As a traffic ticket attorney experienced in fighting LA red light camera tickets in traffic court, I want to discuss three misconceptions surrounding these types of tickets.
MISCONCEPTION #1: It is Safe to Ignore Your LA County Red Light Camera Ticket
There’s a lot of misinformation floating around about ignoring your red light camera ticket in LA County. However, I am here to tell you: DO NOT ignore your LA County red light camera ticket! If you do so, chances are you will get a failure to appear charge in addition to your charge of running the red light.
The city of Los Angeles is taking down its red light cameras, as indicated by the Los Angeles Times.; however, there are many other cities within Los Angeles County that are still prosecuting these tickets, such as Beverly Hills.
MISCONCEPTION #2: Since the Red Light Camera Takes Your Picture, There is no Way You Can Fight Your Ticket
This couldn’t be farther from the truth: Putting on an identity defense is one of the best ways to fight a red light camera ticket. An identity defense means you assert you are not the person in the picture.
IF YOU are going to be found guilty of running a red light, the prosecution (i.e., the officer) must prove THAT YOU were the person driving the car. It’s not enough that the car that was driven was registered in your name. What if your car got stolen? Should you be held responsible for the thief running a red light? Of course not.
That’s why the officer must prove you were the driver. Here’s a helpful hint: if the driver wasn’t you, then YOU HAVE NO OBLIGATION TO DISCLOSE WHO THE DRIVER WAS.
Often, if you fight a red light camera ticket in traffic court, and you tell the court clerk you were not driving the car, then the question fired back at you is: “Well, who was it then?”
You have no obligation to tell the court, the judge, the officer, or ANYONE who was driving your car (if it wasn’t you, it was likely your boyfriend/girlfriend, spouse, or child).
The officer must prove his case. You don’t have to do his job for him by telling the court who the driver was so they can send a notice to that person to appear in court. You have a 5th amendment right to remain silent in order to not incriminate yourself.
Often, even if it WAS you, chances are you were wearing glasses, a hat, a clown suit, or it’s just a shitty picture. These are the types of cases that are won with the identity defense.You can view your LA red light camera ticket photo at www.cite-web.com by entering your citation number and the pin number they listed on the notice you received in the mail.
MISCONCEPTION #3: Since I Got a Notice in the Mail, I Must Have Crossed the Line After the Light Turned Red
This one sounds obvious, but several times I have gone to traffic court on an LA red light camera ticket and sure enough, the photo reveals your car is past the limit line before the light turned red.
The camera is supposed to snap photos or video only after the sensor beneath your car indicates the light is red as you are crossing those sensors.
Sometimes these machines malfunction. Sometimes the officer in charge of reviewing the photographic or video footage makes a mistake and prosecutes a ticket that shouldn’t have been prosecuted. Sometimes, if you just pay the ticket without fighting it, you’ll never know you didn’t even break the law!
For help with your Los Angeles traffic ticket, you can contact me here:
(Photo by freedigitalphotos.net)