Tag Archives: camera tickets

MO flunks traffic safety: texting, open container laws cited

Missouri needs to evaluate its traffic safety laws. A recent report by a coalition of safety and health groups rated Missouri’s traffic laws towards the bottom of all 50 states.

According to Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety (AHAS), a Washington D.C. group of health companies, insurance agencies and safety companies that encourages the enactment of federal and state laws, the state of Missouri tied for fourth worst in the nation when it comes to safety laws.

The low grading stems from Missouri’s legal code only containing four of the 16 laws the AHAS considers essential for driving and safety.

OPEN CONTAINER LAWS

The AHAS dings Missouri for its open container laws. The state is one of only six states without a statewide open container law. Strict open container laws are said to be helping other states reduce fatal auto accidents.

Although St. Louis and Kansas City do not have ordinances for open containers, the City of Maryville is one of the few that has passed its own. But Maryville does not have a primary seatbelt law.

PRIMARY SEATBELT LAWS

Missouri is one of only 15 states without a primary seatbelt law that would give law enforcement power to stop drivers for simply not wearing a seatbelt. Data suggests that 81 percent of the state’s residents use seatbelts, which is actually 7 percent lower than the national average.

DISTRACTED DRIVING

The state was also marked down for its laws on distracted driving, such as texting. Although the state bans texting for those 21 and younger, safety advocates say it needs to be broader. Word has it that the state may soon be expanding its anti-texting and driving laws to all drivers, not just those 21 and younger.

CAR SEATS

Missouri was also criticized for its age requirements for infants in rear-facing car seats. The American Academy of Pediatrics says infants and toddlers need to sit in a rear-facing seat until they are at least two-years-old, or until an infant meets the manufacturer’s height and weight restrictions. However, state law only requires rear facing seats until the infant is a year old and 20 pounds.

Kinloch officials ordered to court to explain traffic ticket

A St. Louis County circuit court judge ordered City of Kinloch offices to appear in court to explain why they allegedly would not allow a citizen to contest a traffic ticket she received last month.

The individual, Kathy Grant of Florissant, received a $125 traffic ticket in the mail on March 6.  The ticket accused her of driving 51-mph in a 40-mph speed zone on North Hanley Road in Kinloch on February 16. 

Grant denies she was speeding.  The ticket was mailed to Grant’s husband but she admits she was the driver of the car, heading to work that day.

The ticket showed a photo of the back of Grant’s car and license plate but no photo of the driver.  Also, the ticket did not contain a specific address as to where she was caught speeding. 

 The ticket payment date for the fine was April 5, however, she gave her ticket to an attorney to handle.

According to court documents, Circuit Court Judge Douglas R. Beach ordered City Manager Justine Blue, Kinloch Mayor Darren Small, and a Kinloch judge, Christopher Bent, to appear in court last week on May 11 to explain why the ticket was not a violation of Missouri law.

The ticket apparently allows the fine to be paid directly to a private company, and was not filed in Kinloch municipal court, according to the order.

Apparently a party had asked the Municipal Court for a trial on the allegations against them.  They were told that the notice was not a ticket. At this point, due process was not granted nor is it available to challenge the notice, the judge’s order stated.

The concern is that the notices are misleading to the public that they are part of the court process with due process of law.

 

St. Louis County Municipal court revenue down since Ferguson unrest

Looks as if the amount of revenue from St. Louis area municipal courts is way down since the social unrest in 2014 after the shooting death of Michael Brown in Ferguson. This is according to research tabulated in an annual report by the Missouri state court system.

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch tabulated information from the report and found that the data shows there has been a significant drop in revenue collected by municipal courts in St. Louis County.  Revenue was down from $53 million in fines and fees collected in year ending June 2014 to $29 million in year ending June 2016.

A similar trend can be seen in the number of traffic cases in the city of St. Louis.  The number of traffic cases filed last year fell to 66,008. This represents a drop of 69 percent compared to two years ago.

The data shows that the number of traffic cases in Ferguson last year, 1,736, had dropped 85 percent from two years ago, and non-traffic cases were down a similar percentage.  Fergusons court revenue plummeted from more than $2 million two years ago to just $579,000 this last year.  Ferguson had been under fire from the U.S. Department of Justice in the aftermath of Michael Brown. 

Ferguson’s municipal court system had been the target of a scathing U.S. Department of Justice report as well as intense scrutiny from the St. Louis Post-Dispatch and other media.  Local attorneys can tell you that the long lines out the door are no longer the case.

Other cities in North County known for their intense speed traps along the I-70 corridor have also seen a drop in revenue, according to the court report.

St. Ann, for example, saw revenue drop nearly a million dollars from $2.6 million two years ago to $1.7 million this last year. Tickets issued fell during that same time period from over 25,000 to 9,880. 

Florissant municipal court revenue went from $2.6 million to $1.7 million. Normandy fell from $1.4 million to slightly over $788,000.  Pine Lawn dropped from $2,2 million to $652,925.  Berkeley was down from $1.2 million to $378,327.

Citizens may get chance to vote red light camera tickets out

The Missouri House of Representatives recently moved legislation that would allow citizens to determine what to do with red light cameras. State Representative Bryan Spencer (R-Wentzville) introduced the ballot measure by voice vote.  The bill will receive a final vote in the state House after a fiscal review of it.

The bill then would need to be passed by the Senate and signed into law.

The bill calls for asking voters whether they want to stop cities from making new deals with red light and speed camera companies.

The bill allows jurisdictions with existing automated ticketing programs one year to wind down their contracts and shut the cameras down. The proposal also prohibits the mailing of automated citations.
Known as House Bill 1945, it calls for motorists who get a red light ticket to receive in person notification from a law enforcement officer working with the agency issuing the ticket.  It also allows the use of automated license plate readers.  The bill calls for a ballot measure on November 8.

Cases that are excluded from the bill are hit and run cases, parking tickets, open investigations, and cases in which in-person notification is not possible.

A similar bill had passed in the Missouri House last year but failed to make it to the Senate.

Similar bans have been successful at the county level in St. Charles where voters banned automated ticketing machines in 2014.  In November 2015, a court rejected attempts from three municipals to reinstate their use of the ticketing machines.

Missouri Supreme Court to decide on camera tickets

On Tuesday, the Missouri Supreme Court heard arguments on three separate cases regarding speeding and red light cameras. The cases involved red light camera tickets out of St. Louis City and St. Peters and speeding camera tickets out of Moline Acres. These three cases hit slightly different issues regarding the legality of camera tickets. The ordinances from these jurisdictions were overturned by lower courts that deemed them in violation of state law.

St. Louis City takes a picture of the license plate and issues the ticket to the owner of the vehicle. Proponents indicate that the over 50 intersection cameras free up the police and make the community safer. Police Chief Sam Dotson reasons that the cameras mean more officers are out patrolling neighborhoods instead of enforcing traffic laws. The opponents argue that the owner is only operating the vehicle 70-80% of the time. The onus is put on the owner to prove that s/he is not the driver instead of requiring the City Prosecutors to prove that a violation had occurred. While the St. Louis City tickets were overturned, the judge put a stay on the order to allow for the appeal. City is still issuing tickets; however, all fines collected are being placed in an escrow account pending the decision of the Missouri Supreme Court.

The cameras in St. Peters show the license plate and the driver. Pursuant to the attorneys for the city of St. Peters, the tickets are issued to the operator not necessarily the owner. These tickets do not assess points upon payment. The lower courts found the ordinance in violation of the Missouri Law that requires points to be assessed for a moving violation.

Moline Acres uses speeding cameras. Carl Lumley, attorney for Moline Acres, argues that the owners are ticketed for allowing their vehicles to speed. The citation is for not supervising their vehicle correctly not for speeding. Owners can attempt to prove that they did not give permission to the driver to operate the vehicle. Once again this places the burden of proof on the owner instead of the Prosecutors.

The legislature could have approved a proposal earlier this year that would have set forth a legal framework, but the proposed bills did not pass the May session. The Supreme Court decision will hopefully settle the uncertainty that currently follows on the camera tickets.  The decision will hopefully come out by the end of the year.

Supreme Court declines to hear red light camera appeals

The Supreme Court of Missouri has declined to review the red-light camera appeals from Kansas City, Creve Coeur and Florissant. These requests had been filed by the cities and American Traffic Solutions, Inc the provider of the cameras.

The Appellate Courts had issued concerns that the ordinances conflicted with state law requiring the issuance of points for moving violations. The cases will be remanded back where the cities can attempt to provide justification for the ordinances.

The Supreme Court has not addressed the recent Ellisville, Arnold or City of St. Louis rulings regarding traffic cameras.

Clayton, MO Traffic Court

Clayton Traffic Lawyers

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Our Clayton DWI attorneys handle drunk driving defense, where your driver license and your freedom are at stake. We handle all aspects including the Administrative Hearing or the ramifications of a refusal.

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This page contains Court information Links for Clayton, Missouri.

Clayton Municipal Court

10 S. Brentwood
Clayton, MO 63105

Tel: (314) 290-8441
Fax: (314) 863-0295

City of Clayton, MO website.

For more information regarding your case visit municourt.net.

Judge
Hon. Joseph Dulle

Prosecuting Attorney
Darold E. Crotzer, Jr, Esq.

Court Administrator
Rico Jones

Court Dates and Docket Dates
Traffic: 1st and 3rd Wednesday of every month at 6:00 P.M. Doors open at 5:30
Housing: 2nd Thursday of every month at 9:00 A.M.

For information on your ticket, click here.

Court fines may be paid by one of the following methods:

  1. Pay Traffic Tickets Online at https://www.ipaycourt.com/claytonParking tickets can be paid here.
  2. Mail payments in the form of check or money order only made payable to City of Clayton to: Municipal Court
    City of Clayton
    10 S. Brentwood Blvd
    Clayton, MO  63105
  3. Pay fines in person with cash, check, money order, MasterCard or Visa.  Please note that court fine payments must be received before 4:00 p.m. on the day of court.