Aren’t these cameras illegal?

by jeremy on April 4, 2012

This is probably the most frequently asked question I get. You’ve probably heard about all the recent court decisions throwing out tickets and many cities in southern California scrapping their red light camera programs. However, the short answer to this questions is no. Red light cameras throughout the country have survived many attacks based on privacy rights, foundation, hearsay, and confrontation issues.

However, there is a major silver lining for alleged violators. Because the evidence of the violation is based upon photos and videos, and no person can come to court and testify that they witnessed you running a red light, there are a host of challenges that can be brought to challenge the admissibility of the evidence. Further, there is a laundry list of statutory requirements under the vehicle code to which the camera system must comply for the system to be legal. These include minimum yellow light durations, visible warning signs, public notice, warning tickets, and several other provisions.

The net result is that these tickets are very difficult – and expensive – to prosecute. Many cities, due to the numerous successful legal challenges to the tickets, have decided to scrap their programs because they are losing money. Most notably in southern California, the city of Los Angeles (but not the county) pulled the plug on its program in summer of 2011. Several other cities have followed suit, and more are sure to come. However, the tickets are NOT illegal and you cannot just ignore the ticket.

Did you get a ticket in one of these cities? Click a city Badge for more information

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