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Living a Red-Light Ticket Nightmare in Bakersfield?

undefinedThose tickets can quickly become a nightmare with fourteen camera-enforced red-light intersections around Bakersfield. You should always try to obey the traffic laws, but if others use your car, they could add to your frustration.

You might look at the grainy photo and think, “I can’t even tell who that is, how will I prove it wasn’t me driving?” However, since it is the State’s burden to prove you were driving, you needn’t worry about it, nor must you divulge who was driving. 

Plus, if you hire a traffic attorney to resolve your red-light ticket, you won’t even have to go to court, so the judge can’t ask you who was driving. 

CA Vehicle Code (CVC) 21455.5Traffic Signs, Signals, & Markings, allows the use of camera-enforced red lights under specific conditions.

“The limit line, the intersection, or a place designated in Section 21455, where a driver is required to stop, may be equipped with an automated traffic enforcement system if the governmental agency utilizing the system meets all of the following requirements:”

  • The governmental agency and local law enforcement “…shall make and adopt a finding of fact establishing that the system is needed at a specific location for reasons related to safety.”
  • The governmental agency must post signs within 200 feet of the intersection where they are using these devices to issue red-light tickets, and they must be visible from each direction coming into the intersection.
  • The governmental agency must ensure the devices are synchronized with the yellow/red-light time intervals directed in the California Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (CA MUTCD). The yellow to red interval must meet or exceed the time standard given the speed limit on the road where the intersection is located.
  • Before introducing a new red-light apparatus at an intersection, the municipality must warn the community residents at least 30 days before implementation and issue warnings for 30 days. This can be simultaneous.
  • The governmental agency must maintain the system, ensure calibration and synchronicity and “Develop uniform guidelines for screening and issuing violations and for the processing and storage of confidential information, and establish procedures to ensure compliance with those guidelines.”   

However, as stated in CVC 21455.6“(a) A city council or county board of supervisors shall conduct a public hearing on the proposed use of automated enforcement systems… and b) The authorization in Section 21455.5 to use automated enforcement systems does not authorize the use of photo radar for speed enforcement purposes by any jurisdiction.”

The above, where no quotation marks are included, paraphrases for brevity the verbiage in CVC Section 21455.5-7, and others in CVC Sections 21450-21468. Drivers should always consult a traffic attorney to fully comprehend the legal consequences of a red-light ticket conviction before accepting TVS, if eligible, and paying the fine.

The Actual Cost of a Red-Light Ticket Conviction or Paid Fine

Further, these camera-enforced red-light tickets are not cheap. The $100 base fine turns into a $490 fine after Kern County and the State add ten penalties, surcharges, and assessments. If you’re eligible and your attorney advises it, Traffic Violator’s School (TVS) could add another $64 admin fee from the county and $20-$50 for tuition.

Then, you must plead guilty, pay the entire fine amount, and complete the TVS course so that the certificate arrives at the DMV before the court-ordered deadline. Then, your red-light ticket will remain confidential, out of the view of your insurance provider and employer, unless you’re a CDL holder. 

By the way, if you miss the date, all bets are off, and you will lose your “good driver’s discount,” which is 20 percent of your auto premium. Typically, at your next renewal, they’ll add the percentage of risk. This usually amounts to around $600 per year until your discount is re-instated after 36 to 39 months, or about $1,800. So, the total for the red-light ticket fine, TVS, and increased premium is around $2,400 total.

Consult a Bakersfield traffic ticket defender about your red-light ticket.

Bigger & Harman, APC, the Bakersfield Traffic Attorneys   

After receiving a camera-enforced red-light ticket in the mail, call Bigger & Harman at (661) 349-9300.

We regularly handle red-light tickets using a flat fee. Give us a call or send an email to discuss your situation.  

Se habla Español (661) 349-9755.

Email: attorney@biggerharmanlaw.com

References:

The 2021 CA Driver Handbook English y Español.

CVC 21455.5-7, Traffic Signs, Signals, & Markings & other Sections between 21450 and 21468.