Red Light Camera Tickets and Fighting Unfair Citations

New York is one of many states that makes use of cameras linked to red lights in order to catch drivers who violate its traffic laws. 

If you have been ticketed for speeding, making an illegal turn at a red light, or failing to stop at a red light, you may believe there are no options but to accept guilt and pay the fines, but that may not be the case. If you have been issued a ticket unfairly, don’t give up on pursuing your rights; with the right legal support, you can fight an unfair red-light ticket and win. 

How Red Light Traffic Cameras Work

They may not always be easily visible, but cameras attached to a traffic light or street pole are attached to sensors in the pavement. If a vehicle crosses the stop line or rolls into the crosswalk, the sensors activate the camera, which takes photos or video of the vehicle before automatically transmitting the photo to law enforcement for processing. 

On that note, it’s important to understand that tickets are not issued immediately; the information regarding the alleged violation must first be reviewed by an officer, who will determine whether the infraction meets the standards for a traffic violation. If it does, the officer will mail a warning or a citation to the owner of the vehicle whose information is available through license plate registration.

Warnings don’t require further action, but in New York, it is usual to receive one (and only one) warning; any future red light violations will likely result in a citation. When citations are given, the vehicle owner will be required to either pay the fine or appear in court to dispute it. 

Regardless of who was driving, if a citation is issued, it is the responsibility of the owner of the vehicle. Any violation points will be attached to their driving record, and it is their insurance premiums that will be affected.  

What to Do if You Are Given a Red Light Citation

If you receive a citation in the mail, the first step you should take is to confirm that it was your car at the red light. You should receive a picture of both the driver and the car’s license plate. Clerical mistakes are rare but possible, so it’s important to follow up, even if you have received an unjustified warning.

Look at the ticket to learn where the infraction occurred, which court you are supposed to appear in if you wish to contest the ticket, and what time the arraignment is scheduled for. 

If you plan on contesting either a VTL 1110(a) or VTL 1111(d) violation, having a clear understanding of New York State’s traffic laws is imperative. You may assume paying the fine is the only option, but there are legal defenses against these and other traffic violations, such as:

  • The light was malfunctioning and turned red too quickly
  • You or a passenger were experiencing a medical emergency
  • Your car was having mechanical problems
  • Photo evidence from the red light camera is too blurry for a clear identification
  • You ran a red light to avoid an accident

Experienced traffic law attorneys not only know which defenses are viable in your case, but they also know how to argue a successful case in court. 

Speak to a Traffic Law Attorney About Your Red Light Ticket

If you are guilty of a red light violation, it may be easier to pay the fine and use more caution when you’re behind the wheel. Still, if you’ve received an unjust citation, there are legal options you can take. 

Call New York Traffic Ticket Lawyers in Central New York for a free consultation. We will handle all legal proceedings and represent you in court. Hiring an experienced attorney can save you time, stress, and money. 

David Hammond, Esq. is a traffic offense lawyer and prosecutor that has over a decade of experience fighting for the rights of service members and their families. He served nine years and went on two combat tours as an active duty US Army officer. He then joined the Reserves and moved to Syracuse to be near his family. Not only does he defend the rights of Central New Yorkers, but he also has a veteran-focused practice. David represents servicemen and women before the military appellate courts and takes cases to fix service members’ military records. If you have any questions about this article, you can contact David by clicking here.