Ticket's in the mail: Red-light cameras questioned

Minutes after Neel Manglik illegally turned right on a red light in the Des Moines suburb of Clive, a video popped up on a computer at an office park outside Scottsdale, Ariz. Full Story
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Realist

Houston, TX

#1 Mar 15, 2009
$75 what a deal!
41st Ave. camera violations cost $441. AND NONE OF THAT GOES TO THE CITY??
Well, I can tell you that I no longer shop on 41st Ave. I drive to Watsonville instead.
Stick that in your camera.
Boulder Bob

Sunnyvale, CA

#2 Mar 15, 2009
Realist wrote:
41st Ave. camera violations cost $441.
If you don't want to fight the ticket, at least go to court and ask the judge to reduce the fine.

Since: Jan 09

Oakland, CA

#3 Mar 15, 2009
Bob, it's not that simple. You can fight the ticket, but you'll lose. You can ask for a reduction, but then you are NO LONGER eligible for traffic school. And, to get traffic school, you have to pay in full, immediately. What's more, is that if a red light ticket gets on your record, that's really bad news for insurance. Mine would have gone up 300 dollars, and stay that way for three years.

By the way, the insurance company tells me that CA no longer lets them overlook if you have one violation, they count them all now.

So I HAD to get that thing off my record. What's worse? Here's why I got the ticket. Turning right from 41st to Claires St., the light was red. The car in front of me turns, and the light flashes. I stop, then make my right turn... it flashes again.

I paid almost $500 for turning right on red, that is allowed. I tried to fight it, and they said "OK, so you didn't stop for 3 seconds then" which, shouldn't that be a different violation? Then we watched the video. I stop for 2 seconds. not 3.

I ask, can i take this to court? "Sure, but you'll probably lose and then you will no longer be eligible for traffic school" $300 per 6 month insurance term for 3 years? I HAD to get this off my record. SO, it came down to paying this WRONG ticket $500 or losing my chance to go to traffic school and pay $1800 in insurance. Which would you do?

I'd like to take it back to court now that it's safe, but I dont know if you can. I know that light dispenses WRONG tickets all the time. One of the cameras is OK, but the claires st. one is always going off for no reason, then I've WATCHED people plow through it with no flash?
santa cruz driver

Santa Cruz, CA

#4 Mar 15, 2009
I got a red light ticket on 41st ave. I was one tenth of a second over the limit line. I decided to fight it because I found that many cases have been dismissed in other parts of the state.
I read all the cases, subpoenaed the records from the police and from American Traffic Solutions, the company who contracts the cameras to Capitola.
Know what I learned? In our traffic commissioner's court, no one gets out.
No one gets dismissed. No one.$441 dollars is what you get to pay.
And the police say they are not making money on this. I'd be laughing if I weren't crying.
fdk

Watsonville, CA

#5 Mar 15, 2009
How does the company know who is driving. If my wife runs a light in the vehicle registered to me, do I get the ticket. Ive heard they compare photos of the driver to the DMV photo of the registered owner. What if my brother who looks alot like me is driving my vehicle.
Boulder Bob

Sunnyvale, CA

#6 Mar 15, 2009
In my experience, anyone can get a 50% reduction in the fine if they simply go to court and politely ask the judge for it before pleading guilty.

The idea about not getting traffic school if you go to court is a lie propagated by court clerks in most counties. No doubt they're instructed to say that to reduce paperwork. Once you're in court, the judge is God. If you lose politely and ask for traffic school, you may very well get it no matter what the clerks tell you (but of course every case is different).

My last ticket was over $400 for doing 65 in a 40. I had a defense, but the CHP didn't show up so the case was dismissed and I got my money back. Before that, I was cited for 40 in a 25 a few years ago and beat it by proving it was a speed trap.

Don't take any ticket lying down. Read the Vehicle Code section you were cited for violating and fight or at least ask politely for a lesser fine.
James Anderson Merritt

San Francisco, CA

#7 Mar 15, 2009
The cameras aren't about safety, and, as the fines for being 1/10th of a second beyond the limit demonstrate, they aren't about justice, either. It's about keeping the cattle in line and milking them for cash to the fullest extent possible.

Enough is enough. The government is supposed to work for us, not us for them. For the next several election cycles, we need to do the following:

1. Do not vote for incumbents.
2. Where you have a choice in a partisan race, do not vote for the incumbent's opponent from the other major party, either.
3. Wherever possible, vote for independent and third-party candidates who have expressed (ideally, through a track record of deeds) respect for the US Constitution and the people, under whose authority it is the law of the land.

A few election cycles of this disinfectant regimen can sweep our seats of government clean, and install office-holders who are closer to being true civil servants than the pack of parasites who apparently rule us today. Then, we must keep track of what the new guys are up to and encourage them to stay in line. Rather than have the government watching US and holding US to account in a game of "gotcha" where they have all the advantage, we need to turn the tables.

Since: May 08

Danville, CA

#10 Mar 15, 2009
By losing the right to go to traffic school just by requiring due process, doesn't that fly in the face of the basic concept innocent until proven guilty? I'm surprised they have never been called on it.
john doe

United States

#11 Mar 15, 2009
James Anderson Merritt wrote:
The cameras aren't about safety, and, as the fines for being 1/10th of a second beyond the limit demonstrate, they aren't about justice, either. It's about keeping the cattle in line and milking them for cash to the fullest extent possible.
Enough is enough. The government is supposed to work for us, not us for them.
To hell with the Constitution. How many times were we told that a police officer must actually see you committing a misdemeanor? They don't have to actually see you committing a felony (rape, robbery murder etc) and traffic offenses are no felony either.

A camera taking a picture doesn't qualify as a substitute; because a human being, would cite the driver minutes after they run a red light.

Electing another corrupt silly council isn't gonna end the abuse of your constitutional rights. It's better spend your time with a ballot measure to ban these cameras outright. Do you really wanna end the abuse of your rights? Santa Cruz potheads legalized marijuana at the ballot box. Get off of your fannies in Capitola...
My Turn

Ashburn, VA

#12 Mar 15, 2009
Capitola. I met Sgt Matt Eller in court when I took the ticket to court in 2006. I did not plan to win, but my goal was to remove any profit the city of Capitola was going to make, or at least minimize it, by having their rep show up and spend time in court (and at the same time, cumulatively about 7 other officers had to wait their turn).

The red light camera in Capitola is not even a 4-way intersection (the one in front of the Mall, entering what used to be Mervyn's). Opposite of the mall entrance is a driveway, so effectively there is NO CROSS TRAFFIC. I sat in the parking lot one evening and saw some 10 cars in about 30 minutes getting snagged for making the 2-3 MPH RIGHT HAND TURN on red light. What every person in every car in America does every day. It is technically illegal (so is spitting on the sidewalk), but this is pure stealing.

IT HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH SAFETY.

They did not ask Eller about how many of those red light tickets were "Straight through the intersection" vs "Right Turns". The "through the intersection" tickets are the only ones that you could consider a safety issue.

btw, this is not a bash against Eller. I found him to be very professional in court. However, the placement of the red light camera at that particular intersection has nothing to do with safety, and everything to do with $$$$$$$$$ for the city.(Maybe I should get into the red light business)(Well, at least the legal kind of 'red light' business)
My Turn

Ashburn, VA

#13 Mar 15, 2009
Oh yes, one more thing. Please do.. EVERYONE, if you get snagged, take it to court. Make them spend the extra time and expense of having someone show up in court. It certainly eats up at least an hour of the officers time, and the court clerks time, the judges, time, etc.
I was offered traffic school vs lower fine, so you can go there. In my particular case, I had stopped (as was clear in the video), what I had not thought about was, I did not stop BEFORE THE LIMIT LINE, which was brought up by Eller.
I also figured out how the camera works. If you approach the intersection quickly, it triggers the system to start. Even if you stop before the line and stay there for 5 seconds, it triggers based on approach speed.
Also, since I'm a kid at heart, I went back one night and caused it to trigger a few times, but making sure I stopped before the line, and stopped for a VERY LONG TIME. So that made someone have to audit the video a few times.

Also, one more thing you can do, if you really want to rebel. It is Capitola who is doing this (well, in our neck of the woods anyway).
How about no longer going to the mall or doing business to Capitola?

I'm all for traffic safety, and if this was a true safety issue I would not be ranting here. It is a 'legal' form of extortion.
Court

Ashburn, VA

#14 Mar 15, 2009
You can get a reduced fine in court, as long as it was not a blatant red light run.
Tahoe kid

Ashburn, VA

#15 Mar 15, 2009
I think Eller has his statistics wrong. I guarantee you Capitola makes a big chunk of change on that program.

(Why would all those other cities be cashing in and not Capitola?)
Steve Hartman

AOL

#16 Mar 15, 2009
Gee, what ever happened to being able to face your accuser? When a cop writes a ticket he shows up in court to testify against you. He can be questioned. So how do you cross-examine a computer picture?
Cameras may make life safer; but they also rob you of your freedom at the same time.
Boulder Bob

Sunnyvale, CA

#17 Mar 15, 2009
My Turn wrote:
I sat in the parking lot one evening and saw some 10 cars in about 30 minutes getting snagged for making the 2-3 MPH RIGHT HAND TURN on red light. What every person in every car in America does every day.
Nope, I never do that. You made a "Hollywood stop". I learned calculus before getting my driver's license and you cannot come to a full stop without feeling a jerk when your acceleration goes from something to nothing.

There is a safety issue because other drivers are expecting you to stop and if you don't, they may have to stop suddenly and then get rear-ended.
Rocket J Squirrel

Riverside, CA

#18 Mar 15, 2009
Steve Hartman wrote:
Gee, what ever happened to being able to face your accuser? When a cop writes a ticket he shows up in court to testify against you. He can be questioned. So how do you cross-examine a computer picture?
Cameras may make life safer; but they also rob you of your freedom at the same time.
That's exactly right. If you get a ticket in the mail, throw it away. You have not been properly served a notice to appear. They have to hunt you down and serve you a subpoena for a court appearance. It won't happen. It cost too much. You would be a chump just to cave in and send in your bail amount and have your insurance go up.
Blinded by the light

Santa Cruz, CA

#19 Mar 15, 2009
I keep getting blinded by the 41st and Clares Street camera. I think it's a traffic hazard and should be removed. Most the times I see the light go off (if I can see anything at all) I see someone going through the intersection after an appropriate stop.

If you want to get rid of the cameras, join me in complaining about the danger of the flash.
jesse

San Francisco, CA

#20 Mar 15, 2009
seems like everything is becoming under servellance,pretty soon itll be like nazi germany
internets I haz it

El Cerrito, CA

#21 Mar 16, 2009
where in the vehicle code does it say you must stop for 3 seconds when stopping before making a turn on red?
Jesse Dresbach wrote:
Bob, it's not that simple. You can fight the ticket, but you'll lose. You can ask for a reduction, but then you are NO LONGER eligible for traffic school. And, to get traffic school, you have to pay in full, immediately. What's more, is that if a red light ticket gets on your record, that's really bad news for insurance. Mine would have gone up 300 dollars, and stay that way for three years.
By the way, the insurance company tells me that CA no longer lets them overlook if you have one violation, they count them all now.
So I HAD to get that thing off my record. What's worse? Here's why I got the ticket. Turning right from 41st to Claires St., the light was red. The car in front of me turns, and the light flashes. I stop, then make my right turn... it flashes again.
I paid almost $500 for turning right on red, that is allowed. I tried to fight it, and they said "OK, so you didn't stop for 3 seconds then" which, shouldn't that be a different violation? Then we watched the video. I stop for 2 seconds. not 3.
I ask, can i take this to court? "Sure, but you'll probably lose and then you will no longer be eligible for traffic school" $300 per 6 month insurance term for 3 years? I HAD to get this off my record. SO, it came down to paying this WRONG ticket $500 or losing my chance to go to traffic school and pay $1800 in insurance. Which would you do?
I'd like to take it back to court now that it's safe, but I dont know if you can. I know that light dispenses WRONG tickets all the time. One of the cameras is OK, but the claires st. one is always going off for no reason, then I've WATCHED people plow through it with no flash?
Wade

Eastpointe, MI

#22 Mar 16, 2009
Well, its even more complicated then this, I received my ticket for failing to stop on my bicycle completely. Now that is on my driving record, granted in California its considered a moving vehicle, but really.......and I wont even complain about the speeding ticket I got in Capitola on my bicycle for doing 35 in a 25 going down the hill to the Esplanade.......*sigh*

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