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Tricks To Avoid A Red Light Camera Ticket

About the Author

Matthew Weiss

Matthew J. Weiss, Esq. graduated Hofstra Law School in 1984. He was Law Review and won the law school’s prestigious Procedure Award. Upon graduation, he became one of the first Hofstra Law School graduates to work at the New York State Court of Appeals (New York State’s highest court) working on various appellate matters.

Comments (139)

Rodney - August 9, 2016 12:50 pm

Hello. I am moving out of New York within the next couple of months and my wife received a couple of red light tickets recently. I had intended to contest them, but the court date is set for after I leave the state. My question to you is: What does NYS actually do if red light camera tickets are not paid? Furthermore, what can NYS do to an out-of-state driver for failure to pay these fines? I really have no interest in compensating Xerox $30 for each ticket they issue so any way I can avoid paying these ludicrous fines is preferable to me.
Thank you.

    Matthew Weiss - August 10, 2016 12:21 am


    Answers below in bold:

    What does NYS actually do if red light camera tickets are not paid? They find you guilty by default and impose extra fees. They can also impair your credit rating and possibly affect your right to drive.

    Furthermore, what can NYS do to an out-of-state driver for failure to pay these fines? See above.

    Therefore, I have to recommend that you pay them.

    Matthew Weiss

john mack - July 19, 2016 10:08 pm

In some states, Florida is one, where the appeals court ruled camera tickets, sent out by a third party company, was thrown out, because it wasn’t examined and sent out by police. Ohio courts have thrown out camera tickets as well.. Plus how about some common sense: A “defendant” has the right to face his accuser in a court of law, and has the right to cross examine his accuser. Whether a cop saw the photo or not, Number 1: The cop wasn’t there, at the scene, and being a witness to the picture doesn’t cut it. Number 2: You can not cross examine the camera. A camera is a piece of electronic equipment and as such, may not function correctly. BUT YOU MUST UNDERSTAND, THIS IS NOT ABOUT THE INTEREST OF JUSTICE, OR ABOUT SAFETY AT ALL. IT’S ABOUT A CLEVER NEW WAY TO RAPE THE LITTLE PEOPLE, INTO MORE CASH DONATIONS, TO MUNICIPALITIES AND THE COMPANY THAT MADE THE CAMERA—-THEY GET A PIECE OF THE ACTION TOO. The “defendant” is denied the right to cross examine the accuser—the camera. No due process means no jurisdiction. No jurisdiction, and the janitor or the mail man, may as well prosecute the case. Which means NO right what-so-ever.

    Matthew Weiss - July 20, 2016 8:16 am

    John Mack,

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts about red light cameras. Having spoken to 100s of motorists about, I know that you are not alone in your feelings.

    Matthew Weiss

Mike - July 9, 2016 1:57 pm

Can you avoid paying a red light camera ticket based on the fact that the camera cannot ID you as the driver?

    Matthew Weiss - July 9, 2016 7:49 pm


    No, you cannot avoid a red light camera ticket based on the fact that the camera cannot ID you as the driver. The ticket is issued to the registered owner of the vehicle and, like a parking ticket, the owner is responsible for it (regardless of who was driving).

    Matthew Weiss

Jay - June 3, 2016 3:28 pm

Hey Matthew,

Is there a valid defense for photos in absence of video? I read 1111-b and it seems 2 cameras meet the requirement, but obviously doesn’t allow for a full understanding of the event. To wit, there is a police officer waving us through (not visible on camera) so many must have been issued citations. What do we do?

    Matthew Weiss - June 5, 2016 12:06 am


    Unless you have a way to prove that the police officer waved you through, I doubt that you can beat this red light camera ticket.

    Matthew Weiss

Artie - May 31, 2016 4:11 pm

I am told the tickets that are being sent by Suffolk county are not being sent by certified mail. With that said, how can the county prove that I received the fine? And if they can’t prove I received the fine, how can they enforce failure to pay increase penalties and license suspension? Sounds like I’m guilty till proven innocent.

    Matthew Weiss - June 1, 2016 4:31 pm


    I assume you mean by “receive the fine” that you are referring to receiving a bill for the fine. If so, first class mailing of the fine amount to your address on file with DMV is deemed adequate.

    Matthew Weiss

Chuck - April 26, 2016 7:23 pm

I have a question. This is for NYC. I’m to understand that the yellow light is timed. What is the time for the yellow light based on? Is there a set standard? Is it based on the old NYC 30 mph, or the new NYC 25 mph? Is seems to me that yellow light timing has stayed the same, yet as I drive the new speed limit I am more likely to get a ticket going through a light. To me it seems they found a great way to be able to catch people running a red light, by lowering the speed limit.

    Matthew Weiss - April 27, 2016 12:10 am


    First, the new, lowered 25 mph does not make it more limey to get a red light ticket. Second, the average yellow light should be 3 seconds.

    Matthew Weiss

Ariel - April 8, 2016 9:55 pm


My mother was driving my car in 2014 and was caught by one of those Red Light Cameras in Suffolk County. The following year I received one myself. I paid the one I received and forgot to pay the other ticket as I pled not guilty to kill time to come up with the money. Life happened, and on March 14th, I received a Judgment for failure to pay. I paid right away but now I have a judgment against me, I am planning on applying to law school and I hate the fact that my name is listed in Suffolk County no less for an $80 Judgment for something so ridiculous. Is there anything I can do to get that removed?

    Matthew Weiss - April 9, 2016 12:17 am


    You can pay whatever is still owed, if anything, and then have a Satisfaction of Judgment filed.

    Matthew Weiss

Mike C - March 18, 2016 10:05 am

Matthew, thank you for your reply. That’s what I figured but I am outraged by the fact that neither the Nassau County Police nor the company that owns and views the cameras ever viewed the photographs or video before issuing the ticket. Again, clear as day, my car is fully stopped at the light. The only two options I’m being given is pay the fine, or lose a days wages and pay a fee for a court hearing. That being said… my final question to you in all seriousness is can I bring a copy of my paycheck to the hearing and request from the judge that in addition to the ticket being dismissed that

1) I be reimbursed for a day’s lost wages (for having to go to court) due to failure by the Nassau County police department to review the evidence before issuing the ticket?


2) Any court fees I am required to pay either be dismissed as well or that “my accuser” be ordered to pay them?

    Matthew Weiss - March 18, 2016 10:53 pm

    Mike C,

    The judge at the Nassau County Traffic Violations & Parking Agency will NEVER award you lost wages for your time fighting your case. Nor will he or she waive court fees or order your “accuser” to pay them.

    Matthew Weiss

Mike C - March 17, 2016 11:38 am

I received a ticket out of the blue for running a red light in Nassau County. However, I went online to view the images and video of the supposed violation and all images and video CLEARLY show my car is stopped at the red light behind the white line with my break lights on. I do not cross the intersection. My car isn’t even moving! Clearly, no authorities viewed the images & video and this ticket was issued to me in error. The problem though, is that there does not appear to be any way to dispute the ticket other then going to court? Do I really have to take time off from work to sit in a court room when this ticket is plain as day a mistake? Is there any way to have my ticket reviewed without having to go to court?

    Matthew Weiss - March 17, 2016 2:28 pm

    Mike C,

    Yes, sadly, the only way to dispute this ticket is by going to court. Sorry.

    Matthew Weiss

Bobbie - March 14, 2016 6:36 pm

I think I may have gotten a red light ticket today. I made a right on red. The light had just turned red and because of the rain I could not come to a complete stop. My car started to fishtail so I post and rolled through to avoid an accident. Should I try to fight this?

    Matthew Weiss - March 16, 2016 11:40 pm


    I doubt that you can beat such a ticket (it is issued). You need to slow down in the rain to keep safely control over your vehicle.

    Matthew Weiss

Sunny - March 8, 2016 11:27 am

Congratulations Suffolk County! You just helped me decide to NOT move to Suffolk county, as I was planning to do. This traffic camera thing is insane. It is purely a money making scam. It is also dangerous. The insurance companies, brake shops and autobody shops must love it.

    Matthew Weiss - March 8, 2016 4:37 pm


    Thanks for sharing your thoughts. You are not alone about this issue.

    Matthew Weiss

david - January 26, 2016 3:51 pm

I received a red light violation in the mail today.
the vehicle in the photos isn’t mine, and when I dug a little deeper,
the plate is a maine HANDICAP plate, 65468 on a late model blue subaru
I briefly had maine ANTIQUE plate 65-468 on a black 78 dodge van

they have the wrong vehicle and person completely.
I have filed a complaint, but am curious what they can do to me if I don’t pay the fine at all.

    Matthew Weiss - January 26, 2016 4:00 pm


    It sounds like you are not guilty. They cannot do anything to do you unless you are found guilty. If so, you will be fined.

    Good luck! I hope you win.

    Matthew Weiss

MAC - September 8, 2015 8:04 pm

Received a letter from my car rental company saying that I got a speeding ticket in DC. Letter went on to say that they paid the ticket and I owe them. What happened to my right to have a hearing??? They plan on charging my charge car in 14 days. DC website says that once a ticket is paid it cannot be contested. I filed an appeal with the rental company. Waiting to hear what they have to say. Any suggestions???

    Matthew Weiss - September 11, 2015 1:17 am


    Read your lease agreement with the rental car company. I’m sure that it states that you are required to reimburse it in such circumstances (but of course check).

    Matthew Weiss

Tish - April 22, 2015 12:53 pm

Hi I live in Staten Island NY , I just received a speeding ticket from a camera. And I know that I wasn’t speeding because I always put on my cruise control on those side streets because of that. Can I fight this easily?

    Matthew Weiss - April 22, 2015 8:44 pm


    This ticket is near-impossible to beat. I wouldn’t waste time trying but that’s your decision.

    Matthew Weiss

Joe Barile - April 21, 2015 3:14 pm

I got red light (did not come to a complete stop) right on red tickett – I live in NJ – If I do not pay tickett can they suspend my license?

    Matthew Weiss - April 21, 2015 3:17 pm

    Joe Barile,

    If you don’t pay, then it is possible that you get suspended, penalties imposed and/or your credit impaired. My advice is to answer or pay the ticket in some fashion.

    Matthew Weiss

Fred Rooney - March 25, 2014 9:06 am

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.

    Matthew Weiss - March 25, 2014 2:42 pm

    Fred Rooney,

    Unfortunately, ignorance of the NY law is not a defense.

    Matthew Weiss

Steven - April 21, 2013 3:58 pm

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.

Leesa - March 28, 2013 10:23 am

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


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

    Matthew Weiss

      Leesa - March 28, 2013 9:20 pm

      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


        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


          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

Amber - March 18, 2013 11:30 am

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


    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

Michael - March 15, 2013 8:04 pm

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


    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

      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


        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

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