How Do You Beat a Photo-Enforced Traffic Ticket?


Quick Answer

Defendants can fight red-light camera tickets if they are the vehicle owner but were not driving at the time of the violation, explains Nolo. Violations can also be fought on the grounds the photos are unclear, the camera was working improperly or the violation occurred because of necessity.

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Full Answer

Most state laws hold the driver of the vehicle, not the owner of the vehicle, responsible for the ticket, according to Nolo. A notable exception is New York state. In states that hold the driver solely responsible, car owners who receive tickets but were not driving at the time of the violation can submit an affidavit stating they were not the driver to get the ticket dismissed.

For a red-light camera ticket to stand up in court, the photos of the driver and license plate must be clear. Nolo advises obtaining copies of the photos and objecting to them being admitted in court if they are unclear. At trial, the government must demonstrate the device was working properly at the time the photo was taken. If the government cannot demonstrate this and no employee of the company that maintains the camera is present to testify, Nolo recommends objecting to the photos. If they are not admitted, the government's case fails. Another defense is necessity. If a driver was forced to run a red light by an extenuating circumstance, such as avoiding an accident, the judge may dismiss the case.

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