How to Beat a Red Light Camera Ticket in California

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Isn’t technology grand? The police are using cameras to issue tickets to those who run red lights in California. Learn how to beat a red light camera ticket in California.

California Revenue

A penalty for running a red light in California is about $500, plus you might be ordered to attend “traffic school.” The camera is meant to take a picture of your vehicle, driver, passengers and license plate.

California can raise revenue quickly by sending this red light camera ticket to your home. Most will simply pay the fine. But, what if you want to fight it, what can you do?

Illegal in Other States

First of all, camera tickets have been tried in other states. And, they have been found to be illegal. Why?

While camera technology is great, it cannot capture everything. It might capture your vehicle make and license plate, but what about the picture of the driver? A police officer asks for your vehicle registration and driver’s license, so he can verify who you are and if you own the vehicle. Can a red light camera ticket do the same? No.

Mail Versus Court

The State of California will send you the ticket by mail and ask you questions. They are trying to get you to confess. Legally, you are not required to say a thing through the mail.

You have two choices: 1. Pay the fine or 2. Beat the ticket. How can you beat the ticket? You start by telling the court that you will claim that you are innocent.

Get the Photograph

To win, you must hold your cards close to the chest. Don’t admit anything. Request to see the camera photograph.

The government must prove that you were driving the car when the red light camera ticket was issued. What is their proof? A photograph.

When you receive the photograph, you must look at it carefully to see what is apparent. Usually, the license plate and vehicle appearance is clear. Can you make out the faces of the drivers and passengers?

If you can see the driver, then you probably can’t win. If you cannot see the driver’s face or the passenger’s face, you have a chance.

Driver Not Owner

People, who have successfully won, have avoided court. Why? In court, you have to answer questions under oath.

If you avoid court, you can argue that the government cannot wins its case. Your goal is to convince the prosecutor that he would lose the case, if it went to trial.

Finally, argue the precedent that other states have tried to issue red light camera tickets and they have been found to be illegal. The government issues tickets without proving the owner was even driving.

You can argue that your car was stolen and someone else was driving. You can say that your friends were driving and you were a passenger. If the prosecutor does not have a high-quality photograph, he might dismiss the infraction. And, you would be victorious.