Red Light Cameras
Did you Receive a Red Light Ticket?
For most people, the first indication of a red light violation is the flashing lights as you go through an intersection. Then you have to wait to see if you will receive a notice for the ticket in the mail. If this has happened to you, we can assist you with your red light ticket.
For answers to your red light camera ticket questions, please scroll down.
What is a Red Light Camera Ticket?
The County of San Diego, prosecutes drivers for violating Vehicle Code section 21453(a) (Failing to Stop at a Red Light). The County has contracted with companies to install and operate red light cameras at numerous intersections throughout the county. A violation of vehicle code section 21453 occurs if you pass the limit line in your vehicle after the signal light has turned red. There are several cameras that take pictures of your vehicle, your license plate, and the driver of the vehicle. After some time passes, you will receive a notice in the mail with the photos or a notice indicating where you can view your photos and/or video of the violation on-line. The website for the red light camera photos and videos is photonotice.com.
The fine for a red light ticket is $490. The court would also add a $52 administrative fee making the total $542 if you wanted to attend traffic school to avoid a point going on your driving record. A violation for failing to stop at a red light counts as one point on your driving record. When you obtain points on your record your auto insurance rates increase.
Can I Fight a Red Light Ticket?
Yes. Either you or your attorney can contest the red light citation. There are several ways to attack a red light ticket. One of the most common ways to argue against the citation is under Vehicle Code section 210. VC210 provides in part: "is designed to obtain a clear photograph of a vehicle's license plate and the driver of the vehicle." If the photo you receive in the mail or view on-line is fuzzy and unclear that may be the best argument with the officer. Be aware that the officer at court has very likely compared the red light photo with your DMV photo and if you appear in court the officer can compare the red light photo with you as you sit there talking with him or her. This is a good reason to hire a red light ticket attorney to contest the citation for you.
Another tactic that can be used in fighting your red light ticket is to inspect the packet of information provided by Red Flex, the camera provider, to see if there are any errors that may lead to the citation being dismissed. Are there proper calibration records for the cameras and the required photos? If not, that could create a problem with the proof against you.
What if the red light camera ticket is issued in someone else's name but I was driving or I received a ticket but was not the one driving?
If the ticket is in your name but someone else was driving you have the option of either (1) filling out the form provided with the ticket and sending it in to the citing agency naming the person who was actually driving, or (2) you can contest the ticket in your name. If you nominate the actual driver they will get a ticket issued in their name and it will be a difficult ticket for them to contest. If you contest the ticket as though it were your ticket, then the citing agency should dismiss the ticket on the trial date as you were not the one actually driving the car and are therefore not guilty of the violation.
If you were driving, but the ticket is issued in someone else's name, that is actually their ticket, not your ticket, despite the fact you were the one actually driving. The citing officer does not actually stop the driver and obtain their driver's license, so the only way these tickets can be issued is to send them out to the registered owner of the vehicle. So, the registered owner will be the one who receives the actual ticket in the mail. So, the registered owner must decide whether that want to inform the citing agency about who is driving or whether they want to contest the ticket as though it were their ticket (see paragraph above).
If you have any questions about a red light ticket, contact us either by calling (619) 333-0505 or using our contact us page on this site and we would be happy to speak with you.
I Never Received a Notice But The Court is Trying to Collect Money for a Failure to Appear
Some people see the camera flashes but do not receive a citation in the mail. If this happens to you, the first time you may learn about the citation is when you get contacted by the collection agency of the court. When this happens to you, there are still options to avoid the collections enforcement. In red light cases, there is no citing officer--no one physically handed you a ticket for the violation. This allows you to argue to the judge in court that you never received notice of your court date and therefore the civil assessment that was imposed for your failure to appear should be vacated. If you do not contest the failure to appear, a civil assessment of $300 will be added to your fine total. Contact us to see how we can help you with the process.
Can I Hire an Attorney to Fight My Red Light Ticket?
Yes, you can hire a traffic ticket attorney to fight your red light ticket for you. There are several benefits to hiring an attorney:
One of the benefits is you save your time and energy in dealing with the court system. If you were to fight your ticket yourself, you have to go to court, wait in line for up to an hour to check in for court, then wait in court for over an hour to plead not guilty and set a trial date, then wait another hour for your paperwork in the business office. You then have to appear a few months later at the trial and once again wait for court and your paperwork. That does not even factor in the time it takes to go to and from the court. Hiring an attorney avoids all that. An attorney can inform the court of your not guilty plea and appear on your behalf for the trial date--you never have to go to court. This saves you several hours of your time and prevents you from having to take any time of work to deal with the traffic court.
A second benefit to hiring an attorney is that you are getting a trained professional to represent you in court. An attorney can negotiate with the officer based on experience and a working knowledge of how red light cameras operate and then explore whether the officer has the required information establishing the proper foundation for admission of the red light photos against you in court. There are other legal considerations that go into contesting a red light ticket that a red light ticket lawyer can use to contest your citation both in discussing the case with the officer as well as in court with the judge. To contact a red light ticket lawyer please call (619) 333-0505 or contact us through this website