Traffic Violations – Red Light Cameras: What to Know

san diego criminal defense

Red-light cameras have become ubiquitous around the country. But what do you really know about these sometimes controversial devices and the laws surrounding them? And why are some cities turning their cameras off?

What They Are
A form of automated enforcement technology, red-light cameras are used to detect and deter drivers who run red lights at intersections. They are also sometimes used to catch drivers who speed, block intersections, fail to stop at a stop sign, disregard a railroad crossing signal or drive through a toll road station without paying.

Laws Around the Country
As of December 2016, 21 states have established laws that allow for some form of red-light camera use, 10 states have prohibited their use and 19 states don’t have any laws concerning red-light camera enforcement. Many jurisdictions treat red-light and other automated enforcement violations like parking tickets, meaning the registered owner of the vehicle is liable for paying the fine, even if he or she wasn’t driving the car at the time of the offense.

What Critics Say
Some see the cameras merely as an easy source of revenue for municipalities. Others take a big-brother view of the technology, seeing it as an overreach of government into citizens’ lives. A 2016 court case sided with critics, ruling that the devices violated drivers’ rights. As a result, the city involved made the decision to suspend the practice until officials could obtain clarification on the legality of the devices.

What Studies Say
Research from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety found that red-light programs in 79 major U.S. cities prevented almost 1,300 fatalities through 2014. The data also showed that when the cameras were turned off, the rate of deadly crashes caused by red-light runners increased up to 30 percent.

Do you have questions about traffic-related issues including red light violations? Contact San Diego Criminal Defense Attorney, Lauren Angelos, at Angelos Law Group today at (619) 727-6812 for your complimentary consultation. Military discounts available.

What Happens if You Can’t Pay a Ticket



Suddenly seeing the flashing lights of law enforcement in your rear-view mirror can be alarming, and so can the cost of ensuing fines or tickets. A ticket for reckless driving, for example, could be as low as $100 or as high as $6,250 depending on the state and conviction.

What the Law Says
Thankfully, the U.S. has made progress since Colonial times when debtors’ prisons often housed those who couldn’t pay. In 1971, the Supreme Court handed down a unanimous ruling in response to Tate v. Short, stating that jailing citizens who can’t afford to pay fine-only tickets violates the 14th Amendment.

But even with that decision in place, some jurisdictions are still putting defendants who say they can’t pay the ticketing fees, fines and surcharges behind bars. A 2015 study found that over 4 million Californians have suspended driver’s licenses due to unpaid fines and missed court appearances. And similar cases are popping up in states from coast to coast, leading to federal lawsuits and the involvement of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU).

If You’re Unable to Pay
Concerned that you can’t make the fine’s due date or just can’t afford it? Experts suggest bringing it up in court yourself rather than waiting to see if the judge will ask. Let him or her know that you don’t have the money to pay your fines, and request an alternative to jail time. Options may include a continuance, payment plan or community service.

Some states, such as Texas, allow you to apply to have surcharges removed, leaving you with the responsibility of paying only the original fine.

Are you unable to afford a ticket or do you have questions about a related issue? Contact San Diego Criminal Defense Attorney, Lauren Angelos, at Angelos Law Group today at (619) 727-6812 for your complimentary consultation.