouis.CBSLocal.com.