Tricks To Avoid A Red Light Camera Ticket

Posted by Matthew Weiss on February 14, 2010  /   Posted in Traffic Tickets

With New York expanding the red light camera program, a new industry for beating the red light camera tickets has been created. Please note that covering or coating a license plate is illegal in New York. However, according to the New York Post, roughly 31% of New York red light camera tickets are un-readable, it is safe to assume that this product is being widely used by some motorists.

The good news is that a red light camera ticket does not carry points and involves only a $50 fine. Contrast this to a red light ticket issued by a police officer which carries 3 points and a $280 fine plus $80 surcharge for a first offense.

The video below is a new report discussing different ways to avoid a red light camera ticket:

109 Comments

  1. Fred Rooney March 25, 2014 9:06 am Reply

    I live out-of-state and was in Suffolk County last year. In November, I received 2 tickets for failing to stop at a red light before turning right. In the state where I live, you don’t have to make a full stop before turning right on red. Can I make an argument that since nothing is posted to advise drivers to make a full stop on red before turning right, I should be given a break, or do you think it would be a waste of time.

    Thanks for your help.

  2. Steven April 21, 2013 3:58 pm Reply

    I consider the Red Light Summons to be unconstitutional, as it presumes that the owner of the vehicle to be guilty first, who then must prove his innocence. It is the burden of the municipality to prove that the owner actually committed the violation. In the absence of a formal summons issued by a police officer, there is no proof that the owner was in fact driving the vehicle. The rules of evidence indicate that a violation was committed, however, there is no proof as to who the perpetrator was. The case should be dropped at that point.

  3. Leesa March 28, 2013 10:23 am Reply

    I received a speeding ticket from a police officer about a year ago. I just went to court for it two days ago, and was told by the judge that any more tickets or infractions on my behalf may result in my license being suspended. Unfortunately, my daughter was driving my car today, and made a u-turn in the middle of the street. There was a traffic light about her head, but she says that she can’t recall if it was red or not. My question is: if I received a ticket in the mail for running the light (IF it WAS red) or the turn, or any other traffic violation, will my license be suspended? Or does that only hold true for tickets issued by police officers?

    P.S. I also received a ticket in the mail for failing to make a complete stop at a red light before making a right turn about a year ago also… even though I DID stop. But that ticket, I just went down and paid. I never saw a judge for that infraction, but the judge did make mention of it when I went to court two days ago.

    • Matthew Weiss March 28, 2013 8:22 pm Reply

      Leesa,

      Your license will NOT be suspended for a ticket issued to your daughter.

      Matthew Weiss

      • Leesa March 28, 2013 9:20 pm Reply

        Well, my daughter didn’t actually RECEIVE a ticket form a police office or in the mail yet. I’m just worried as to if I DO get a ticket in the mail, if my license will be suspended. I read somewhere that in NY state that whoever the car is registered to is responsible for the ticket. In which case I’m worried that if I AM held responsible that the courts will get wind that I got another ticket, that my license will be suspended. I guess I’m a little paranoid lol! Or do I just go down, pay the fine, and be done with it. Also, how would they know that my daughter was driving the car as opposed to me?

        • Matthew Weiss March 28, 2013 10:24 pm Reply

          Leesa,

          I doubt that you’ll even get a ticket in the mail. If you do, you can contest arguing, among other things, that you were not the driver. You cannot be held responsible unless the prosecutor can prove that you were the driver.

          Matthew Weiss

          • Steven April 21, 2013 4:01 pm

            Wouldn’t that same logic apply to a Red Light Summons? Doesn’t the municipality have to prove that the owner was the driver?

          • Matthew Weiss April 21, 2013 5:04 pm

            Steven,

            Because a red light camera conviction does not impact a person’s driver’s license, there is no requirement of prove the driver. Like a parking ticket, the owner is responsible for such violations.

            Matthew Weiss

  4. Amber March 18, 2013 11:30 am Reply

    Matthew,
    I received a speeding ticket in which two intersections turn yellow at the same time (lights are not phased). The camera focuses on the latter intersection. A driver will either get a speeding ticket, a red-light running ticket, or will run a high risk of getting rear ended by slamming on brakes at the first intersection. I prepared to contest in court to bring awarenes to the poor engineering (not necessarily to get out of paying) when I realized the hearing date was scheduled on a city holiday. I called the number on the ticket (vendor) which referred me to the city which then referred me to another number which then referred me back to the original number I called. I sent a request to reschedule to the email address on the ticket. The vendor responded by apologizing for the error and saying they would check with the city. On the date of the originally scheduled hearing, the city holiday (Lundi Gras, by the way), I paid the ticket since the ticket stated if no payment or contest was made by Feb 11, I risked impoundment. On Feb 18, I received a response from the vendor (after my follow up) stating since I paid the ticket, no hearing or appeal could be scheduled. I feel I have been denied a hearing which the city has added to the ordinances I am entitled to. What to do now? (Again, this is not about getting out of my ticket, it’s about the lack of integrity of this “safety program”.) Thanks for your insight.

    PS The ticket says my vehicle was going 45 in a 35. It is my understanding that in New Orleans, traffic cameras begin issuing tickets at 10mph over the speed limit. (This may have changed recently however.)
    The first intersection is not visible in any of the frames. What is visible are the illumination of the yellow traffic lights and the application of my SUV’s brake lights. My interpretation of the frames is that the driver was caught in the dilemma zone and felt the safer choice was to temporarily speed up to make it through both intersections and then slow back to 35mph as opposed to slamming on brakes, risking a collision. Google maps shows the distance between the two intersections as being 170 feet.

    • Matthew Weiss March 18, 2013 12:12 pm Reply

      Amber,

      I am not licensed to practice law in New Orleans and do not know how the speed camera system works there. In fact, New York doesn’t even have speed cameras (yet). I therefore cannot be of any help but wish you the best in resolving this matter successfully.

      Matthew Weiss

  5. Michael March 15, 2013 8:04 pm Reply

    I received a red light citation in the mail for allegedly making a right on red without stop. I am usually very good about coming to a full stop, while I have no recollection of this particular incident I have no reason to believe that I did not come to a full stop. Upon viewing the video, I question whether it is a fair and accurate depiction of the event. In the video, the red light is not steady but pulsating. The same is true for another red light across the intersection but in the field of view and the movement of the vehicles in the video. Accordingly I question the accuracy of the video feed. Have you ever seen this before and is it worth going to a hearing?

    • Matthew Weiss March 15, 2013 9:04 pm Reply

      Michael,

      I’ve never seen one of these at a “pulsating light”. Perhaps, the pulsating is due how the video is shown. I would bet that it doesn’t pulsate when you view the original at your trial.

      Good luck, however,

      Matthew Weiss

      • Michael March 16, 2013 5:41 pm Reply

        Hi Matt, In “real life” the light is not a pulsating one. It is a regular steady red. That’s why I am questioning the accuracy of the video feed because not only is my light pulsating but others in the field of view. Would just showing that the video can not be an accurate depiction be enough to have it thrown out?

        • Matthew Weiss March 16, 2013 8:46 pm Reply

          Michael,

          I see. I haven’t seen the video but, from what you describe, you may have something here. If the video doesn’t fully show the offense, you should win.

          Good luck!

          Matthew Weiss

  6. Roger December 7, 2012 8:02 am Reply

    I received a ticket in the mail for making a right on red without a full stop. Difference is, I have official plates and may just have been on my way to an emergency that I can’t prove. Would it be worth going to court and pleading for professional courtesy with a clerk?

    • Matthew Weiss December 7, 2012 8:45 am Reply

      Roger,

      In my opinion, your “professional courtesy” plea will not do anything. The prosecutor will enforce the law and not give a break for such a thing.

      Matthew Weiss

  7. Brad Cansler November 10, 2012 10:14 am Reply

    I was wondering what happens if you set up a company or LLC through which you purchase the car? The car is then registered in the name of the company instead of an individual. How does that affect the ticket process or the challenge in court? (if at all)

    • Matthew Weiss November 11, 2012 3:50 am Reply

      Brad,

      Tickets are issued to the driver under this license number. The registrant is irrelevant for most tickets. Two exceptions are violations for no insurance and suspended registration.

      Matthew Weiss

  8. Robert October 18, 2012 4:57 pm Reply

    My red light camera ticket clearly shows that the nose of my car was in the cross walk when the light turned red. So, I continued.
    Exactly where is the point where I am in violation (or not)?

    If you feel that I have “entered the intersection,” can I fight this via the mail response or do I need to go to court to really get a fair response?

  9. mike September 27, 2012 8:17 pm Reply

    Matthew,

    How can it be legal for NYS or any state to have an unpaid red light ticket put on your credit report especially if you weren’t the driver? Isn’t that extortion? In regard to it being illegal to coat your license plate in NYS…You know what I say to NYS about that? If they can violate every American’s Constitutional rights with their red light cameras, i wouldn’t think twice about coating my license plate. I don’t run red lights but it burns me up when I hear that somebody got a ticket when making a right on red because they didn’t stop for 3 seconds.

    • Matthew Weiss September 27, 2012 11:39 pm Reply

      Mike,

      The owner is liable to pay such tickets. Therefore, non-payment of such a ticket can be used to impair the owner’s credit rating.

      Coating a license plate in NY is illegal.

      Matthew Weiss

  10. wayne September 2, 2012 5:11 pm Reply

    I found out i got a red light traffic ticket from the nyc system and currently i m living nyc, but i have never receive the ticket by mail.(btw i have missouri plate and michigan license.) so i just ignored it and now i ceck it agian,the ticket went up to $75 and it showed “in judgement”. so what happen if i dont pay it?

  11. RJP August 19, 2012 7:21 pm Reply

    Here in Maryland I fought a camera ticket with the sixth Amendment argument and won!! I got the actual officer on the stand and MADE him admit that the evidence was hearsay. I received the ticket (actually my wife was in my car) for a Sunday night. I asked if the officer was working that night to veiw the allegation directly. He said ,”No.” I asked how he came to view the “alleged” infraction. He said it was forwarded to him. I asked who had forwarded it to him and he refused to answer. So I said, “Did a Technician from ACS (part of a private/ public partnership. ) forward you the e-mail?” He said “Yes.” ( He only said ‘Yes’ after I showed him the public information documents I received.) “So officer Tribbett, was your knowledge of this alledged event communicated through a second or perhaps even third party?” He screwed himself already. Are you “certifying and attesting” to information communicated to you out of court officer Tribbett? I asked around that same theme for a few minutes and watched him squirm. Bear in mind that he had already attested that he had view and certified the alledged incident. All he certified to in the end was that the machine was in working order. I also brought in “proof” that the driver could not have been going 58 in a 40 zone. In Maryland “Work Zone” speed limits are always 50MPH. Tickets are $40 with no points. Several other people in my office have used the same argument with the same public information documents and won. Perhaps Maryland courts recognize or interpret the sixth amendment a different way. Go figure. Totally worth it to watch the bastard squirm and to see the judge come to his defense. Matthew, I would love your opinion please.

    • Matthew Weiss August 20, 2012 8:40 am Reply

      RJP,

      Congratulations!! I always enjoy hearing successful stories from motorists who enforce their rights. I haven’t heard any incidents where this argument hasn’t been successful in New york (yet). In fact, in New York City, hearsay evidence is admissible at the Traffic Violations Bureau. Yes, that’s right hearsay is admissible in this administrative court.

      Thanks for sharing your story.

      Matthew Weiss

  12. Jordan August 7, 2012 10:39 am Reply

    I recently received a red light notice with three photos. The first was a close up of my License Plate, the second was a rear view photo which does show a red light, however it is not clear as to whether or not the front of my vehicle was already over the stop line or not and the third photo clearly shows that I passed through the intersection. Ironically I had just attended a safe driving course and the instructor stated that you can contest a red light photo if there is no “Front View” photo evidencing your vehicles position relative to the stop line. Is this true and should I contest the ticket by mail?

    • Matthew Weiss August 7, 2012 11:38 am Reply

      Jordan,

      Feel free to contest the ticket but I doubt that you will beat it. At your hearing, the judge can pull out a video which likely will show you diosbeying the light.

      With that said, you have nothing to lose (other than your time) by fighting it.

      Good luck!

      Matthew Weiss

  13. Sheryl J May 21, 2012 9:06 pm Reply

    I got a summons in Queens, NY for going through a red light. When i started to make the left turn, the light was on amber. But the time i turn completely, the light turned red. What are my chances of beating this ticket? This is my first offence.

    • Matthew Weiss May 22, 2012 4:16 pm Reply

      Sheryl,

      It is impossible to predict your chances for success. In Queens, there is no plea bargaining in traffic court. it is “all or nothing”. With that said, you have nothing to lose by fighting it (i.e., the points and fine remain the same if you plead guilty, or fight it and lose).

      BTW, a disobey red light ticket carries 3 points and, for a first offense, a $250 fine.

      Matthew Weiss

  14. Joe G May 20, 2012 1:03 pm Reply

    I appreciate the level-headed advice. I’m a lawyer for NYS who got a $50 no-point Notice of Violation after just passing through the City on my way back to Albany from LI. My gut reaction was that the City had no authority to adopt this purported local law in the first place, and my emotions told me to fight the injustice. But after reading your responses to these posts, and “hearing” your calm voice of experience, I accept that contesting the charge would be futile and would bring me far more than $50 worth of aggravation. Thank you for saving me untold hours of grief.

  15. Mark May 4, 2012 3:19 pm Reply

    I have about 6 unpaid red light tickets I believe all in Nassau & 1 in Suffolk.
    I have 4 others that drive the vehicles who are all registered to me. I know since they are all registered to me, it’s my liability. Do you think I can plea bargin the amount owed do to my circumstances of multiple people driving my vehicles? (Everybody says “It wasn’t me”)… as I thought they would say…lol.

    Thanks for your help in advance, Mark.

    • Matthew Weiss May 4, 2012 5:38 pm Reply

      Mark,

      If you (or your NY traffic ticket lawyer) appears in the Nassau County Traffic Court, you may be able to negotiate a reduction that saves you points and fine money.

      There is likely nothing that you can do about reducing the Suffolk County fine. That court has a different system which makes it near impossible to do anything after you have a default judgment entered against you.

      Matthew Weiss

Post a Comment

Your email address will not be published.

  • How Many Points Is My Ticket?

  • Testimonials

    Extremely knowledgeable and took their time to make sure I understood everything I would like to personally thank you for handling my Traffic Ticket. It has been a pleasure working with you. Your Team is a pleasure to speak to. Giselle and Jennifer are fantastic. When I called to ask them a question, they were extremely knowledgeable and took their time to make sure I understood everything. Aaron F (Florida)Aaron F.
  • How Clean Is My License?

  • Free Tips to Beat a Traffic Ticket

    Enter Your E-mail To Get Our Free Tip Sheet!

    Enter code below: captcha

  • Contact Information

    440 Park Ave So, 3rd Floor
    New York, NY 10016
    212-683-7373
    Monday-Friday 9am-5pm