Monday, November 26, 2012
Help Me Howard: Tag Frame
Does the frame on your tag cover the word Florida? Now, do you ever park on Miami Beach? If so, then you might be one of the thousands of people who have gotten a ticket for it. Now the question is it legal? It's why many people have been calling Help me Howard with Patrick Fraser.
WSVN -- Brian Kanziger went to see a movie in Miami Beach. He returned home with a ticket.
Brian Kanziger: "It said I had an improper boarder around my license plate."
Aleksandar Obrenovic drove to Miami Beach to meet with his son. He came home with a ticket.
Aleksandar Obrenovic: "We read it and we saw it was given to us because the tag was blocked. The name of Florida State is blocked."
The word Florida blocked by this frame around the tag even though the decal and the tag number are visible.
Brian Kanziger: "I think in this whole parking lot there is one car that dose not have it."
Brian's right walk thru any parking lot and nearly every car has the metal frame that sometimes covers the word Florida.
Drive down the road again nearly every car has the frame put on the vehicle by the car dealers who sold the vehicle.
Ronald Sammario: "I was there picking up a pair of prescription glasses."
Ronald Sammario parked his car in a Miami Beach City parking lot on Meridan and got ticketed under the same statute as the others for having a clear plastic shield over his plate.
Ronald Sammario: "We had a group out there that was not quite happy."
He says he was not the only one in the parking lot with a ticket.
Ronald Sammario: "There must be I don't know, spots there and I would say out of the 150 to 75 to a 100 had the ticket on them."
Do the math: 75 tickets times $34 a ticket. The beach officer made the city $2,550 in just a few minutes.
Aleksandar Obrenovic: "Yes it is a money maker. I think their short maybe in the city and they need money, so they send the officers out to give tickets instead of taking care of other stuff that is more important."
Ronald says the 75 people who got tickets when he did were so upset, someone called a Miami Beach Police Officer to see if the parking department employee could write a ticket for a frame on a tag.
Ronald Sammario: "Even the officer who came out had to look it up and pulled out the statute, showed it to us and said we would never give a ticket for that."
But on Miami Beach tickets are being issued for these frames bordering the tag or a clear plastic covers over the tag.
Ronald Sammario: "Of course I'm aggravated."
Well Howard, legally can Miami Beach ticket cars for having a dealer frame on the tag if it covers the word Florida?
Howard Finkelstein: "In 2005, the Florida legislature passed a law that makes it illegal to obscure any letters, numbers or names such as Florida on a tag. In other words, Miami Beach can legally issue these tickets."
So far, Miami Beach says they have handed out 4,232 citations for obstructing a tag this year, potentially bringing in nearly $144,000.
A city spokesman told us this is a state law that has been enforced for years. If the city wants to write some more tickets, then they may want to send their parking enforcement officers to City Hall.
Two cars parked in commissioner's spaces had the same frames on their tags that the city tickets visitors and residents for.
We could not find other cities and counties that are strictly enforcing this law.
In fact, a spokesman for the Florida Highway Patrol told us they do not stop cars for a frame that covers the word Florida on the tag.
Howard Finkelstein: "Can a city enforce a law that other agencies don't, sure, every one has to prioritize and to some departments a frame around a tag is not a big deal."
Brian is going to fight the ticket. Alexander is too. Not Ron, he paid the ticket and says he just won't go near Miami Beach anymore.
Ronald Sammario: "You would think especially when you hear the economy is not doing too well that you would want to entice people to come to the beach. They are going to deter people from going down."
Patrick Fraser: Now, if you are one of the people who got the tag frame ticket, Miami Beach has a way to get it dismissed online, on the phone or in person. The contact information is one our website at wsvn.com under Help me Howard.
Problem piled up on your plate? Wanna frame them a different way? Contact us, we'll tag team your troubles thats the ticket
FOR MORE INFORMATION:
RAD (Request for Administrative Dismissal) information is available on website:
http://www.miamibeachfl.gov/parking in the FAQs (http://web.miamibeachfl.gov/parking/scroll.aspx?id=30914) and there is also a prompt on the telephone.
Citizens may call our parking office (305-673-7505) for the RAD form (fax/pdf) and provide proof (photographic proof of compliance is acceptable). Of course, they may also visit our office to submit their request with back-up documentation.
CONTACT HELP ME HOWARD:
EMAIL: firstname.lastname@example.org (Please include your contact phone number when e-mailing)
REPORTER: Patrick Fraser at email@example.com