TicketKick and Red Light Camera Tickets
Speaking the words Red Light Camera in the TicketKick offices results in as many smiles as a Kindergarten class that just got a personal visit from Santa himself. Why, you may ask? Strange as it may be, we love ‘em. Most of our customers beat their red light camera tickets using our rock solid arguments. We go to town with our customer’s defenses and really “throw the book” at the courts. The result – thousands of happy customers who save anywhere from $450-$1600 on their fines and resulting insurance premium hikes.
When TicketKick® first started, our emphasis was mainly on speeding tickets. We looked at red light camera tickets as most of our customers do – They caught me on camera, I’m done for!
Boy, were we wrong. As we researched more and more, our team learned that red light cameras are perhaps the best traffic tickets to contest in California, despite the photographs that capture a driver on film clearly running a red light and in the process uttering a four letter word on the “no-no” list. Our defenses started simply, by really diving into the law pertaining to red light cameras. Conveniently enough for TicketKick® and more importantly for our customers, this law is one of the lengthiest, in-depth traffic laws in California. When the legislature began legally allowing red light cameras to operate in California, they wanted to make sure that there were enough checks and balances to keep the programs operating not for revenue generation, but rather for their primary cause of safety. Since a for-profit, private company would be working with law enforcement to issue citations, as never previously done, the law makers wanted to keep the public at ease by creating strict guidelines to follow. Below are just a few of the requirements that municipalities need to check off the list before flipping the “on” switch for the cameras:
- Signs warning drivers of the cameras
- Agreements with the for-profit company that are not based on the amount of citations issued
- Sufficient yellow light lengths
- 30 day warning periods
- Public notice of the activation of the systems
- Clear photos of driver
- The ticket must be sent to driver within 15 days
The list goes on and on…Out of the 75 or so cities that utilize red light cameras, our team at TicketKick® has identified noncompliance with one or more of the items above in nearly all of the cities that utilize red light camera systems.
Bakersfield’s contract with Redflex may have “cost-neutrality” issues. Tisk-Tisk. Beverly Hills, with it’s star-studded streets and million dollar cars parked on every corner, forgot to issue warnings for all of the intersections using red light cameras. Whoops. Napa signed a contract with Redflex that is considered unlawful. Maybe they signed it after a brief wine tasting tour. West Hollywood drivers may see flash bulbs from Paparazzi, but the flashes of the red light cameras are quite possibly illegally going off. Do you see where we are going with this?
After TicketKick® successfully helped thousands of customers obtain dismissals on their expensive red light camera tickets, something amazing happened. In 2010, a red light camera case decision was published, setting a precedent. In simple terms, this case basically became the instruction manual for judges all across the state to follow when deciding verdicts involving red light cameras. The judge in the case decided that enough was enough, and that the photos taken by red light cameras are generally not allowed as evidence. Without photos, there is nothing left to prove that a driver actually ran a red light. We started using this case and a few other California cases in 2010, and our dismissal rates increased dramatically.
Let’s face the facts – If you have a red light camera ticket and you were the driver, you probably ran the red light. That’s OKAY! That’s not the point. Just like Terminator’s Robocop can’t pull you over and cite you for speeding, red light cameras often aren’t allowed to give you a ticket even though they look like they can. Just the other day, we had a customer tell us that his case was dismissed, despite a crystal clear photograph of him going through the red light at 50 miles per hour. Granted, this was a very unsafe move on his part, but nonetheless his case was thrown out because TicketKick® helped him show the judge that he was improperly cited. If an officer saw him run the red light, then it would have been a different story. However, the judge agreed with our argument, concluding that his red light camera ticket was unlawfully issued. Here at TicketKick®, we want the roads to be as safe as they can be. However, we’d like to think that we help our drivers draw a line in the sand when for-profit companies have a monetary incentive when giving drivers $500 tickets.