Although many California cities have taken down their red light cameras and stopped issuing red light tickets, many more have adopted the method because it’s a money-maker. Red light tickets are significant sources of revenue for city and county treasuries. At nearly $500 each, they can be a cash cow for municipalities.
However, in many cases, it is difficult sometimes to prove who was driving — particularly matching the driver to the license plate. CA judges will most often dismiss a red light ticket if the photograph is blurry, or weather conditions make it too hard to determine who was driving.
Even when the picture clearly shows it was you, there are methods for an experienced attorney to raise “reasonable doubt” because it was a machine and not a human that allegedly caught you breaking the law.
What’s more, the burden of proof is up to the state. The state must prove “beyond a reasonable doubt” it was you driving at the time of the camera-enforced ticket.
Without representation, the judge will sometimes ask the owner who was driving. Even though they know it is not a proper question, they might ask it without giving it much thought. But an experienced traffic attorney would object to that inappropriate question.
Why Are These Camera-Enforced Red Light Tickets so much More Than Other Tickets?
Let’s look at this logically. The camera set at the intersection takes the picture and video, a law enforcement officer, who wasn’t even on shift or at the site, looks at it, determines there’s probably enough evidence there to convict, and sends it to the owner.
Do they compare the picture of the driver and vehicle registration to determine if the owner was the one driving? Probably not. They just mail it to the owner and hope they pay.
It’s quite tricky without near-perfect conditions to get a perfect shot of both the driver and the license plate. Even a little mist, fog, or rain could make it challenging to make out the driver’s face.
Why is the red light ticket nearly $500, when a camera can enforce it? When the driver who runs a stop sign is pulled over by the LEO, is only $238-$250? Which do you think is more difficult to challenge? Remember, the state has to prove who was driving. You do not have to prove you were not driving.
Once again, an experienced traffic attorney can often win these cases or at least keep the violation off your record, despite nearly 98% of all red light ticket holders rolling over and paying the fine without contest. Most have the mistaken impression a lawyer will cost more than a conviction, which is rarely true. Let’s look at why.
The Worst of the Red Light Ticket Is not the Fine
Most will think to themselves, well it is only $500. I might as well pay it and get it over with. Oops, not so fast. The fine is only part of the penalty. When the DMV received the conviction or notice of paid fine (which is the same thing), they will assess one Negligent Operator Treatment System (NOTS) point.
With the fine and the increase in auto insurance, a red light ticket conviction in CA will cost a second offender who is not eligible for TVS about $2,000. The fine is about $500, but the increase in insurance will be close to three times that much, nearly $1,500 for the three years the conviction or paid fine will remain on your motor vehicle driving record (MVR).
Unless you’re still eligible to attend Traffic Violators School (TVS), then you can pay the county for attendance, pay the tuition, and complete the course before the court-ordered completion date, and get it filed by the DMV, or else your auto insurer will learn of it at renewal and raise your rates.
Whatever your traffic ticket violation, you should always consult with a traffic ticket attorney before you proceed. It could save you $1,000 or $2,000 if they can get a dismissal. What people fail to realize is that these red light tickets are a high visibility item and highly-regulated by the state to prevent any hint of impropriety.
There have been several issues across CA of cities and municipalities cutting the yellow light times and other issues. Therefore, when the ticket does not precisely meet what the law states, it is subject to dismissal, particularly with legal representation. Traffic ticket attorneys know these laws, how they are worded, what qualifications the LEO must have to examine the evidence, and more. Ask an attorney.
Attorneys Who Handle a Red Light Ticket for Kern County
Call Bigger & Harman to get assistance fighting your red light ticket. The first thing we will do is make sure the ticket was actually issued by the county, and it is not a scam. Red light tickets are easy to fight and win, so give us a call and we’ll go to bat for you, (661) 349-9300.
Once we agree to resolve your ticket, you can go back to work or school and worry no more. We got this. We only handle traffic law. Therefore, we know our way around Bakersfield Traffic Court.
Se habla Español (661) 349-9755.