Should You Fight A Red Light Camera Ticket?

Technology has allowed communities to more completely monitor your driving behavior, something that is not always in your best interest. Red light cameras are a good example of these advances. You may get the mail one day and find a ticket for running a red light, one you were totally unaware of. You may even doubt it's legitimate. What should you do?


The fine for such a ticket varies depending on the state. For instance, California may issue you a ticket for close to $500. Other states' fines may fall between $100-$200. The amount is significant, but if you challenge the ticket and lose, you will pay the fine plus the court costs. Also, if the ticket was issued while you were away on vacation, the issue becomes more complicated. Challenging a ticket in Florida when you live in Illinois can be difficult.


Some states will send you the picture of your infraction with the ticket. Others require that you follow a discovery process that involves sending a request for the pictures. When you receive the pictures, look at them closely to see if your license plate is clear and if it's you behind the wheel. There is a possibility that the plate number was misread or that someone else was driving. In most states, the driver is responsible for the ticket and not the owner of the car, although there are exceptions. If you lent your car to a friend, you can file papers with the court swearing you were not driving. The pictures should prove your point, and your friend will have to pay up.

Fighting  an out of state ticket can be expensive, particularly if you try and do it on your own. Travel expenses alone can make the fight impractical. You can hire a lawyer to help you fight this ticket, a wise move if the infraction is going to lead to a license suspension. This can happen if you already have several tickets in the last few years. In that instance, the cost of fighting the ticket is well worth it. 

You may be able to fight the ticket if the proper signs were not posted or the equipment is flawed. Also, sometimes the pictures are simply not of high quality. However, the process may prove to be costly. Some people do successfully fight these fines, so consider your options carefully and seek legal help if necessary. Surrendering without a fight is not always in your best interests.