I received a notice in the mail with a link to photos of my car supposedly going 35 in a school zone marked 20mph, in Washington state. Is there any way to contest the $243 fine? They sent me a link to 3 photos of the back end of my car, and one video. None showing the driver.
"None showing the driver." The law in WA prohibits the government from taking pictures showing the driver's face for a camera ticket. You are not going to see any picture with anyone's face in the picture.
The photos and videos should clearly show the license plate of the alleged offending vehicle. Is the vehicle in the pictures and video your vehicle?
Are you the only person to drive your vehicle? If you are the only person who drove your vehicle on the day and time in question, you almost certainly were the one in the vehicle.
If other persons drove the vehicle on the day and time in question, there should be a spot on the ticket for you to check and sign to declare that you were not the driver on the date and time shown in the picture.
If you were in fact the driver and declare that you are not, if the government can prove that, you have traded a traffic ticket for a few days in jail as filing a false declaration with the court is a criminal law violation.
You can certainly contest the ticket. There should be a spot on the ticket for you to choose to contest.
You likely can also mitigate the ticket. That is, you will go to court and admit that you were driving and explain to the court why you were going 35 mph in a school zone. Many times, the court will reduce a ticket by half in mitigation. On another hand, many courts are reluctant to mitigate school zone tickets.
Camera tickets do not affect a person's insurance premiums in WA. So, if you pay the ticket, it should not affect your insurance.
You can hire an attorney. Many traffic ticket attorneys in the Seattle area charge between $200 and $400 for most traffic tickets.
Photo tickets must be mailed to the registered owner within 14 days of the violation, here you state that it occurred on the 11th and was postmarked the 13th and you just received it, since the ticket was sent within the 14 days, it does not appear that there was a procedural violation regarding the sending of notice as when you receive it is not the issue. See the RCW here:http://apps.leg.wa.gov/RCW/default.aspx?cite=46.63.170
With respect to the declaration of non-responsibility it is essentially the honor system, Washington's constitution is more protective of privacy rights which is why the cameras don't take pictures of the drivers as they do in other states. See the declaration here: http://www.seattle.gov/courts/red_light/declaration.pdf
There are issues with these tickets however, beyond procedural, that are usually foundational. If you feel strongly about fighting this ticket I would suggest hiring an attorney.
I agree with the other answers, and they covered the topic fairly well. The only thing that I would add would be that most tickets are not won or lost based on whether you actually did it, they are won or lost based on whether the report has enough in it. A good traffic ticket attorney may be able to help you a lot.
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