Technology has brought many changes to the world, including the ability to remotely record activity. With the use of red light cameras, municipalities can use a combination of video surveillance and sensors to record when a car runs through a red light. The owner of the vehicle captured on video is then sent a citation for the traffic offense.
There was a time when people routinely ignored these tickets, but this is no longer the wisest option after the People VS Goldsmith case. In this case, the tickets were challenged as being unconstitutional, and the courts ruled that the pictures and videos recorded by red light cameras are admissible in court.
Red light tickets were ruled inadmissible in court because they could not show the information source or data regarding how the video was prepared. However, cities have improved their use of technology.
- In the latest case of People VS Goldsmith, the twelve-second video shows the defendant moving through the intersection.
- A data bar at the bottom of the screen displays the time stamps, and the video clearly shows that the light was red before the defendant entered the intersection.
The defense tried to argue that the video evidence was actually hearsay because there was no person to be cross-examined. However, the court ruled that they were not a statement at all because they were computer generated.
This ruling from the Supreme Court of California was unanimous. The Justices in this case agreed that video surveillance and pictures have long been used as a ‘silent witness’ to various activities and events. Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye expressed an opinion that the video evidence is presumed to be accurate.
You Must Address The Red Light Photo Tickets
The fact is that a red light photo ticket is just as legally binding as any other traffic citation.
- Failing to respond to it or appear in court can result in additional fines and even a warrant for your arrest.
- The ticket won’t just vanish if it is not dealt with and it can result in your car being impounded the next time you’re pulled over for a violation.
- While there are options for addressing the ticket, it’s important for drivers to respond to any citation that is hand-delivered on the scene or that arrives after the fact.
You may even choose to consult an experienced attorney to represent your case in the court.
The Driver And Owner Are Two Different People
One of the big concerns with red light photo tickets is that the driver who runs the light may not be the person who owns the car and receives a citation. Even in this case, the ticket cannot just be ignored.
- Many times, the owner of the car simply has to submit the proof that they were not driving at the time.
- An excellent example would be work records showing that the driver actually at work when the alleged traffic offense occurred.
- Municipalities may request that the owner of the vehicle share the name of the person who borrowed the car on the date in question. However, the law does not support this demand.
- The owner of the car has the right to keep this information private rather than allowing the courts to give the citation to their friend or family member.
When you receive a red light ticket in the mail, it’s important to treat it with the same respect as a traditional ticket received in person from an officer. Failure to appear for a red light ticket is a misdemeanor offense, so you must follow through with the legal process. The courts may dismiss the case, but it must be done through the proper channels.
If you require more advice or information regarding a red light ticket, you may want to consider meeting with an attorney to discuss your options.