As a St. Louis Criminal Defense attorney that handles all types of traffic matters in the St. Louis area, I always seem to get questions regarding red light camera tickets. A recent story out of Arnold Municipal Court in St. Louis is very troubling. If you ever paid a red light camera traffic ticket in the City of Arnold you may need to check your records for your receipt. A problem with red light cameras in Arnold, Missouri flared up earlier this month when the private photo enforcement operator, American Traffic Solutions (ATS) began sending out thousands of collection notices to drivers who had, at some point, received red light tickets. The issue was that at least 1,200 of those who received such notices had already paid their fines or otherwise dealt with the infraction. Government officials in Arnold have been busy assuring their constituents that this was simply an accident and not an attempt to force more money from their pockets.
One of the notices reads as follows:
The city of Arnold Police Department has referred the account described herein as being delinquent. It is in your best interest to give this matter your immediate attention. If you fail to pay the notice you will be referred to a collection agency for the collection of this debt.
"Recently, a letter was sent from ATS, on behalf of the city of Arnold, in an effort to collect on tickets that were issued from 2005 to present and that remained unpaid," a city press release noted. "Unfortunately, a computer error caused a small percentage of those letters to be sent to persons who had already satisfied their cases." Those citizens who were mistakenly notified will receive a follow-up letter apologizing and instructing them to disregard their earlier bill.
City Council member Doris Brogelt remains unhappy with the city's response to the issue, labeling the press release "nothing short of a lie." Brogelt went on to say that, "It was not a computer error that caused this mess, it was a data entry error on the part of the city of Arnold. I do not consider 1,200 out of 8,000 or 15 percent a small percentage of people affected. Please correct this with the press."
Concerns have been raised about just how accidental the notices were. The current contract between ATS and Arnold says that ATS is to receive $31.33 for every $24.50 collected in court costs on dismissed cases. If the city fails to report the number of cases that have been dismissed then they save money. Insiders are suggesting that the city currently owes ATS some $50,000 for failing to report such tickets.
If you find yourself facing a traffic ticket in the city of Arnold or any other municipal court and are in need of a St. Louis criminal defense lawyer capable of fighting for your rights, contact Sansone/Lauber today at (314) 863-0500.
See Our Related Blog Posts:
Jefferson County Circuit Court takes part in NHTSA Study
St. Louis Felony Rape Charges Dismissed Day before Trial