Who hasn’t sped up just slightly when seeing a green light change to yellow? In trying to “beat the light,” you may save yourself a couple minutes of travel time. Of course, doing so also increases the possibility of receiving a ticket for running a red light or being involved in a crash.
If your vehicle enters the intersection after the light turns red, you are in violation of traffic safety law. Police can ticket you for disobeying a traffic signal if the officer believes that you had time to stop your vehicle safely. This is a split-second decision for the
driver and the officer, and therefore both are subject to a certain margin of error.
Many New York City intersections now have red light cameras, which will snap a digital photo of a car entering an intersection as the light turns red. Police don’t even have to be present to issue you a red light ticket. You may simply receive a Notice of Liability in the mail, which could arrive days or weeks after your alleged red light violation.
They say that the camera doesn’t lie, but that doesn’t mean you should automatically admit guilt by mailing a check when you receive a notice. Sometimes the cameras are poorly calibrated, and like all other electronics, they can malfunction.
You have the right to contest a red light ticket, whether issued by an officer or through the use of a traffic control camera.
If you don’t exercise your right to contest the ticket, you’re telling the Traffic Violation Bureau, “Yes, I blew through a red light. Here, take my money.”
If you don’t contest your ticket or notice, you stand zero chance at avoiding a punch in the wallet.
If your red light ticket is a Notice of Liability from a red light camera, know that admitting guilt will not add points to your license. It would be difficult (if not impossible) for the Traffic Violation Bureau to prove who was driving at the time of the infraction, so you’ll only be hit with a fine. The city handles red light camera tickets the same way they handle parking tickets.
Of course, there’s still a fine to pay – and if you procrastinate or misplace your notice, you may incur hefty late fees. Continued non-payment could even lead to the state putting a hold on the car’s registration.
If an officer tickets you for running a red light, the costs associated with an admission of guilt can rise quickly. In addition to the fine, which can range from $100 to $300 on your first offense, you may be subject to surcharges and late fees.
You’ll also have three points on your license for 18 months. Those points may drive your insurance premiums up, and can stay on your record (and keep your premiums high) for up to 3 years. Additionally, if you accumulate six points within any 18-month period, you’ll also have to pay New York’s Driver Responsibility Assessment Fee.
The Driver Responsibility Assessment Fee is $100 per year for three years – and that’s just for six accumulated points. Every additional point beyond the first six will cost an additional $25 per year.
Eleven points on your license within 18 months can result in a suspension or revocation of your license. In this case, you can add license reinstatement fees to the pile of expenses resulting from your red light ticket conviction.
For these reasons, it could be in your best interest to contest the ticket.
Experienced red light ticket lawyers know the best defenses to present in traffic court based on the circumstances of your case. Some of the more common defenses for red light tickets include:
These are just some examples; there may be special circumstances that can support other defenses to your red light ticket.
I’m attorney James Medows, and I’m here to help you. If you’ve gotten a red light ticket, don’t delay. Call me today. My cell phone is my business line. You can reach me at 917-856-1247.