My question involves a traffic ticket received 1-13-11 from the state of Florida:
There is an intersection I used to frequently travel through for years, but haven't in at least a year. Whenever the light would turn red I'd always make a right to travel to my destination as there is a dedicated turn lane that had a yield sign, and thus would expedite my travel time. However, I learned, the hard way, that something had changed since my previous travels. The Yield sign was removed, which I didn't notice, but a friendly police officer was kind enough to cite me for it @ $264 and w/ 3 points added to my license for running a red light which will surely raise my insurance costs.
The crazy thing is the yield sign was there for at least a decade, and is still visible from the street view in Google maps when you enter that intersection. I was hoping that perhaps, because there was, within the last year, road construction done in that area that perhaps the sign may have been accidentally taken down, or forgotten to be put back up after construction trucks had passed through. I was able to contact the local DOT engineer to find out what had happened, and talked to the man who had it taken for the reason that there was no triangular raised concrete island which would allow for the use of a yield sign or 'traffic control device', and that he couldn't recall exactly when without looking through his file but thought that about a year ago sounded right. Do you think that if I show the judge that indeed there used to be a yield sign, as it is still visible from Google map that'll I could get a reduction or dismissal? I also asked the engineer if there needed to be a light for that turn lane, as there wasn't and his reply was that there didn't need to be, but that national standards are being made so that all new intersections will provide 1 light for each 1 lane that is used. This particular intersection has 3 lanes of straight travel that opens up to 5 at the intersection to allow for dedicated left and right turning lanes. In total all 5 lanes have 3 lights: 1 for the left turn lane and 2 lights in between the 3 straight lanes and I guess now 1 of those 2 is for the right turn lane almost 2 lanes away from the light. Any help? Do I have a case, not against the officer, but the street device change/removal of the yield sign? The coincidental thing is, when I called the DOT engineer he said that it was funny I called to ask him about that sign as a guy had just called earlier from the sanitation department trying to get an answer to a bet he had going with another dump truck driver as to whether there used to be a yield sign there or not. I explained that bet was probably due to the driver receiving the same citation a had just acquired, as I later learned from a friend whom I was going to see that he had seen the officer had sitting at the intersection earlier in the morning 5 hours before I was cited; Looks like he was probably fishing there all day. Anyhow, should I pay the fine, contest, ask for community service hours in lieu of the fine, etc? Iíve been out of steady work for over a year [and have not collected any unemployment]; that money could surely be put to better use elsewhere, like keeping me off the streets.
THANK YOU FOR ANY ADVICE OR HELP!