An interesting article in the Chicago Tribune told about a driver who was issued a ticket by a Chicago police officer for running through a red light. Though the driver paid the $75 ticket, he also received a second ticket in the mail from a red light camera that had caught the violation. The administrative penalty for the red light camera violation was $100.
According to the 5th amendment of the constitution, a person cannot be punished twice for the same crime. That is called Double Jeopardy. Eventually, this driver was able to get the administrative penalty vacated based on double jeopardy principles.
Red Light Cameras
Red light cameras have stirred up quite a bit of controversy in Illinois. Chicago’s red light camera program has been rife with scandal. Though the Mayor fired the previous red light camera contractor when news of the $2 million bribery scandal was revealed, many still argue against the program. Mayor Emanuel cites traffic safety as the primary reason for the use of red light cameras. The tickets bring in substantial revenue for the city.
What it Means for DUIs
This case of double jeopardy with red light cameras presents many interesting issues for driving under the influence (DUI) clients and their attorneys. If a police officer is using a traffic infraction as the basis for probable cause to stop a motorist for a DUI, and there is a red light camera at that particular intersection, the pictures taken from that camera should be subpoenaed immediately by the motorist’s attorney. Especially if the police officer’s basis for the stop is that the motorist ran the red light, but the motorist is not issued a ticket in the mail for the infraction. This video may provide proof that the traffic infraction was not in fact committed. Thus, a motion could be made to throw out the whole DUI case.
A law enforcement officer must have probable cause to pull a vehicle over. Probable cause is reasonable suspicion that a violation of the law has occurred. Speeding, running a red light and swerving between lanes can be construed as probable cause for a traffic stop. If a DUI arrest resulted from initially being pulled over for running a red light, and a red light camera can prove that the driver did not run a red light, it may be possible to get the entire case dismissed.
DUI Criminal Defense Attorney
Whenever you are arrested for DUI, make sure to contact a DUI criminal defense attorney. An attorney can advise you on the best approach for your case. Tell your attorney all the details of the case, including if you have doubts about whether the police officer had probable cause to stop you in the first place. Dennis Dwyer has helped numerous DUI clients fight their charges. Contact his office today to learn more about how he can help you.