How Do I Handle a Red Light Camera Ticket if I Was Not the Driver?

August 31, 2018

Thousands of traffic citations are issued each year to drivers in the state of California. From speeding tickets to texting while driving citations, each violation can add points to your driving record and cause you to pay high fines. One of the most confusing citation types is when a camera catches you for a red light violation.

How Do You Know If a Red Light Camera Caught You?

Many red lights in California have cameras attached to catch drivers who run them. The camera catches the tag number as well as a picture of the driver. The ticket is then mailed to the registered owner of the vehicle. If you receive one of these citations, it is important to act quickly because ignoring a traffic ticket could lead to incredibly high fines or even arrest.

According to California law, the driver of the vehicle is responsible for the red light photo ticket, not the owner of the car. However, the ticket is always mailed to the address of the vehicle owner. Attached to the ticket will be the photo evidence taken at the time of the infraction. If the photo is not of you, but another driver, you can contest the ticket. It is best to hire an attorney to do this.

It is important to know that you are not required by law to identify the person in the photograph. A judge may ask you to do so and you may decline. A good traffic attorney can assist you with giving the correct answers in court.

How Does a Red Light Camera Ticket in California Affect Your Record?

Receiving a red light ticket will place one to two points on your driving record. As a result, your insurance premium may rise. You may also be required to pay a fine of $490 or more.

How Do You Fight a California Red Light Camera Ticket?

If you wish to challenge a red light camera ticket, you should contact a traffic lawyer as soon as possible. Having a lawyer on your side may be able to get your citation dismissed if your lawyer can prove any of the following situations.

  • You ran the red light to avoid an accident
  • The camera was not functioning properly
  • The image taken of the driver was not clear
  • You were not driving the vehicle when the image was taken

While it is difficult to get a red light camera ticket dismissed by yourself, a lawyer can usually help you avoid points on your record, increased insurance rates, and high fines.

Wondering how to contest a red light ticket by mail? In California you can do this if you were not the driver of the vehicle or if you were driving a company car and the company will pay the fine. You cannot contest by mail if you are arguing the camera was faulty, you were avoiding an accident, or some other defense. Those arguments can only be made in court.

To contest by mail you fill out the information on the back of the citation and mail it in with any requested accompanying documents by the due date indicated. Note that if the driver was not you, you will be required to identify the driver if you contest by mail. If you don’t want to do that, you will have to go to court.

If you accrue four or more points in a 12-month period, you can be considered a negligent driver and have your license suspended or revoked. Those red light camera tickets can add up quickly and cause a lot of problems in the future. Contesting them as they arise can save you time, money, and points.

If you are looking for reputable traffic lawyers, contact The Ticket Clinic today.