There are apparently two types of citizens in Tampa Bay and Pinellas, Florida – police officers and the rest of us. According to a recent news article which notes that police officers are not being charged with red light traffic citations. Running a red light caught on one of those ubiquitous cameras sitting like frozen yellow-eyed eagles atop our red lights will bring a warning to an officer but a hefty ticket fine for the rest of us, which isn’t sitting well with citizens and at least one Clearwater Criminal Defense Attorney sitting with arms crossed at a red light somewhere in Largo.
Bay News Nine has reported that in St. Petersburg not only police but anyone driving a city vehicle who blows thru a red light is not being ticketed.
There is rarely, if ever, a good reason to run a light even for law enforcement officers. In a high speed chase blowing thru a red light risks not only the lives of officers but of other vehicles, bike riders and pedestrians who happen to be near the intersection.
|Ohara Shoson (1899)|
But we’re not talking about high speed chases as most of the tickets are being given to police officers who are running late for some free coffee and donuts or just feeling in the mood to break the law. If the law applies to us, it must to them. The punishment must be the same, otherwise officers develop the unfortunate and too often true attitude that they are above the law.
Law enforcement officers in non-emergency situations should have to appear before a Judge to explain their reasons for running the light just as you would have to do, without your favorite Largo Criminal Defense Lawyer who would rather spend a day in hell than spend time arguing over traffic tickets. And by the way shouldn’t officers also be paying for the ‘free’ coffee and donuts or face theft charges, as good officers should be taking and receiving nothing but their paychecks.