Don't Smile For The Camera: How To Beat Speed Camera Tickets


Life can be full of surprises, but the one surprise that no one wants to see is an expensive speed camera citation in the mail. Countless cities have opted for photo enforcement for speeding and red-light offenses to free up police manpower and generate additional revenue. However, these automated systems leave plenty to be desired for the average motorist.

If you were recently nabbed by speed camera, then you're probably thinking about fighting your citation. The following offers a few pointers for doing just that.

Request a Trial Date

Since paying the ticket is out of the question, you'll need to have a trial date set so you can appear in court and state your case. In most cases, the information you'll need to set a trial date will be on your speed camera citation. Most jurisdictions require you request a trial date by mail. In some areas, you may be able to have your trial date set by phone or in person.

Showing up is half the battle, so don't forget your court date. Failure to appear in court for your speed camera ticket could be worse than the citation itself. Not only will you automatically lose your case and pay additional fines, but you could have your license suspended or even end up with a bench warrant for your arrest.

Review Your State's Statutes

Each jurisdiction has local ordinances that govern speed camera and red light camera enforcement. The third-party companies tasked with managing these photo enforcement cameras must do so according to these statutes. Nevertheless, there may be discrepancies between the local ordinances and how the photo enforcement program is actually run.

Highlighting discrepancies can work in your favor when fighting a speed camera ticket. For instance, state statutes may require that an officer be present to issue a vehicle citation. Since speed cameras are automated systems, there's no officer present who could testify that a cited driver was speeding. Since the cited driver has no way to exercise his or her constitutional right to confront the witness, the camera evidence may be dismissed on grounds of hearsay.

Look for Technical Flaws

No system ever works perfectly, and speed cameras are no exception. Even well-calibrated machines can suffer technical glitches and flaws that could throw off measurements, resulting in erroneous citations. Maintenance also matters when it comes to camera accuracy. Poor or nonexistent maintenance can also cause errors that nab unsuspecting drivers.

Such errors could play in your favor when disputing your ticket in court. Find out how the company tasked with running the speed cameras maintains their equipment. Request maintenance logs for that particular camera as well as the radar and computer equipment used to manage the system. Some jurisdictions require their cameras and radar systems to be tested on a daily basis.

In addition to subpoenaing maintenance records, you should also consider subpoenaing maintenance personnel for their testimony. Have a list of questions ready regarding the maintenance and calibration of those systems. For instance, ask how often the radar systems are calibrated and how their accuracy is verified.

Seek Other Avenues of Dismissal

In some cases, you may be able to have your speed camera tickets dismissed simply by taking a driver safety course online or in person. Taking this option may cost you a little money, but you'll have the benefit of keeping the citation off your driving record. Taking a driver safety course may even help you lower your insurance premiums by a small amount.

Although speed cameras can catch your vehicle in the act, most jurisdictions still need proof that you were behind the wheel at the time of the offense. If you can prove you weren't in the driver's seat, you may be able to have your citation dismissed.  

Contact traffic attorneys for additional advice.


16 August 2018

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