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Ignoring Red Light Traffic Tickets

The People versus Goldsmith

The word out of Los Angeles County courts is that they are not pursuing non-payers of the red-light traffic ticket. Even after the Supreme Court of California ruling in the People versus Goldsmith in 2014 gave California what many have referred to as a “license to steal”. Many wrongfully believed that there was no human intervention and these cameras just took three photos and a video at an intersection in Inglewood, CA. Then a law enforcement (LE) officer sent the photos and videos of her running a red light with a 12-second video to confirm what may not have been as obvious in the photos, along with a ticket.

Actually, in the case of Carmen Goldsmith, a six-year LE officer viewed the photos and the video before sending those to the defendant for payment of the fine for a red light traffic ticket. The LE testified in court, the yellow light stayed on for 4.2 seconds (CA law states it must be a minimum of 3.9 seconds) and the driver ran straight through the intersection at 0.266 seconds after the light had turned red.

The defense’s contention that the photos and video should not be allowed entry into the trial because it was “hearsay” was overruled and entry was allowed, largely because everything was date-stamped and reviewed by human eye prior to the issuance of the ticket by mail.

C. Goldsmith was found guilty of the traffic infraction, awarded one-point on her driving record and fined a total of $490 for the offense. Of course, that also means her insurance premium increased for the next three years as well unless she was able to attend traffic school, it does not say in the court record.

Should You Just Ignore a Red Light Traffic Ticket?

One criminal defense attorney in southern California (SoCal) has advocated simply ignoring these tickets whenever you receive those in the mail. In fact, the only way you can get into trouble over a red light traffic ticket in LA County is by doing the right thing and contacting the court for a new court date or extension to pay your fine. Once you contact the court for a court date, if you do not show up on that date, a failure to appear will be issued for your Failure to Appear (FTA) and you will compound your problems significantly.

The LA Police Commissioner confirmed that by stating, “So there's no consequence [in LA County]. There's no warrant. This is not in queue when you renew your driver’s license. This is not in queue when you register your car.”

The problem appears to be three-fold in that the State of CA has gotten a negative image because of the red light traffic ticket, the maintenance and calibration is being done by a private contractor (Metro/MTA or RedFlex), and what are known as “snitch tickets”, or fake tickets. In most cases, these fake tickets were never reviewed by an LE officer before being sent out or are the product of a scammer. Whenever you are in doubt about a red light ticket, contact a traffic ticket defender before you decide to ignore it and bring more problems on yourself.

If you have received a red light traffic ticket in LA County and have not contacted the court, you may not have to pay. If however, you received a red light traffic ticket from another county or municipality, such as Bakersfield, be very careful. Everyday, hundreds of dollars are added onto fines in Bakersfield for people who missed their deadline for red light camera tickets. Some of the tickets in these municipalities can be thrown out too, as they are snitch tickets. Hundreds of California cities and counties have discontinued use of red light cameras, while some scammers send out snitch tickets that do not have a court listed or say, "Do not contact the court," in which case you should contact a traffic ticket defender for advice.

Professional Traffic Ticket Defenders

In Kern County, as well as other California counties, give Bigger & Harman a call, 661-349-9300, or send an email: attorney@markbigger.com with the details of your red light traffic ticket or other traffic violation. They have a consolidated list of the counties they work in with actual red light cameras. They will set you up with a FREE consultation to discuss which course of action you should take to clear your ticket or proposed suspension.

Many times, an LE officer is not available for court on the date of your case because of other duties. In addition, there are many procedures or technicalities that could allow for a dismissal or Bigger & Harman could get the judge to allow probation rather than a driver’s license suspension.

En español, llame al 661-349-9755.