Red Light Camera Tickets
The use of automated cameras to record, photograph and prosecute drivers running red lights has become popular in cities and counties throughout California. These red light cameras do not operate without a great deal of criticism and debate over whether they effectively deter red light runners and contribute to the public safety or whether they amount to nothing more than a cash cow for local municipalities in these cash starved times.
Most red light cameras programs, commonly referred to as ATES (Automatic Traffic Enforcement Systems) are actually maintained and operated by a company in Arizona, Redflex, an Australian Company, or ATS (American Traffic Solutions).
Red light cameras snap photos and record video of vehicles allegedly entering an intersection after the signal light has turned red. The Vehicle Code mandates several criteria in order for a red light camera to be properly and legally used. Among those criteria are proper warning signage, proper yellow light length and a requirement per Vehicle Code section 210 that a clear photo of the driver be obtained. In many cases the Law Office of John Stanko, Inc. and show that an automatic enforcement system did not operate properly under the law or that the photo of the driver is unclear and a dismissal will result.
As a skilled traffic ticket defense attorney with 16 years of experience I am able to present numerous defenses to all moving violations including red light camera citations. I can present several objections and arguments to try to keep the camera companies evidence out of court and get your red light camera violation dismissed.
In the last few years several cases have come down from the United States Supreme Court dealing with and upholding a defendant's right to confront his accusers. Those cases, Crawford v. Washington, 541 U.S. 36 (2004); Melendez-Diaz v. Massachusetts, 557 U.S. 305 (2009); and Bullcoming v. New Mexico, 564 U.S. ___ (2011) can all be used to present a defense in a red light camera case. For example, the cameras used are maintained and calibrated by the camera company and the prosecuting officer appearing in court will likely not have any personal knowledge of the company’s business practices and certainly did not maintain, inspect or calibrate the red light cameras. As such, the cop may not be able to lay a proper foundation for the admission of the pictures and camera company’s documents. Further, if the person who maintained the cameras is not present to testify then the defendant may be denied her right to confrontation.
Moreover, many of the documents that the police try to introduce in camera cases contain hearsay and may not be admissible for that reason.
In the San Francisco Bay Area red light cameras are currently used in San Francisco, Alameda, San Mateo , and Napa Counties.