There have been a lot of articles lately about red light camera tickets. You know the ones that you get in the mail with your pictures on it. This is probably my tenth article about this issue. One of the things drivers need to know is that you can fight back. Getting a red light ticket does not mean you are guilty. Just like getting a speeding ticket does not mean you should just pay it as there are serious consequences. Here are just a few things to consider the next time you fight, or decide to have a lawyer fight, your red light ticket.
With the newly implemented red light traffic cameras being installed all over Florida, it can be easy for unsuspected drivers to be caught in the camera’s cross hairs when they approach an intersection. In some cases, the alleged violation of the red light will not even be known by the driver until the red light ticket is received in the mail several days after the alleged offense. When this ticket arrives, it can result in numerous questions as to the circumstances of the violation, which if examined closely, could point to circumstances that were beyond the control of the driver.
What was traffic like at the light?
In heavily congested areas it can be easy for a driver to focus solely on staying with the flow of traffic instead of looking at the light as it turns from green to yellow to red. In such circumstances, if a driver can show that they were merely caught in the intersection as a result of being pushed forward in bumper-to-bumper traffic, this may assist them in preparing a defense to the red light ticket. Traffic light cameras do not have the ability to capture the entire sequence of events leading up to the infraction. In fact, in some cases, the camera will be positioned in a fashion that leaves a large part of the surrounding area out of the camera’s view. In such cases, it is important to present all the circumstances surrounding the red light, so as to provide a logical reason as to why the vehicle was operated in the manner it was.
Was there an accident or was the driver avoiding an accident when running the light?
Beyond a driver’s intent to merely stay with the flow of traffic so as not to put themselves or others at risk, there are also circumstances in which a driver will have to make a sudden change in their operation so as to avoid a collision with other vehicles. Once again, the camera may not show these circumstances. However, if there is evidence, such as the testimony of the driver and another individual at the scene to support this assertion, it could be argued that the running of the light was necessary in order to avoid far more drastic consequences.
Was there a blind spot near the traffic light that fails to show where the vehicle came from?
No matter how advanced a camera is there will often be spots that the camera cannot capture. Determining where these spots are can be crucial to presenting a defense. By going back to the scene of the infraction and taking pictures, evidence can be gathered to support where the vehicle was at the time the light actually turned red. Comparing this with the picture provided by the red light camera will allow the driver and their attorney to analyze whether the vehicle was caught on camera even though they had not run the light.
Were there obstructions present that may put into question the accuracy of the picture?
No matter how hard a machine tries, there are often obstructions that may diminish the quality of the machine’s performance. In the case of red light cameras, trees, shrubs, buildings and other vehicles on the road can often block the camera from getting an accurate picture of the violation. Each case will have different factors, which will each need to be evaluated separately in order to determine the strength or weakness of making an argument against the merits of the red light ticket. However, with the large number of potential penalties that may come as a result of the ticket, including hefty fines, insurance hikes and the potential for driving school requirements, weighting all the potential defenses before choosing the one that best fits the facts of the case can make all the difference in the final outcome.