Over the best few decades, red light cameras have become an ubiquitous part of the landscape. Things have now gotten to the point where they dot almost every major intersection in the country, and in some places, virtually every intersection in an entire city or state. The reason that these red light cameras are there should be quite obvious.
The prospect of getting a ticket for running a red light even if there are no police present ought to ensure that fewer people will risk running the red light. In turn, this should help to make the intersection safer and lower the number of accidents and potential fatalities.
Unfortunately, for all of the good that these red light cameras do, the technology behind them hasn’t yet reached a point where the cameras are truly flawless. This means that you could find yourself facing a ticket not because you actually did something wrong, but because of an error caused by a faulty or malfunctioning camera.
There are a number of different situations where you may find yourself facing a ticket in error, and for this reason, it’s always a good idea to be fully aware of how red light cameras work and your rights regarding them in order to give you a better chance of successfully defending against the ticket.
Rules Regarding Red Light Camera Infractions
The laws regarding infractions captured by red light cameras vary from state to state. Still, in most cases, two photos are mandatory in order to prove the infraction.
- The first photo should show the vehicle entering the intersection and the second photo needs to clearly show the vehicle in the middle of the intersection when the light is red.
- These photos need to be clear enough to for the car and the license plate to be fully legible.
- In addition, the first photo needs to clearly show that the light was red (not yellow) when you entered the intersection.
- Although your car and license plate need to be clearly visible, it is not necessary for the picture to clearly show the driver.
- In fact, the law generally doesn’t care who the driver of the car was as the ticket is automatically issued to whoever the vehicle is licensed to.
- This means that you could be facing a ticket even if you weren’t in the car.
However, if you can provide visible proof of who that other driver was, you should be able to get the ticket transferred to their name and ensure it ends up on their record instead of yours.
How to Prove a Ticket Was Issued in Error
If you are issued a ticket from a red light camera and you feel the ticket was issued in error, you’ll need to contest the ticket by hiring a professional traffic ticket attorney and prove that there was actually an error in order to have the ticket dismissed. This can potentially be fairly easy or quite tricky depending on the type of evidence against you.
- For instance, if one of the two mandatory photos is missing, the first photo doesn’t show a red light or the second photo doesn’t clearly show your car in the intersection, you should stand a good chance of having the ticket dismissed.
- Similarly, it may also be possible to have the ticket automatically dismissed if your license plate isn’t clearly legible or isn’t shown on the photo.
- The ticket should also be dismissed if the photos clearly show that the traffic signal was out or otherwise not functioning properly.
Certain weather and road conditions may also allow you to claim that you couldn’t have safely stopped for the red light in time. In this situation, if a car behind was tailgating you or the roads were too slick or icy to stop safely, you may also be able to petition to have the ticket dismissed.
At the end of the day, red light cameras are undoubtedly a great thing to have. The more things we can do to improve road safety, the better off we are. Still, this doesn’t mean that you simply have to accept a ticket issued to you in error. Traffic lights and cameras aren’t perfect, which means that a good idea to fight for your rights if you’re wrongly accused of an infraction you didn’t commit.