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Would I be wasting my time to ask an Illinois administrative court to throw out a red light camera ticket for improper service?

Lakemoor, IL |

My spouse and I are both the registered owners of a vehicle that was cited for failure to come to a complete stop while making a right hand turn. The notice was sent to my spouse only and not to me because my spouse's name was on the top line of the vehicle registration. I was the one driving. The notice was sent first class mail by SafeSpeed, a company that has a financial interest in the outcome of the case. They get $40 for every $100 ticket collected. I thought that in Illinois civil procedure all parties have to be served (i.e. me and my husband) and not just one party. Furthermore, I thought the person serving process has to be a disinterested party. What about an equal protection claim? My spouse and I are in the same class (registered owners) but are treated differently.

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Attorney answers 4

Best Answer

The Illinois Rules of Civil Procedure do not apply to administrative hearings. The Illinois Vehicle Code governs red light tickets, and, according to it, service on the registered owner, even if that person was not the driver, is sufficient, and service by mail is all that is required, without any requirement that service be made by a disinterested party.

From your question, it's not clear if you've already had an administrative hearing and are now seeking administrative review in a circuit court, or if you are asking whether it is worth it to pursue this at the administrative hearing level. It's free for you to request an administrative hearing, so, besides losing your time, you really have nothing to lose by contesting the ticket. I've handled several of these hearings, and the hearing officers usually could care less what you say, even if you have a valid objection. Most of the time, if you run the red light, they will find the registered owner(s) liable.

If you are asking about administrative review in a circuit court, the filing fee will be a few hundred dollars, plus your $100 fine will likely double to $200 while the review is pending. While there's a chance you might win, it's a long shot and you need to decide if it's worth losing your time and money. If you didn't raise the issues of service and equal protection in the first hearing, you can't raise them on review.

As for your equal protection claim, because this is only a redlight ticket, a judge or hearing officer will likely be, in reality, uninterested, even if you have a valid claim. Plus, you obviously got notice of the ticket, so there was no harm caused to you.

This response is not legal advice and does not create an attorney/client relationship. This response is intended to provide general information about the matter in question. Often, the question does not include important facts that, if known, could significantly change the reply and make it unsuitable.


Nearly impossible to win. No points on your driving record if you are convicted.



Really? I beat the last one because the hearing officer could see in the video that my car braked and paused before entering the intersection. For a red light camera violation, you can stop after the white stop line as long as you stop before the prolongation of lines demarcating the intersection.

David Alan Zipp

David Alan Zipp


There should be a link on the ticket that will show you the alleged red light violation video. Watch the video. If you stopped like what you reported before, than by all means dial up a hearing as explained in the paperwork and argue that position. If its questionable, well Attorney Harvatin is correct, it is nearly impossible to win. Perhaps lightening will strike twice and I hope it does for you, but the best course of action would be to change your driving habits to make a full one one-thousand, two one-thousand stop at every red light, especially those with posted cameras before proceeding. These citations are first watched by the camera company who most likely has a retired police officer in another state looking at the video. Then before the ticket is issued to you, many local Illinois departments actually have a local officer or even the chief of the local department do a quick review and confirm that s/he sees a violation. It is an administrative issue, not a criminal or Secretary of State issue, so you will likely have a hearing with a retired local Judge who will review the video in your presence and either concur with those who issued the ticket, or agree with your position that you did stop. You most likely do not need an attorney to make this argument as your one experience in red light camera admin court is probably more than most attorneys have in this field in any event. Besides the only question is compliance with a straight forward law. Super best free marginal legal advice - Extend your California style stops and count out-loud a couple of seconds and not have to deal with this local community money making system again.


I have personally handled one appeal of the red light camera matter and the amount of time, effort, filing fees and other considerations were staggering.
It is hardly worth the dedication to pursue such matters with resolve.

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I have never heard of anyone winning these. Let it go. The time and aggravation is not worth it for you.

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