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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
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    1

    Default How to Get a Fine Reduction for a Red Light Photo Ticket

    My question involves a traffic ticket from the state of: California

    Hello, in early May I received a Red Light Photo enforcement ticket for code violation 21453(a) (Failure to stop a red light). The short story is that I did not come to a complete stop when making a right turn when the traffic signal was red. In my courtesy notice was enclosed 4 photos which included a picture of my face, picture of my licenses, and two pictures of my car at the intersection. Also, I received a web link to a website where I can watch streaming video of my violation (yes, I did not make a complete stop..It looks like I slowed down to about 5 MPH and made the turn....guilty as charged.) This looks like a open and closed case and I was ready to pay the fine but I almost fainted when I find out the fine is $446. With traffic school, I'm probably looking to at least $550 of out of pocket costs.

    The advice I'm seeking: Is there a way I can ask for a fine reduction? I was planning to goto court to talk to the judge but then I read about Trial by Declaration (TBD). From what I'm reading about TBD, you may not get traffic school and I'm not arguing whether or not i'm guility...(I know I'm guility), I just want to see if I can get the fine reduced b/c $446 is outragous.

    Any ideas? Should I goto court or use TBD? What should I say to the court or in the TBD to get a fine reduction and traffic school?

    Other information: I have no accidents and my last moving violation was in year 2005. There were no peds in the crosswalk and the cross traffic was making a protected left turn (and those lanes do not allow U-turns so I would of not come close to hitting a car).

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Location
    LA LA Land
    Posts
    9,175

    Default Re: Ask for Fine Reduction for Red Light Photo Ticket

    Quote Quoting clay766
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    Hello, in early May I received a Red Light Photo enforcement ticket for code violation 21453(a) (Failure to stop a red light).
    What was the date of the violation... And what date was the notice to appear issued?

    Quote Quoting clay766
    View Post
    The advice I'm seeking: Is there a way I can ask for a fine reduction? I was planning to goto court to talk to the judge but then I read about Trial by Declaration (TBD). From what I'm reading about TBD, you may not get traffic school and I'm not arguing whether or not i'm guility...(I know I'm guility), I just want to see if I can get the fine reduced b/c $446 is outragous.
    California Vehicle Code Section 42001.15. Every person convicted of an infraction for a violation of subdivision (a) or (c) of Section 21453, subdivision (c) of Section 21454, or subdivision (a) of Section 21457 shall be punished by a fine of one hundred dollars ($100).


    "Shall" means MUST... That makes the $100 BASE fine a statutory fine... and after adding in all the other statutory penalties and assessments, it comes out to $446. So, theoretically, judges do not have any discretion in reducing it, however, I have seen and heard of cases where it was reduced.

    Quote Quoting clay766
    View Post
    Any ideas? Should I goto court or use TBD? What should I say to the court or in the TBD to get a fine reduction and traffic school?
    Personally, I feel that you may reap the benefit of a fine reduction by requesting it at your arraignment (your first court appearance when you enter your plea). By doing a TBD to simply ask for a fine reduction, you are wasting more of the court's time and the officer's time which may work to diminish your chances of getting it reduced.

    Quote Quoting clay766
    View Post
    Other information: I have no accidents and my last moving violation was in year 2005. There were no peds in the crosswalk and the cross traffic was making a protected left turn (and those lanes do not allow U-turns so I would of not come close to hitting a car).
    None of that is legally relevant. As you stated, you were obviously in violation... Plus, we ALL start with a clean driving record with no tickets or accidents. And frankly, driving for 5 years with no incidents in no great feat... I drove for 16 years before receiving my first citation... That had no effect whatsoever on the outcome!

    Good luck!

  3. #3

    Default Re: Ask for Fine Reduction for Red Light Photo Ticket

    I agree with ThatGuy, you're more likely to get a fine reduction by going to court and pleading guilty. Your infraction seems nearly the same as mine, a right-on-red with a rolling "stop" while traffic was making a protected left (therefore no conflicting traffic) and no pedestrians. My judge gave me $100 off without my even having to ask. If I had to say something to request leniency (which I didn't), I'd say that my ticket was for a right-on-red, not a straight-through violation, and that there was no possibility of conflict with traffic or pedestrians.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Posts
    1,628

    Default Re: Ask for Fine Reduction for Red Light Photo Ticket

    I would try to get it reduced to ZERO by pleading not guilty and winning my case. There is LOTS of great info out there about beating photo red light tickets. You have to understand that before the state can charge you with an infraction successfully, they themselves must comply with the law... which they frequently don't. You should try looking at helpigotaticket.com and highwayrobbery.net. Get some ideas from those sites and then come back here with specific questions.

  5. #5

    Default Re: Ask for Fine Reduction for Red Light Photo Ticket

    I've read most of the material on those sites. highwayrobbery is especially good - what I learned about these money-machines makes my blood boil. Still, even after all that reading, the video showed me clearly guilty of rolling the red, I wasn't just a little late to the yellow, I didn't fully stop at the wrong place, there just wasn't any defense. Since I was guilty, that's what I told the judge. Lesson learned.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Posts
    2

    Default Re: Ask for Fine Reduction for Red Light Photo Ticket

    i recieved letter of 467 $ wth same fault. Did you the total fine or did Judge reduce it?

  7. #7

    Default Re: Ask for Fine Reduction for Red Light Photo Ticket

    Quote Quoting amits2
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    i recieved letter of 467 $ wth same fault. Did you the total fine or did Judge reduce it?
    The judge took $100 off the total fine. I ended up paying $403 including the court fees for traffic school, plus $20 for the on-line school itself. Judges aren't required to give you a break. I think this judge does this for first-offenders on rolling rights. A grand jury at the same court offered the opinion that the $446 fine seems out of line for the rolling right violation. A local assemblyman (Jerry Hill) is also pressing to get the fine reduced for a rolling right. By comparison the fine for rolling a stop sign, or speeding up to 20mph over the limit, is $214. There is a sense in the community that perhaps the punishment doesn't fit the crime, and I'm sure the judge is aware of all of that.

    The fine, outrageous IMO, is high in large measure because photo enforcement needed a high fine to operate at a profit. It was jacked up from $124 in 1997 to $271 in 1998, and has been raised a few times since then. Even with the high fine and short yellow lights there aren't enough people blowing straight through reds to make the cameras profitable, so they aggressively ticket the relatively benign rolling right infraction to pay the bills. As many as 80-90% of the red-light "runners" are actually people making sloppy rights. Naturally the camera companies show you only videos of people flagrantly running straight through, seconds after the red. The cameras can't (and didn't!) stop those violations - people who apparently didn't see the light due to distraction or impairment. The companies don't show you the overwhelming majority of violations that were safe but sloppy right-on-reds. I'll get off my soapbox now.

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