Could 1,000 Traffic Tickets be Tossed Out Because of Red Light Camera Error?

In Orange County, California, it is reported that the traffic light at Katella Avenue and Bloomfield Street in Los Alamitos switched from yellow to red faster than state law allows, likely causing hundreds of camera-generated tickets to be issued incorrectly, at about $500 apiece. This occurred over a 10-month period. It is an issue because the camera at the intersection photographs drivers that do not make the red light. Los Alamitos’ city manager says that about 1,000 tickets were issued at the intersection in question. At least 19 of those tickets have been tossed out of court.

It was reported last year, that the number of red light cameras being used are surprisingly declining across Southern California and most of the country.  In California, 60 cities and counties have ended red-light camera programs. In Orange County, only two cities left are using them – Los Alamitos and Garden Grove. It is cited that declining revenues, a non-supportive court system, and the increasing number of accidents are the main reason many cities have ended their red light camera programs in recent years. Interviewed city traffic engineers claim that photo enforcement is actually causing more rear-end accidents because people are scared when they see a yellow light at an intersection with cameras.

El Cajon and San Diego suspended their red light camera programs back in 2014, and the LAPD in Los Angeles discontinued their program effective July 11, 2011. California hands out harsher penalties than most states for red-light violations – from $490 to $554 when traffic school fees are included – and considers the ticket to be a moving violation.

Legal Status of Camera Tickets

Red light tickets have been unpopular amongst the general public obviously, but they have also been legally controversial. Back in 2014, the California Supreme Court held that red light camera pictures were admissible as evidence of traffic violations, after a series of legal challenges to red light cameras across the country. See The People of California v. Goldsmith. This is because machine-created evidence such as photographs is not hearsay.

However, earlier this year, the state’s Judicial Council held that drivers with camera citations do not have to pay their fine first before contesting their ticket– something that used to be require to get a trial. Civil rights groups have argued that that violated constitutional due process.

San Diego Traffic Ticket, Infraction, and Criminal Defense Attorney

At The Law Offices of David M. Boertje, we understand the frustration of a seemingly unfair traffic citation. Traffic tickets are expensive, affect your insurance rates, soil your driving record, and disrupt your work day to go to court. Mr. Boertje will utilize his knowledge of California’s traffic laws in order to minimize your fines and citations. Whenever possible, Mr. Boertje will seek to have your moving and nonmoving violations dismissed. If you have received a traffic ticket or a failure to appear charge, contact attorney David Boertje today.