I have some questions regarding red light cameras, and I would like clarification on how the law reads on these issues from you good folks that are more in the know than I.
I recently received a ticket for my vehicle running a red light on Cooper and S.E. Green Oaks in Arlington, TX. In reviewing the video, I thought the yellow seemed a bit short, and the video even states that the yellow light duration is 4.1 seconds. I looked up TxDOT regulations on this, and TxDOT recommends the timing for a 45 MPH road should be minimally 4.3 seconds at that particular speed. Is there any case there for the City of Arlington ignoring TxDOT regulations regarding this?
I would also like to know what is considered a vehicle having entered the intersection? Is it the whole car, the rear wheels in, front wheels in, nose of car?
Also, there is no visible means of verifying who was driving. How can a ticket be issued to someone when there is no visible evidence that person was driving the vehicle? If someone were to borrow my car with my permission, get drunk and get pulled over, is that person not at fault? Or does it still fall to the owner of the vehicle? Whether or not I was driving should be irrelevant as the burden of proof should be on the state, correct?
My understanding is that this is a civil violation, not criminal. As such, they cannot issue a warrant, nor can it go against my driving record, nor can a collection agency use and uncollected debt against a FICO score. This all seems like the red light cameras are merely on the honor system on whether you pay them or not. Are there other penalties I am not aware of?
My understanding also is as a civil penalty, I cannot go before a judge to plead my case, just a police official at the Arlington PD. That in itself seems like a conflict of interest, as the Police Department is funding their DWI patrols with the money gained from red light cameras in Arlington. It seems the likelihood of fair-and-impartial is seriously hindered here.
What really bothers me here is that the camera, or the officer behind the camera, has no understanding of the unique situation and offers no chance for any reasonable discretion. Were it me driving, and my pregnant wife in the car, the need to not "lock them up" to stop at the intersection and cause a potentially worse problem cannot be adequately factored in to the officer's discretion. Something seems just so wrong about that.
Based on the information, what are my possible actions of recourse? Are their dismissal options I am unaware of? What can I expect if I attempt to challenge this? What would happen if I simply didn't pay?
Thanks for your time.
In houston, nothing used to happen if you dont pay since they are civil. Ymmv though.
I was doing some research and it appears as though Dallas and many satellite suburbs are attempting to tag non-payers under the Texas Scofflaw, so that your registration may be blocked from renewal for non-payment. I am currently unclear as to whether or not Arlington has made the necessary arrangements with the state to push scofflaw penalties through.
Check the timing on other lights in the area both with and without cameras in 45 zones.
Changing the length of the yellow allows the business to collect a few more dollars.
The standard in some states for "in the intersection" is the front wheels crossing the stop line. With that standard in mind, were you more than 0.2 seconds into the red light? How long was the light red before you entered the intersection?
Enjoy life- you only get one!!
Like I said, if you don't pay, they can refuse to allow you to renew your registration and send you a few threatening letters. I am unaware of any further repercussions.
In California, all photo are initially reviewed by the contractor. Any photos which indicate a violation occurred are forwarded to the local agency, where the photo evidence IS reviewed by a sworn police officer. If the officer determines a violation took place, he/she Oks the issuance of a citation.
In "my" city, the alleged violator has the option of reviewing the photo/video evidence, by coming into the station and meeting with the officer who Ok'd the cite. Most times, after seeing the evidence, the "violator" chose to not contest the citation. With the set up we were using, not only were photos.video taken of the car vs the limit line, but close-ups were taken of the driver for identification purposes. If the driver photo didn't match the owner, I'd dismiss the cite.
As far as extenuating circumstances... many times, they do exist. However, in Photo Enforcement cases, any discretion is left up to the judge. Oh, and BTW, cases in California are handled just as any other traffic citation is, they are not considered "civil" matters.
Well, after more research I'm just going to pay the fine. The way they have the system set up, I would have to speak with an officer first, then if he decided the fine was still warranted I could then appeal the ticket to an actual judge. Two days off work is way more lost money than the $75 fine.
Thank you all for the in depth advice, it helped me reaffirm what I had suspected would be the possible outcomes.
Green Manalishi pretty much covered all the bases here. I will add the cost or fine amount ($75) significantly cheaper with regards to "red light cameras," as opposed to a uniform officer witnessing the offense (traffic violation)! In my jurisdiction (Harris County, Texas). The cost for running a red light (traffic ticket) is: $155.00 plus court/clerk costs! The difference in cost is due to the fact that there is no "eye witness" ie (law enforcement officer) present to testify that you committed the offense.
FRI-392 (5.7 based), FRI-Extreme (5.7) Heads, FRI-ported 6.1 intake, Procharger SC (D1 head unit), FRI-custom blower cam, Protorque converter, JBA SRT 8 exhaust (w/ highflow cats), BT "bling-bling," and so much more...
I have a question too. Did you run the red light and are just trying to find a technicality out of it?
If you can solve your problem, then what is the need of worrying? If you cannot solve it, then what is the use of worrying?