Our office receives many calls from clients who receive tickets for running red lights when the basis is a photograph from a camera at the intersection. Usually, the fine is pretty steep, approaching $500, not to mention the traffic school fees that follow. The photograph of our client going through the intersection is surprisingly and usually pretty clear. However, our clients are always unnerved by the fact that a camera and a photograph, not a live police officer and testimony, is the basis for the ticket.
On February 10, 2012, the Second Appellate District issued an opinion (People v. Annette Borzakian (2012 DJDAR 1923)) on “red light cameras,” wherein the violation based on such a photograph was reversed. The basis for the opinion deserves a closer look, as it certainly seems to suggest other similar tickets can be thrown out on the same basis (the City of Los Angeles, however, has retired its red-light camera program recently).
Annett Borzakian was driving through the intersection of Wilshire Boulevard and Beverly Drive in Beverly Hills on June 3, 2009. A few days later she received a ticket in the mail, wherein it was determined that she violated Vehicle Code § 21453(a) (commonly known as “Failure to Stop at a Red Light”) based on photographic evidence.
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