Protect Your Driving Privileges Fight Your Ticket With Bigger & Harman Today

undefinedPhoto-enforced red light tickets are becoming more prevalent in California as cities adopt automated traffic enforcement. 

Bakersfield has eight intersections with these cameras. If you receive a photo-enforced red-light ticket in Bakersfield, understanding the high cost, potential defenses, and the option of attending traffic violator school (TVS) is crucial. 

Consulting a Bakersfield traffic attorney is the best course of action to explore your options.

Why Photo-Enforced Tickets Cost More

A photo-enforced red light ticket fine in CA can cost around $490, significantly more than a ticket issued by a police officer (around $238). This difference is due to the expense of maintaining the cameras and paying a private company to manage the system. Additionally, an officer must review the video and photo evidence before issuing the citation.

Potential Defenses for a Photo-Enforced Red Light Ticket

Despite the hefty fines, photo-enforced tickets are not always unbeatable. Here are some potential defenses:

  • Unclear Driver Identity: The burden of proof lies with the State to identify the driver. If the photo doesn't clearly show the driver, you may have a defense. The owner is not required to identify the driver unless directly asked by the judge in court. An attorney can help keep the owner out of court.
  • Equipment Malfunction: If the camera malfunctioned, it could be a valid defense.
  • Premature Light Change: CA law dictates minimum yellow light durations based on the speed limit. You might have a defense if the light turned red too quickly.
  • No Warning Signs Posted: Signs must be posted before a photo-enforced intersection. Their absence could be a valid defense.
  • No Violation: The video evidence must show a clear violation. Entering the intersection before the light turns red is not a violation. Mistakes by reviewers can occur.

Each incident is different and should be reviewed by a traffic attorney. Just because your neighbor was guilty of running a red light, your circumstances might be different. Always consult a traffic attorney before you decide to pay the fine.

Traffic Violator School (TVS): Keeping the Ticket Confidential

An attorney may be able to negotiate a non-point violation, allowing you to attend TVS. This can prevent the ticket from appearing on your public driving record and potentially help with insurance rates and job prospects. However, discuss this with your attorney first, as TVS eligibility has limitations.

When TVS Might Not Be the Answer

Not all photo-enforced red light tickets are eligible for TVS attendance: 

  • You recently attended TVS (you can only use once within 18 months to keep a ticket confidential).
  • You have multiple tickets.
  • You were driving a commercial vehicle at the time of the red-light violation.
  • There might be other circumstances; ask an attorney. 

Considering a Traffic Attorney

The high fine for a photo-enforced ticket conviction makes consulting an attorney a wise decision. They can challenge the evidence, question the officer's judgment on the video, and represent you in court. 

This is advantageous since you are not obligated to identify the driver unless directly asked by the judge. Although you might be able to claim spousal privilege, not all family members are so protected. If you’re not there, the judge can’t ask you. 


Understanding your rights, exploring defenses, and consulting a Bakersfield traffic attorney can help you navigate a photo-enforced red-light ticket. This can minimize the impact on your driving record and budget. 

Remember, a red-light ticket conviction can significantly increase your insurance premiums for several years. The average Californian will pay nearly $800 more per year in premiums for three years after a red light ticket conviction.

Although the amount of increase will depend on several factors, the average CA driver’s auto insurance premium will increase 30 to 32% when they lose their “good driver’s discount” of 20% and the 10 to 12% risk increase is added.  

Consult with Bigger & Harman About a Photo-Enforced Red Light Ticket in Bakersfield, CA   

When you need help with a photo-enforced red light ticket in Bakersfield Courthouse in Kern County, contact the office of Bigger & Harman, APC, at (661) 349-9300. Se habla Español (661) 349-9755.

Alternatively, use our handy online contact form or email Send a copy/picture of your citation and a summary of the stop.


The article, Average cost of car insurance in CA for 2024.

The CA Driver Handbook English y Español.

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