Q:

How do you fight a camera traffic ticket?

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Quick Answer

The two traffic violations most commonly assessed with cameras are speeding and running red lights, according to FindLaw. The most effective challenge to a traffic camera ticket may be to contest the clarity of the photo, which can be grainy or blurred, or to invoke a legal technicality.

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Full Answer

While a law enforcement official screens traffic camera evidence for violations before tickets are ever issued, sometimes that evidence is less than conclusive. The judge in a contested ticket case must be able to determine beyond a reasonable doubt that the driver in the photo is the one charged with the crime or else she cannot give a guilty ruling. The Law Dictionary stresses that a person contesting a ticket must be truthful, but that he may ask the judge whether she is certain of the driver's identity.

A second way to possibly beat a camera traffic ticket is based upon a technicality: a representative from the camera company, almost always a private contractor hired by the municipality, might be legally required to authenticate the photo if requested, according to Nolo.

The use of cameras in issuing traffic tickets has been controversial. The U.S. Federal Highway Administration says a 2005 study they conducted indicates traffic camera systems increase highway safety while reducing crash-related costs, but the National Motorists Association disagrees, suggesting such cameras are in violation of due process and not worth their cost.

As of February 2015, federal courts have affirmed the right of municipalities to use speeding and red-light cameras, and lawsuits challenging the use of private companies to operate red-light cameras have been dismissed or defeated.

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