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is it worth flying 1100 miles to fight red light camera ticket for right turn on red?

is it worth flying 1100 miles to fight red light camera ticket for right turn on red?

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Old Jan 22, 18, 10:10 am
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is it worth flying 1100 miles to fight red light camera ticket for right turn on red?

I was driving a rental car in _______.(don't want to name the city because they may be able to identify me after I've made many phone calls to them)

Three week later, the rental car company forwarded a red light camera ticket to my office. Yes, I admit that I was the person driving at the time the ticket was issued.

However, I was making a right on red at the time, but it still triggered the red light camera to take two pictures showing me crossing the white line after the light had turned red. As I always have my dashcam with me, even when I travel and use rental cars, I took the MicroSD card and found the footage. It clearly showed that I had come to a complete stop before the white line and waited almost 2.5 seconds before crossing the white line and making the right turn. The dashcam actually picked up the reflection from the flashes of the red light camera. There were two other cars at the intersection.

I called their local police department and confirmed that right turn on red was allowed at that intersection.

However, when I contacted the clerk for the department that mail out these tickets, she said that I had to present the evidence in person to have the matter dismissed. When I pressed on and asked if it was a malfunction for the camera to take pictures and send out tickets to anyone making legal right turn on reds, I was told that the cameras take pictures of *all* cars crossing the white line when the light is red, even when the driver is making a legal right turn on red. It's up to the officer who review the photos to make a determination. Quote: "for local residents, they can just come in and request the administrative judge to review the photo and have the matter dismissed..." They would NOT accept anything sent using regular mail or email to fight the ticket, so I can't just send them my dashcam videos. I have to physically be there in person.

The ticket is only $125. The cheapest flight to that city before the ticket deadline is about $323. I guess I should just suck it up and pay it, since the plane ticket will cost more? Is it just my imagination or are they counting on this profit from out-of-town drivers who are unjustly sent these tickets?
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Old Jan 22, 18, 10:24 am
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Don't pay it till the next time you are in that town and have time to contest it.
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Old Jan 22, 18, 10:25 am
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I would fight it on principle as these kinds of money making actions by departments will only grow as they're shown to be successful revenue streams. My hometown had two installed and they were removed within 9 months for the number of challenges that were brought and how quickly judges were to dismiss tickets.

You may be able to send someone in your stead to if you know someone there or can find a reasonably priced legal rep which potentially could be less than your flight. Since you have video evidence it should be pretty open & shut.
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Old Jan 22, 18, 10:46 am
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Contact the clerk for the judge and see what they will do. I actually had good luck with that and talked with the judge.
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Old Jan 22, 18, 11:16 am
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There is some terrible advice in this thread and some of that stems from the OP's own failure to identify the jurisdiction. All of this stems from the fact that there is no single right answer:

#1 - Different jurisidcitions have different rules. In some, the penalty may double every X days. Suggesting that someone wait and only deal with it some day down the road if it arises again is not a great idea if a $125 ticket is by then $5,000.
#2 - Some jurisidictions have the authority to suspend both a license and the right to operate (for out of state licensees). This puts you at risk in the state, not just the jurisdiction and is, in many places, a misdemeanor. Not many people want a criminal record as the result of something which started as a nothing/
#3 - Some jurisdictions do not have or use judges. These are administrative matters handled by an administrative reviewer and they certainly don't have clerks.
#4 - Some jurisdictions ultimately charge the ticket back to the rental agency and the agency will pay the ticket and charge your card or come after you and you run the balance of arriving somewhere else some night and finding that you can't rent until you pay off some huge ticket plus the rental company's penalty.

Bottom line is that there is no principle at all here. Presuming that you will not have a record, nobody anywhere will care about this as 99% of this is all handled by machines. If you win, you win. If you lose, you lose, I don't know what your 1,100 mile air ticket will cost or what you will need to spend at the location, but since you have nothing to gain and there is no principle, take the $1,000 or whatever it will cost you to fly somewhere, lose a day of work, and come home and maybe win, and take a friend out to a great meal and laugh about it.

Alternatively, find yourself a lawyer and see what it will cost to have the lawyer handle it. You don't need Clarence Darrow here.
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If you want specifics, you will need to provide specifics. Even if the jurisdiction closely monitors FT and matches it to phone calls, what do you care?
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Old Jan 22, 18, 12:25 pm
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I had this exact same thing happen to me once. Philadelphia was the jurisdiction.

I just paid the ticket. This was about 5 years ago and the ticket was closer to $100 than $300, so it was an easy call, even though I was a little mad about it. I assumed there was some chance that the intersection had a no-right-turn rule, but I didn't bother calling to find out. Also some chance it was a total scam. But wasting any amount of time on it was going to cost vastly more than $100. It's the only ticket I've had in the past 15 years (including since), so I wasn't concerned about getting booted from my insurance or losing my license.

Uber and Lyft have reduced my car rental activity by 75% so hopefully I won't run into this one again.
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Old Jan 22, 18, 1:23 pm
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#5 - Some jurisdictions will report your unpaid ticket to the credit bureau. Not paying something you owe is one of the worst things you can do to your credit rating.
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Old Jan 22, 18, 1:30 pm
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If the cost of a plane ticket plus meals and expenses plus a lost day of work (if applicable) is less than the cost of paying the ticket, then go fight it. Else pay the ticket.
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Old Jan 22, 18, 2:06 pm
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Originally Posted by gfunkdave View Post
If the cost of a plane ticket plus meals and expenses plus a lost day of work (if applicable) is less than the cost of paying the ticket, then go fight it. Else pay the ticket.
Wouldn't you be able to counter sue the city if you are found not guilty?
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Old Jan 22, 18, 2:42 pm
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Originally Posted by theddo View Post
Wouldn't you be able to counter sue the city if you are found not guilty?
Could you sue? Sure, anybody can sue. Would you win? IANAL but it seems like somebody would have tried this before.

Will the entire stream of thought - fighting the ticket and then suing for expenses if you win - *possibly* be worth your time? 0% chance.
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Old Jan 22, 18, 3:25 pm
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It would depend on if that jurisdiction was reciprocal to mine and therefore would end up raising my insurance costs. If so, yeah, I'm taking a trip. Insurance rates are surprisingly high where I live so that ticket would cost me a good bit over the time it would be applied to my insurance.
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Old Jan 22, 18, 8:21 pm
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I'll preface this by saying I'm not a lawyer and don't pretend to be one on TV.

A question came to my mind, is there any scenario in which OP could have travel reimbursed by the municipality since it seems the municipality and/or red light camera owner (may be one and the same) is responsible for incorrectly flagging cars making legal right turns on red?

Not suing as mentioned up thread but just having the case dismissed with expenses to be covered by the city / state / municipality the way other judgments can be dismissed with that condition (again know close to nothing about the law)?
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Old Jan 22, 18, 9:06 pm
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It might be worthwhile looking for a ticket lawyer in the city where this happened.

I hope you fight this, it's a standard scam. They know most "red light" tickets are things like your case and your camera proves what happened.
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Old Jan 22, 18, 10:45 pm
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If it was Arizona you don't have to do anything until your served in person. Unless you already gave them your name and ticket number over the phone. In that case you may have given up your right on service.
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Old Jan 22, 18, 10:58 pm
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Or you could look at it as a quick vacation that happens to coincide with traffic court.
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