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Camera Tickets: Red Light and Speeding

Camera infractions are increasingly used by cities in Washington State. Camera infractions can come in two forms - red light camera infractions and speeding camera infractions. The later are usually found at school zones. In the case of red light cameras, a camera is attached to a sensor, which then records footage of the vehicle passing through a red light along with a picture of the license plate. For speeding camera infractions, the camera is attached to underground sensors, which measure the speed of a vehicle traveling over the pavement above.

Camera Infraction Fines

The law requires that the maximum fine for camera infractions be no greater than the highest fine for a parking infraction. While this sounds like the camera infractions should only cost about $50.00, many cities have special zones or parking spots, which if violated can result in a significantly higher fine. Cities generally use these rates to set camera infraction fines at over $100.00, with the average cost around $124.00.

Consequences of a Camera Ticket

Camera infractions are generally authorized under the local city ordinances and are treated as parking infractions. This means the infraction is not reported on a person’s driving abstract and is not available to insurance companies or employers.

Driver Other Than the Registered Owner

Many registered owners are mailed camera infractions even when he or she was not the driver. The owner must then provide proof to the court that he or she was not driving. This can be done in several ways. A form mailed along with the camera infraction can be filled out, claiming it was not the owner driving. The owner will then have to give the name of the person who was driving the vehicle at the time. The camera infraction may then be re-filed by the court and sent out to the person named by the registered owner. The registered owner can also appear in court can give testimony under oath or provide other proof that he or she was not driving at the time.

Fighting a camera ticket

Many people choose not to hire a lawyer to fight camera infractions because the only consequence is just paying a fine to the city and insurance companies are not (currently) notified of the intraction by DOL. As a result, many legal issues with camera infractions are never raised. For example, before the footage can be used, there has to be evidence that the machine produces accurate results. Cameras that speed up the frames per second may not be showing accurate results. The camera and sensors used also need to be serviced regularly and properly calibrated. This is especially true for speeding camera infractions.

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