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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Posts
    6

    Default Red-Light Camera Ticket, NJSA 39:4-81c

    My question involves a traffic ticket from the state of: New Jersey

    I received a 'red light camera' violation, which the violation notice and my court summons states is for statute 39:4-81c. I was not the driver of the vehicle, and the driver cannot be identified from the video/photo evidence.

    When I appeared in court, the prosecutor informed me that the law allows the owner of the vehicle, not just the operator, to be charged.

    I looked up 39:4-81c, and there isn't even a section 'c'. From the official NJ statutes page at http://lis.njleg.state.nj.us , the listing for 39:4-81 states:

    39:4-81 Traffic signals, observance; rule at nonoperational signals.
    39:4-81. a. The driver of every vehicle, the motorman of every street car and every pedestrian shall obey the instructions of any official traffic control device applicable thereto, placed in accordance with the provisions of this chapter, unless otherwise directed by a traffic or police officer.

    b.When, by reason of a power failure or other malfunction, a traffic control signal at an intersection is not illuminated, the driver of a vehicle or street car shall, with respect to that intersection, observe the requirement for a stop intersection, as provided in R.S.39:4-144.

    Amended 1951, c.23, s.40; 2004, c.92.
    There is no subsection 'c', and the text of the law mentions only the driver of the vehicle.

    Is this correct? If so, how can I contest this ticket, based on this information?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
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    Default Re: Red-Light Camera Ticket, NJSA 39:4-81c

    I can't see the document from here, so I'm not going to guess as to whether you're looking at a "c" or some type of printing or copying error that makes an "a" look like a "c". If you believe you're charged under a statute that doesn't exist, you're free to raise that as a defense to the charge.

    If you want to raise the defense that you weren't driving, you're free to do that as well. In many jurisdictions you can do that by affidavit; instructions as to what you may do were probably provided with the ticket.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Posts
    6

    Default Re: Red-Light Camera Ticket, NJSA 39:4-81c

    Following up on this issue:

    The "c" in 39:4-81c was indeed a "c" and not a misprinted or misread "a" or any other letter.

    I looked for 39:4-81c in three sources: the official NJ legislature website listing of NJSA, the most recent hardcopy of NJSA at the local law library, and on LexisNexis. Each source was identical to each other, and none contained subsection "c".

    I appeared in court and asked the prosecutor if he could locate the statute for me and provide me with a copy. He denied, replying that it was my responsibility to be familiar with the law.

    So we went in front of the judge, and I raised the same issue. The judge wasn't able the find the section "c" either, and asked both the prosecutor and police officer-witness for an explanation. The officer suggested that the subsection "c" was an internal administrative placeholder.

    The judge further informed that although 39:4-81 states that the operator of a vehicle will be charged, the summons is also affected by 39:4-8.14 (part of the Red Light Traffic Camera bill), which states that the owner and operator are jointly liable for the fine.

    I asked for and received a continuance in order to do more research, now that I got a clarification on the statute.

    Anyway, I'd appreciate any comments on how the two statutes interact. 39:4-81c states that an operator is being charged, and yet the city wishes to hold me liable for the fine as the owner of the vehicle, under 39:4-8.15.

    Although I see that the owner is liable for the fine, does the city no longer need to prove that a specific person violated 39:4-81? I would think that liability for a fine in connection with this summons can only exist once the violation of 39:4-81 by a specific person, has been proven. Again, I wasn't driving the car. The summons charges me (the owner) with the violation - it seems that if anything, they should be charging "John Doe".

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