Although the following scenario is fictional, the consequences, penalties, and possible remedies for a red-light ticket and failure to appear (FTA) are accurate.
The Problem with Mailed Red-Light Tickets for CMV Drivers & Possible FTA
The most significant issue for long-haul truckers is that they are away from home for weeks at a time.
Suppose your out on the road and single with no one home to get the mail and warn you about a pending court date. You could come home to an FTA notice for a red-light ticket you didn’t even know you had.
That’s the reality of the eight camera-enforced red-light intersections in Bakersfield, CA. You come home for a couple of days after dropping off a load of cargo at the bay, LA, or Long Beach and go home to unwind and enjoy some time with friends.
If you pass through a camera-enforced intersection when the light is red, a BPD traffic cop with at least two years’ experience must look at the video on photos to make sure you ran the red light.
That brings up two possible issues:
- That BPD officer likely doesn’t know what you look like, so they can’t determine if it was you driving.
- After review, they will mail the red-light ticket to the car’s registered owner at their current address.
You come back after a long period on the road and start pouring through the mail when you come across the FTA notice advising you there could be found guilty and fined without your presence, have a bench warrant issued for your arrest or a $300 civil penalty mailed to the credit bureau.
Possible Penalties for a Camera-Enforced Red-Light Ticket & FTA
You’ll probably immediately start thinking, “oh no, what do I do now.” If you weren’t driving, you probably uttered a few expletives and tossed them in the trash. That’s definitely not what you should do. You should consult a Bakersfield traffic attorney who can clear your FTA and resolve the red-light ticket with one flat fee.
First, CA Vehicle Code (CVC) Section 40508, Release Upon Promise to Appear, often referred to as failure to appear/failure to pay (FTA/FTP), states, “A person willfully violating his or her written promise to appear or a lawfully granted continuance of his or her promise to appear in court or before a person authorized to receive a deposit of bail is guilty of a misdemeanor regardless of the disposition of the charge upon which he or she was originally arrested.”
However, there are valid reasons for not appearing before the court or resolving your traffic ticket before the date on the court reminder. Before you drive again, you should consult a traffic attorney to clear the FTA or risk another misdemeanor for driving while your license is suspended.
The base fine for a misdemeanor is typically between $145 and $1,000, from five up to 90 days in the Kern County Jail, or both if convicted.
Second, the red-light camera-enforced ticket carries a base fine of $100, and with the ten State and county surcharges, penalties, and assessments come to $490, and one negligent operator treatment system (NOTS) point in your privately-owned vehicle (POV) or 1.5 in your CMV.
If you’re a fleet driver, you need to worry more about keeping your job with a red-light ticket and subsequent FTA than in your POV, where your auto insurance premium will increase significantly with a moving violation.
The average Californian will see an increase of around 33 to 35 percent after a moving violation conviction or paid fine that is not eligible for Traffic Violator’s School (TVS).
Your eligibility for TVS should be on your court reminder. However, any violation in your CMV is automatically ineligible for TVS, and two or more violations could nullify any benefit. It’s always wise to consult a traffic attorney about using TVS.
Ask Bigger & Harman, APC, the Bakersfield Traffic Attorney Team
Call Bigger & Harman, APC, at (661) 349-9300 to clear that FTA and get resolution for your red-light ticket simultaneously for one price. We use only flat fees to resolve traffic tickets, FTAs, and DMV NOTS Hearings.
Whether you need representation due to too many NOTS points in your privately-owned vehicle or more leeway in your CMV, we can help.
Se habla Español (661) 349-9755.
The DMV Portal CA Commercial Driver Handbook Copyright 2022.
The CA DMV TVS Portal.