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Red Light Camera Ticket

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lamshing

Junior Member
What is the name of your state?What is the name of your state? Ca


I lived in Los Angeles, and I got a red light camera ticket around early June this year (I believed the violation was around May, 27, 05). I was the registered owner of the car involved but I wasn’t the person in the picture. It was obvious from the picture that the driver and I are of opposite sex. At that time, I filled in the information regarding I was not the driver and sent the whole ticket using the return envelop.

I guessed that the ticket was loss in the mail because I received a letter from the collector agency around end of July. I called the agency up and explained the situation. The agent basically told me to pay the fine and go to the court and have my name cleared up (I got one point in the driving record). Not knowing my right and the proper procedure, I paid the fine and went to the traffic citation dept of the court the next day. The front desk clerk said that the court could not do anything since I’d already paid the fine. She told me to go to the police station where the ticket was issued.

I called the police station the same day and finally contacted (by phone) the officer who issued the ticket several weeks later. At first, the officer agreed to just give me a copy of the back of the ticket (no pictures) and had me nominate the driver in the picture. I simply told him that I was not the driver in the picture, so I did not commit the crime, and I was not obligated to disclose the driver in the picture. He looked at the citation and knew that I wasn’t the driver but he was trying to trap me into telling the driver in the picture all along. Going no where and frustrated after a while, he said that there was nothing he could do since I paid the fine, and the case is closed. After some unpleasant exchanges between the officer and I, he finally agreed to give a copy of the whole ticket, and I will pick it up sometime next week.

I strongly believe that I will get my fine back and clear my record because the evidence showed that I did not commit the crime. But is it too late to have the ticket dismissed? What is the proper way to get my money back? Should I go to the court and talk to the judge that I did not commit the crime and clear my point? Is everything too late?

Thank you in advance.
 


racer72

Senior Member
I was not obligated to disclose the driver in the picture.
Wrong. If you don't want to pay the ticket, you must tell who was driving the vehicle. If not, as the registered owner of the vehicle, you are fully liable for any traffic infractions the vehicle is involved in. And by paying the fine, you have probably killed any chance of contesting the citation. Do you really think the police is going to just tear up the ticket because it wasn't you driving the vehicle? Get real.
 

lamshing

Junior Member
racer77 wrote:
Wrong. If you don't want to pay the ticket, you must tell who was driving the vehicle. If not, as the registered owner of the vehicle, you are fully liable for any traffic infractions the vehicle is involved in.
Which traffic law did you refer to regarding the above quote?

This is a web site that I found regarding red light camera ticket. I found it very informative. Here is a quote that is relevant to my situation:

A judge can't force you to identify who it is in the photo, unless you give up your right not to testify.

On trial days, one judge (now retired) told the assembled defendants:
"There is one defense that I call the always-win-never-lose defense, pretty much an absolute defense in these tickets, and that defense is if you're not the driver of the vehicle. Deputy Porche has two things that he has to prove to this court, by proof beyond a reasonable doubt this morning in each of your cases. First, he must prove that a vehicle went through a red light. Second, he must prove that you, the person cited, were the driver of the car. The primary way that he proves that you were the driver is with the photograph or the photographs. If the photographs are not photographs of you driving the car he has not met his burden of proof, you're not guilty, end of case, we don't waste any time on those cases."
Unfortunately for me, I did not discover this web site early enough to avoid those grief. I could have gone to the trial. I am just looking for a less painful way out at this point..meaning get my money back and clear my record and have the ticket dismissed.
 

CdwJava

Senior Member
Here is how they usually deal with this ... if the registered owner doesn't cough up the driver, they will match every name they can find that is associated with the car or the address and see if any of the DMV photos match the driver. If they find a match, then that person will be responsible for the cite.

I would not be surprosed if within the next couple of years the law changes to hold the registered owner responsible for this fine ... whether that will fly or not is anyone's guess. But, with the impending passage of photo radar and the increasing presence of photo red light cites, I can see this as being the law in the not too distant future.

- Carl
 

LSCAP

Member
CDWJAVA, I understand that here in NC it is already as you suggested. If they have a picture of your plate, send in the money. But, no points, at this time anyway.


A money raiser. One of the Raleigh councilmen fought “camera lights’” calling them “Money Cows”. The rest swore they would be put in areas of high accidents as a safety measure. Almost every camera put up so far is in a “high traffic volume area” and no where near the high accident areas.
 

Pugilist

Member
CDWJAVA opined:

"Here is how they usually deal with this ... if the registered owner doesn't cough up the driver, they will match every name they can find ..."

Here's my personal experience:

"They" (the police) don't do that anymore. I don't know if it is because of manpower shortage (many cities are handling more than 1000 tickets a month) or because of some legal barrier to re-issuing the ticket after a delay.

Racer72 opined:

"And by paying the fine, you have probably killed any chance of contesting the citation."

I disagree. Racer72 is in WA, but here in CA a traffic ticket is a criminal case (albeit a very minor one) and you can always move to re-open. And since he paid the fine very recently, there is a one-page form for making that motion.

More from personal experience:

LSCAP pointed out, correctly, that "back east," the tickets go to the registered owner, no matter what. But in CA, AZ and OR only the driver can be convicted. Because the face photos are often blurry, or show a person of a different gender than the registered owner, many cities in CA are isssuing large quantities of Fake Tickets - ones that haven't been filed with the court (no superior court name and address on the "ticket," no command to "appear by" a certain date). The Fake Tickets are designed to get the registered owner to snitch on whoever was driving (which could even be himself!). But since the Fake Ticket has not been filed with the court it is not a legal action against you. It is just a piece of paper that you can crumple up and throw in the trash.

Pug
 
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CdwJava

Senior Member
Pugilist said:
CDWJAVA opined:

"Here is how they usually deal with this ... if the registered owner doesn't cough up the driver, they will match every name they can find ..."

Here's my personal experience:

"They" (the police) don't do that anymore. I don't know if it is because of manpower shortage (many cities are handling more than 1000 tickets a month) or because of some legal barrier to re-issuing the ticket after a delay.
"They" actually do. At least three agencies in LA County, and one in San Bernardino County, do just that ... I made inquiry at a recent training course in So. Cal. (I go once per month down south) and some of the Sergeants I was with just HAPPENED to be in charge of these units for their agencies. None were with the LAPD's unit, though. However, one Sgt. who is assigned to a Commander's office said that even they still do that ... though to what extent LAPD does this - or how often, she couldn't say.

As I understood it, they check the names of others associated with the car or the residence only if no response is received from the letters to the registered owner within a certain period of time.

So, they still do it.

- Carl
 

Pugilist

Member
CDW:

As a police officer you should know that you can't rely on what people tell you they do (even if they are your brother officers).

Even though they have the intentions to take the time to chase down the real driver, they're not actually doing it.

I stand by my earlier post.

Pug
 

CdwJava

Senior Member
Pugilist said:
CDW:

As a police officer you should know that you can't rely on what people tell you they do (even if they are your brother officers).

Even though they have the intentions to take the time to chase down the real driver, they're not actually doing it.

I stand by my earlier post.

Pug
And as someone on the outside who has no real idea WHAT they do, your opinion is based entirely on uninformed supposition.

I'd rather rely on the information of supervisors assigned to perform the specific task and their indication of what they do and how they do it.

- Carl
 

Pugilist

Member
CDW's info is based upon his occasional visit to the big city, and listening to the cops there.

Mine is based on being there all the time, and listening to everyone.

Pug
 

CdwJava

Senior Member
Pugilist said:
CDW's info is based upon his occasional visit to the big city, and listening to the cops there.

Mine is based on being there all the time, and listening to everyone.

Pug
Yep ... and having worked in the big city as well ... and being on the inside ... not being an outside trying to guess at what the truth of what we do really is.

Again, you may not think they are not doing what they say they are doing, but I'd rather believe the people who are doing the job then someone who can't possibly have the slightest idea what these officers do.

Do they do extensive research on every such photo? Probably not ... photo quality may not be enough to make an ID, and time and practical considerations may prohibit it. But, if they say they and their staff do it, I'll choose to believe them over you.

- Carl
 

lamshing

Junior Member
My latest update on the citation

I just went to the court for an arraignment regarding my red light camera ticket today. I pleaded ‘not guilty’ and stated that I wasn’t the driver in the picture. The judge looked at the picture in the citation and said that obviously this was a case of wrong identity. He then dismissed the case. :)


Rewind backward to the day I brought the citation copy to the court for an appointment with judge:
The window clerk told me that I didn’t need to fill out the "Bail Forfeiture Set Aside and Motion to Re-open." since I just paid for the ticket not long ago. She reluctantly set up a court date for me once I insisted on seeing the judge.

My thank again to this website:http://www.highwayrobbery.net/redlightcamsticket.htm#NotMe
 

Pugilist

Member
Persistence paid off!

I want to mention that the "Fake Tickets" I mentioned in my first post in this thread are now called "Snitch Tickets" - because they don't ask for money, they just ask you to turn someone in for running the red light camera!

Pug
 

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