Camera-enforced red lights are becoming more common in cities across the country, including Bakersfield, CA. There are eight intersections equipped with cameras at intersections around Bakersfield. The fine and increased insurance could cost you almost $2,000 in all.
If you receive a red-light camera ticket, you may feel frustrated and believe contesting it is not worth the hassle. However, it is possible to challenge the ticket with a traffic attorney who can potentially get the fine reduced or the ticket dismissed.
Another possibility you should discuss with a traffic attorney is traffic violators school (TVS). Although TVS will not wholly dismiss your ticket as a traffic attorney could do, if you’re eligible and you complete the course before the court-imposed deadline, you keep the conviction confidential and out of the eyes of your auto insurance company, which could save you nearly $1,500.
Camera-Enforced Red-Light Tickets: What You need to Know
First, it is vital to understand the evidence against you. The camera-enforced red-light ticket must include a photograph or video of the violation, as well as the date and time of the incident. This evidence can help you determine whether it is worth contesting the ticket.
Before being sent to the registered vehicle's owner, an experienced traffic officer must review the video and photograph. Plus, according to state law, warning signs must be posted before the intersection, but not necessarily on the traffic light pole.
Next, it is essential to establish the presence of mandatory warning signs before the intersection. In Bakersfield, these signs must be posted before a camera-enforced red light intersection. If the signs are not present or easily visible, this could be a valid reason to contest the ticket. However, it is wise never to admit guilt.
Another possible defense is that they were not driving at the time of the violation. Weather or traffic conditions might cause a blurry image of the driver. The State is responsible for proving beyond a reasonable doubt that you were driving. However, if you are in court, they might ask who was driving, which can be awkward. Or if it was you driving, the officer may more likely to to prove that it was you because your presence in court. If an attorney is asked who was driving, they can assert your rights with confidence.
Additionally, it is possible to contest the ticket by arguing that the camera system was not working correctly at the time of the violation or that the timing between yellow and red, mandated by Caltrans, was incorrect. These issues could be due to technical issues or human error. The traffic attorney can subpoena records and evidence that might support your arguments, such as a report from a technician or a witness statement. Although, you could do the same, most drivers do not even know where to start.
Pleading Guilty & Using TVS to Keep Your Conviction Confidential
It would be best if you always discussed this strategy with a traffic attorney. There are reasons you would not be eligible to attend TVS, such as:
- You were driving a commercial motor vehicle.
- You were not a valid driver’s license holder.
- You used TVS to mask another traffic ticket within the past 18 months.
- You have a mandatory court appearance.
- You are a juvenile, though an attorney can ask for TVS at your hearing.
- You have another ticket pending.
- Never use TVS for a “correctable” ticket such as loud exhaust or no proof of insurance; there is no financial benefit.
Furthermore, regardless of what the court reminder states, you might not be eligible to attend, and if you don’t finish before the court-ordered deadline, all bets are off.
Your conviction will go into your motor vehicle driving record (MVR), your “good driver’s discount” will be voided by your insurance company, and they will add the assigned risk for running a red light, which is typically 12 or 13%. You could wind up paying $600 more annually for insurance for 36 to 39 months, until the DMV removes the conviction record. Including the fine, your total cost could be nearly $2,000 in all.
In conclusion, challenging a red-light camera ticket can be a complex process, but it is possible, and more likely to be successful with the assistance of an experienced Bakersfield traffic attorney.
Ask Bigger & Harman, APC, the Bakersfield Traffic Ticket Defense Team
If convicted of running a camera-enforced red-light, the fine and increased insurance could cost you almost $2,000. Contact Bigger & Harman at (661) 349-9300, or use the user-friendly online contact form for an appointment. Or, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
We have been asked to represent more than 20,000 clients with CA traffic tickets in traffic courts across the state. Contact us today.
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The Bankrate article, Average cost of car insurance in California for 2022.