Red Light Camera Ticket Not Me Driving

If you receive a ticket by post from a red light camera and are not the person driving, you don't need to hire a lawyer to challenge the ticket. There is no legal duty to identify the driver of the vehicle, but attorneys hear these stories all the time. Law enforcement and court personnel are caught every day deceiving the public into revealing who was driving. 

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 red light camera 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 violation. If the photo is not of you, but another driver, you can contest the ticket. 

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 in giving the correct answers in court. You can also bring this to the attention of a traffic judge without going to court, and there are three basic ways:

1) Trial by written declaration: This should be your very first step when the car has been sold or you were not the driver. Here are some possible ways to defend your red light camera ticket

2) Ask an attorney to send a letter to the issuing police agency, and the court, enclosing a photo of your license and asking that the ticket be dismissed because the registered owner of the vehicle was clearly not driving at that time. Unless promptly notified that it was dismissed, the next step is to ask for a trial by declaration, which you can do yourself without a lawyer.

3)  Hire an attorney who will go to court for you or do your written declaration for you. The judge will be shown the photographic evidence, your own driver’s license photo, and the cost will usually run about around $200-500. The savings in fines and insurance rate increases will often be well worth it.      

Most states have a simple way of dealing with traffic matters, using easy-to-fill-out forms in which you state — and please be brief — why you are not guilty of the traffic offense. Experience shows that in most situations, the driver is going to lose the case. But where it is a question of identity — who was driving the car — or a change in ownership, the chances are very good that your ticket will be dismissed.

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