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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Posts
    3

    Default Running Red Light Ticket but the Light Was Green

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

    I received a 811.265 ticket for "running a red light". The problem is that the light was green. I was slowly approaching a red light and when I got to the crosswalk line the light turned green so I kept going. The officer said I ran a red light but I told him that the light turned green when I got to the intersection. I don't know if he was looking at me instead of the light so he didn't see it turn or what but he kept saying I had to stop because it was red and I kept saying it was green. Well he kept saying I was "confused" and I couldn't go to traffic school since I was confused I'd have to go to court.

    I'm willing to go to court but it's completely he said she said. I feel like the judge will just assume the cop is right and I'm wrong. Do I even have a chance of fighting this?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Michigan
    Posts
    28,906

    Default Re: Running Red Light Ticket but the Light Was Green

    Often there's a stop line in advance of the crosswalk. If you rolled across a stop line without stopping while the light was red, rather than stopping behind it, that would support the ticket.
    Quote Quoting ORS 811.260 Appropriate driver responses to traffic control devices.
    This section establishes appropriate driver responses to specific traffic control devices for purposes of ORS 811.265. Authority to place traffic control devices is established under ORS 810.210. Except when acting under the direction of a police officer that contradicts this section, a driver is in violation of ORS 811.265 if the driver makes a response to traffic control devices that is not permitted under the following:
    * * *
    (5) Steady circular red signal. A driver facing a steady circular red signal light alone shall stop at a clearly marked stop line, but if none, before entering the marked crosswalk on the near side of the intersection, or if there is no marked crosswalk, then before entering the intersection. The driver shall remain stopped until a green light is shown except when the driver is permitted to make a turn under ORS 811.360.
    * * *

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Posts
    3

    Default Re: Running Red Light Ticket but the Light Was Green

    There was no stop line just a crosswalk and the light turned green just as I got to the crosswalk line.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Posts
    25

    Default Re: Running Red Light Ticket but the Light Was Green

    Short answer (and probably the answer you don't want to hear)...there's nothing you can do to prove that you didn't enter the intersection before the light turned green. Even worse, it's possible the officer may lie to help validate the citation.

    Even if the officer was mistaken and the light did, in fact, turn green before you crossed the first line of the crosswalk (which, I believe, is the beginning of the intersection), you really have no way of proving the officer was wrong.

    Red light/stop sign tickets are extremely tough to dispute. You can, however, try to win your case on technicalities. In every case, there's a process that has to be followed by you and the related parties. In going through that process, if you can set up enough obstacles/barriers that the prosecution fails to overcome, you can try to win your case on that/those technicality(ies).

    One word of advice...the scenario you described in your case is a precarious argument. You're arguing that you did not enter the intersection before it turned green. That to me seems like there was almost a split second between your entering the intersection and not while the light was red or green. Not to sound like your father or mother, but I hope you realize that many accidents do occur when drivers (such as yourself) fail to yield to opposing traffic before entering an intersection. It seems like you were very close to entering the intersection on a red light...which also suggests you failed to take precaution before entering the intersection. That should always be practiced. It almost gets you into that "I told you so" territory. When it's that uncertain, the law will always side with the risk adversed. You took a risk in proceeding through an intersection on an almost green light. If I had had this conversation with you before you got your ticket, I'd be telling you, "I told you so."

    Best of luck.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Posts
    3

    Default Re: Running Red Light Ticket but the Light Was Green

    Thanks for your concern for my safety but I was approaching at a slow speed since I could see that the lights would be turning soon. And the intersection was very open so I could see that there were no cars coming to zoom through at the last second to make the light. I do understand completely about the he said she said. So in traffic violations is up to me to prove myself innocent or up to the cop to prove me guilty? Because w/o a video tape I don't think either of us can prove anything.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Location
    LA LA Land
    Posts
    9,170

    Default Re: Running Red Light Ticket but the Light Was Green

    Quote Quoting PDX_nik
    View Post
    So in traffic violations is up to me to prove myself innocent or up to the cop to prove me guilty?
    Are you asking a rhetorical question or are you being serious? The officer (more specifically, the prosecution) has the responsibility to prove your guilt. And in almost all instances, the officer's testimony as to what he/she witnessed will serve as valid proof of that. You will get the opportunity to (at least attempt to) refute his testimony.... (read the rest of my post and you might unddrstand whythat is not such an easy task)...

    Quote Quoting PDX_nik
    View Post
    Because w/o a video tape I don't think either of us can prove anything.
    And yet considering the fact that the officer gains nothing if you lose and loses nothing if you win... all while you might benefit from saving the fine amount and from sparing your driving record from being assessed any violation points... his unbiased testimony tends to carry more weight than yours.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Dec 2004
    Location
    Seattle
    Posts
    3,577

    Default Re: Running Red Light Ticket but the Light Was Green

    I totally agree with St. That Guy. I'm just going to expand a little on what he said.

    "Proof" is a fairly nebulous term when it comes to courts. Basically, the officer will offer "testimony". Assuming he establishes the proper foundation (training and experience), he will be qualified as an "expert" witness. His testimony, if accepted by the judge, becomes "evidence" against you. This officer, who 1) is an officer of the court and 2) has no vested interest in the outcome of the trial, will say that he witnessed you running a red light.

    Then it is your turn. You will then testify that you did not run the light. The judge will then have TWO pieces of evidence.

    Now comes the "kicker". Since you cannot BOTH be right, the judge, as the "trier of fact", determines the "credibility" of each witness. Since you DO have a vested interest, as That Guy pointed out, you will probably have "zero" credibility.

    So, in order to prevail, you will need MORE evidence than just your word. You can consider attacking the officer's position in relation to the intersection during cross-examination. If you can cast ANY doubt about the officer's ability to correctly judge your position relative to the intersection at the moment the light turned green, it will help you case immensely.

    Barry

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