How to Contest a Red Light Camera Ticket

Written by r.l. cultrona
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How to Contest a Red Light Camera Ticket
Many cities use cameras to catch people who run red lights. (David De Lossy/Photodisc/Getty Images)

Many cities have begun placing cameras at intersections in order to catch people who run red lights. The way they can do this is by tracking whether a vehicle crosses the limit line after a light has turned from yellow to red. If this occurs, several pictures and video are taken of the car as it commits the infraction. If you have received a ticket from a red light camera, there are several things you can do to contest it.

Skill level:
Moderately Challenging

Things you need

  • Red Light camera ticket with pictures

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  1. 1

    Review the photos on the ticket to ensure there is a clear picture of your face. Since the violation is attached to the driver of the vehicle, the state must have a clear picture of the driver. If the picture is fuzzy or unclear, fill out the section of the tickets that states that you were not the driver of the vehicle. Be aware you may have to prove that you were not there at the time of the violation. Also, red light tickets will provide you with a place to list the driver if it's not you. Review the laws in your state to determine if you are legally responsible for filling that out. Many states do not require you to state wilfully the identity of the driver.

  2. 2

    Review the video of the infraction. Often, the red light camera is not calibrated properly and may go off when your car barely touches the limit line, or it may take your picture for the infraction caused by the car in front of you. If this is the case, plead Not Guilty and use the video as evidence. Also, many states have laws regarding how long a yellow light must be lit for the posted speed limit. Review the tape to ensure the yellow light is within the posted legal time limits. If the light was too short, plead Not Guilty.

  3. 3

    Plead Not Guilty if your state allows it. When you do this, you will receive paperwork that you need to fill out that will state your case and allow you to provide evidence to the court. Send this form back to the court by the due date. This can be beneficial because many states pay officers for their time when they appear in court; however, they do not pay them extra for time spent filling out paperwork. If the officer fails to turn in paperwork, your case will be dismissed.

  4. 4

    Plead Not Guilty in person. This will require going to court once to make a plea and then a second time to state your case. The officer who issued the ticket should make an appearance and you will argue your case before a judge. If you are found guilty, however, you will be required to pay the entire fine and you may lose your ability to attend traffic school.

Tips and warnings

  • If you decide to plead Not Guilty by mail. you will be required to pay the entire fine. If you are found not guilty or your cased is dismissed, you will be refunded the amount.
  • Make sure you are 100% correct if you are planning to appear in court. This usually has the lowest success rate for winning your ticket dispute because the officer will be right there to explain what happened.

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