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Camera ticket for "speeding in a school zone" (35 in a 20) - the light wasn't flashing

Bellevue, WA |

I received a ticket in the mail for speeding in a school zone (35 in a 20) - the photo ticket is for $124.00. I'm inclined not to pay it but need advice - I had always thought that a school zone on a 4 lane street was only enforced if the yellow light is flashing and when it's not flashing, the assumed speed of 35 is acceptable. Is this wrong? This was 11:00am on a Thursday morning - not a typical children on the street time.

Attorney Answers 2

  1. I would say that "11:00am on a Thursday morning" is when schools are open. Many schools are "open campus" meaning that the students can leave the school grounds to do whatever it is they need to be doing (such as going to lunch). So, children can suddenly appear on the street when their periods change.

    The school zone, like construction zone, is active all the time unless signs at the specific location further restrict the time when the zone is active.

    My understanding is that the camera's wires are connected to the light's wires so that if the lights are turned off, the cameras would not work.

    There are several unresolved lawsuits regarding traffic cameras in WA right now. Perhaps a result of the lawsuits will be that the fines will be reduced and refunded.

    You can go back to the school area and look at the signage. Traffic camera zones are supposed to have signage indicating the usage of cameras. You can look for signs when the school zone is active.

    You can review your specific facts with your attorney to see what legal options you have.

  2. It's not a great idea to represent yourself in traffic court. You do, however, have the constitutional right to do so. I would recommend spending an entire day in the traffic court to observe how judges handle self-represented defendants to get an idea of how irritated they get at amateur lawyering. If you really want to represent yourself, you should purchase an hour of a traffic attorney's time to have her or him coach you on how to handle things.

    A better choice is simply to hire an attorney.

    Click the Lawyer Search tab on Avvo and look for an attorney in your area.

    Finally, you might find my Legal Guide helpful "What Do I Tell My Lawyer"?


    You might find my Legal Guide helpful "Ethics: Yes I Need a Lawyer!"

    Good luck to you.

    God bless.

    NOTE: This answer is made available by the out-of-state lawyer for educational purposes only. By using or participating in this site you understand that there is no attorney client privilege between you and the attorney responding. This site should not be used as a substitute for competent legal advice from a licensed professional attorney that practices in the subject practice discipline and with whom you have an attorney client relationship along with all the privileges that relationship provides. The law changes frequently and varies from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. The information and materials provided are general in nature, and may not apply to a specific factual or legal circumstance described in the question.

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