Yes. In People vs Goldsmith (2014), the California Supreme Court ruled red light camera tickets as constitutional. The ruling also stated that images taken by red light cameras are proof of traffic violations and can be used as court evidence (i.e. for speeding tickets in Los Angeles).
Brief History On Red Light Cameras
Red light cameras have been utilized in numerous states for several years now. The devices were designed to discourage drivers from speeding and running red lights and hopefully lessen the number of deaths caused by reckless and unsafe driving.
Red light cameras are activated when a vehicle goes over a sensor in an intersection when the light is red. The device takes a photo of both the car’s license plate and the driver. A ticket is then mailed to the car’s registered owner, along with a photo evidence, a copy of the citation and the amount of fines to be paid. Instructions on how to challenge the red light camera ticket is included as well.
While the idea behind the use of red light camera is admirable, its utilization has been heavily criticized. Some sectors say the cameras are vital in assisting law enforcement officials in keeping the streets safe. But others are saying this kind of automated law enforcement is unconstitutional and can lead to corruption. Numerous drivers have already complained about the exorbitant fines they have to pay when caught by red light cameras.
What Are Your Legal Options if You Receive a Ticket?
You have three options if you have been sent a red light ticket:
- Plead guilty
- Plead not guilty
- Ask to attend traffic school
You’ll have to pay the fine and receive a traffic violation point if you plead guilty. If you choose a not guilty plea, your lawyer will have to show in traffic court that you did not commit any violations.
If you prefer to attend traffic school, you’ll still be required to pay the fee for the violation, plus the traffic school fee and a court administrative fee. However, you won’t receive a point against your driving record.
Who Should Pay the Ticket if Driver is Not the Registered Owner?
According to California law, the driver named for the violation is accountable for the ticket and not the owner of the car. But if someone else was using your car when it was caught on camera running a red light, the ticket will still be mailed to your registered address. You can contest the ticket and state that you were not the person using the car at the time.
What Are the Penalties for Running a Red Light?
Running the red light is one of the main causes of car accidents in California. You’ll have to face various penalties when you run a red light. You can be charged with a moving violation or even face criminal charges if you’re involved in an accident.
The penalty for all traffic violations in California start with a “base fine.” But the actual fine you’ll be paying will be the base fine plus various fees and surcharges. These surcharges can result in a considerable increase in the total cost.
The base fines for stop sign and stop light violations are:
- $35 for illegal right turn at a red light
- $35 for running a stop sign
- $100 for running straight through a flashing or solid red light
You will also receive one traffic violation point to your driving record for a stop sign or red light violation. But you can avoid this point and lower amount of fine by going to and completing traffic school. Your driver’s license can also be suspended if you have accumulated too many points as the state will consider you as a negligent operator. Having the following point count will go against your driver’s record:
- 4 points in 12 months
- 6 points in 24 months
- 8 points in 36 months
In some circumstances, a stop sign or red light violation can result in a reckless driving conviction. And in the event that these violations led to the death of another individual, you can be charged with vehicular manslaughter.
How Can You Beat a Red Light Camera Ticket?
A lot of drivers believe that you can’t fight a red light camera ticket because of the photo evidence. That’s simply not true. There are several defense strategies that your lawyer can utilize to beat this ticket:
- Ask for Evidence That the Camera Was Working Properly: You can demand for proof that the red light camera device was working properly on the day the photo evidence was captured and the ticket issued. Your lawyer might be able to show that the device was not working correctly that day.
- Challenge the Photo’s Clarity: You can also dispute the clarity of the image and argue that the said evidence is not satisfactory enough to convict you. Maybe the photo has poor quality or the weather condition wasn’t good. Show that the identity of the driver photographed running the red light can’t be proven beyond reasonable doubt.
- Argue the Necessity of Running the Red Light: Your lawyer could also argue that it was necessary for you to run the red light to prevent bigger injury to yourself or another individual or in order to dodge accident. It’s possible that your argument can convince the judge that your actions were necessary and you’re not guilty.
There’s no question that red light speeding cameras have their pros and cons. But no one wants to be ticketed for a traffic violation the didn’t deserve. Fight your red light camera traffic ticket with the help of a good lawyer.
The Los Angeles criminal defense attorneys at Simmrin Law Group understands the legislation and procedures that are needed to fight back in court. We can also come up with compelling arguments against any photo evidence set against you. You won’t even need to be present during the hearing. Call (310)-997-4688 to schedule a FREE consultation to find out how we can help.