MIAMI — Big changes could be coming to cities with red-light cameras after a Florida District Court of Appeals judge said it’s illegal for camera operators to issue citations to drivers.

The program works like this: Cameras installed at traffic signals snap photos and are examined by the camera’s owner — not law enforcement — to determine whether a violation occurred. A citation is sent to the alleged violator. The driver has 60 days to appeal the ticket before it’s converted into a fine, just like any other citation issued by law enforcement officers.

“The private company is the one who sends the citations in the name of the city,” said Miami lawyer Victor Yurre. “Now it will have to be the city that does it.”

The case was brought to court in 2011 by Eric Arem, who received a subpoena issued directly by American Traffic Solutions, the private company hired by the City of Hollywood in Broward County to administer the red-light camera program.

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