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5 Ways You Can Defend Against a Red Light Camera Ticket

Red light cameras—also known as photographic automated enforcement systems—are a new way for the police to catch people speeding through red lights without sitting near the light observing them. These devices trigger a sensor as a vehicle drives Red Light on a Traffic Signalthrough an intersection when the light is red. The camera takes a picture of the license plate and the driver. The police are supposed to match the driver’s picture to vehicle owner’s driver’s license picture before sending a ticket to the registered owner of the vehicle.

If you got a red light camera ticket, you may assume there are no grounds to challenge it and be tempted to just pay the ticket. After all, they got you on camera. However, you may want to challenge the ticket to avoid the high cost of having a ticket on your driving record.

Five Reasons Why You May Be Able to Challenge a Red Light Ticket

If you want to challenge a red light ticket, you will want to obtain a copy of the camera picture. It may have been sent to you along with the ticket. If not, you may need to get a copy of it through a written request. A few reasons why you may be able to challenge the ticket include:

  • Not the driver. The police often fail to check the camera picture to the owner’s driver license and assume the registered owner was the driver. If someone else was driving your vehicle through the red light, that person—not you—is responsible for the ticket.

  • Driver not recognizable. Even if you were the driver, if the picture is unclear, you may be able to argue that the judge cannot say beyond a reasonable doubt—the standard of proof in a criminal case—that the driver was you.

  • Device not working properly. The prosecutor must provide evidence on how the camera works and prove that it was working properly on the date of your ticket. If he fails to do so, you can argue that he has not met his burden of proving you went through the red light.

  • No employee of the red light camera company is present. If no employee of the company that maintains the camera attends your trial to testify, you could argue that the pictures are inadmissible because there is no one to authenticate the validity of the evidence. If the pictures are excluded, the prosecutor has no case against you, and the ticket should be dismissed.

  • Emergency situation. If you needed to run the red light to avoid an accident or harming another person, you can raise the defense that you had an emergency situation that prevented you from stopping at the intersection.

If you want to challenge a red light camera ticket, we’re here to help. Contact the Easley Law Firm at 888-386-3898 to schedule a free consultation and start learning more about your rights.


Darwyn L. Easley
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Attorney and Counsellor at Law

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Easley Law Firm

  • 10521 Judicial Drive
    Suite 205

    Fairfax, VA 22030
  • Phone: 703-865-6610
  • Fax: 703-842-6101
  • Toll Free: 888-386-3898
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