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Defeating A Traffic Camera Ticket: Is It Even Possible? (Hint: Yes!)

A traffic ticket isn't just a hassle — it's a real problem. As expensive as a ticket may be on the surface, the cost gets even worse when you factor in the amount your insurance premiums are going to be raised over the next several years. In addition, the points you get on your driver's license can add up and put you in danger of a suspension very quickly.

Fighting a traffic citation when it's your word against a police officer's that you slid through a stop sign or ran a red light is one thing, but how do you fight a ticket that was issued because a red-light camera or speed camera snapped a photo of your car in violation of the law?

You don't just give up. Here are some strategies on how you can defeat a traffic camera ticket:

1. Fight the ticket based on lack of proper service.

The Rules of Civil Procedure in most jurisdictions do not consider service by ordinary mail to be official notice of the complaint against you. In some areas, you may be sent the ticket by registered mail, but there is no law saying that you have to accept the mail. Decline it without giving the postal delivery person your name, and talk to a traffic citation lawyer, like those at Tolbert & Tolbert, LLP, instead.

2. Fight the mechanics of the ticket system.

What kind of radar system was used? Is it reliable? What triggers the camera to go off? What type of computer software and system hooks everything together? Essentially, you and your attorney can look for flaws in the way the system is operated or maintained. While rules vary from jurisdiction to jurisdiction, there will be some kind of regulation about how often the equipment has to be calibrated or updated. There's a very good chance in most areas that the city department in charge of doing so is behind schedule on maintenance, which means that the ticket can't be validated.

3. Look at the reasonableness of your actions.

Most jurisdictions have some kind of wording in their traffic laws that state that vehicles have to be driven at a speed that is "reasonable and prudent" under a given circumstance. What were the circumstances the day you were caught on camera? Does the camera show the aggressive driver behind you who was right on your bumper? If you'd stopped when that traffic light turned yellow and hadn't gone through the intersection as it turned red, would you have been rear-ended for sure? Did you violate a traffic law by turning too wide or going left of center because a pedestrian or cyclist moved into your path? 

These are just three of the ways it's possible to challenge an automated ticket from a camera. Talk to a traffic violation lawyer today about your best strategy.