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Brandon M.
Brandon M., Counselor at Law
Category: Traffic Law
Satisfied Customers: 12237
Experience:  Licensed Attorney
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Received a red light camera ticket in beverly hills, at Wilshre

Customer Question

Received a red light camera ticket in beverly hills, at Wilshre and Whittier. I was surprised when the light turned red, after a very short yellow. My surprised expression was caught on camera. I Have an excellent driving record, and this ticket is BOGUS!
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Traffic Law
Expert:  Brandon M. replied 2 years ago.

Brandon M. :

Hello there.

Customer :

hi.


 

Brandon M. :

Hi. Thank you for your question.

Brandon M. :

When did this occur?

Customer :

7/10/2012. fine due 9/05/12

Brandon M. :

I actually have good news for you. Effective the middle of last year, the L.A. Superior Court has stopped enforcing all red light camera violations.

Brandon M. :

L.A. County turned most of their cameras off, although Beverly Hills has not. However, the Superior Court will not enforce the tickets even though Beverly Hills continues to issue them.

Customer :

I had read that, but also heard that was LA only, and that BH was still in effect.


 

Brandon M. :

BH has their cameras still on, but they can't be enforced since there is no Beverly Hills County.

Customer :

Are you telling me I can place this ticket in the trash?

Brandon M. :

Yes.

Customer :

I think I'm in love with you.

Brandon M. :

You're not, but I don't always get to deliver good news, so I am glad when I can.

Customer :

Is the city of BH counting on out-of-towners like me to cough up $ - even though they won't pursue this fine?

Brandon M. :

A significant portion of people issued the tickets pay.

Brandon M. :

They have every right to demand payment, but they don't have any teeth to enforce it.

Customer :

Well, I'm sure BH could use the money, but I can use the $ more. Thank you. This was the most bogus ticket, ever! BH will not be getting funds from me.

Brandon M. :

Great. And let me be clear on one or two points here:

Customer :

sure, what points?

Brandon M. :

When the tickets are issued, it still ultimately gets set for a court hearing if the ticket goes unpaid. However, enforcement is through the Department of Motor Vehicles, and the Superior Court does not report the violation to the Department of Motor Vehicles. So this is why it has no teeth. Non-payment does not result in a hold on your license, nor does it interfere with your vehicle registration. Normally, the DMV will require the driver to make payment or the hold will go in place. In L.A. County, and only in L.A. County, this doesn't happen.

Brandon M. :

Does that make sense?

Customer :

Yes, you have explained it well. Thank you for everything.

Brandon M. :

Hold on, I still had one last point:

Brandon M. :

Ideally, the most complete option would be to go ahead and fight the ticket. Technically, it is still an infraction even if it doesn't get reported to the DMV. If tomorrow the Superior Court changed its policy and started reporting new violations to the DMV, you would run into trouble. The city of Beverly Hills can also have collection notices sent after the matter goes to Court. So even if the DMV doesn't get involved, you may hear more about this after the fact. But again, there is a degree of impotency because the DMV is not notified and will therefore not use its enforcement powers.

Brandon M., Counselor at Law
Category: Traffic Law
Satisfied Customers: 12237
Experience: Licensed Attorney
Brandon M. and 3 other Traffic Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

OK, I can fight the ticket. I live in Carmel, so appearing in person is impractical. What is the best way to fight it long distance? I can go to LA and visit my daughter if appearing in person is important.

Expert:  Brandon M. replied 2 years ago.

Fortunately, travel can oftentimes be avoided. The first court date is the arraignment; the only function of the arraignment is to enter a plea. It is possible to appear at the arraignment telephonically. If you plead not guilty, the hearing usually lasts less than three minutes. Upon pleading not guilty, the option to have a trial by declaration is available--the defendant submits a written argument for why the court should find "not guilty". If the court makes a finding of guilty after the trial by declaration, then a regular hearing may be scheduled in front of a judge, which would require travel. Telephonic appearances are arranged through CourtCall:

http://www.courtcall.com/ccallp/main?c=CCHOME

 

 

Customer: replied 2 years ago.
I can do that. They say I have to pay the fine upfront, and will be refunded if found in my favor. Is there anyway to avoid paying the onerous fine upfront?
Expert:  Brandon M. replied 2 years ago.
I'm glad that you brought up that point. The problem from the attorney's standpoint is that under The Professional Rules of Conduct 3-210, an attorney "shall not advise the violation of any law, rule, or ruling of a tribunal unless the member believes in good faith that such law, rule, or ruling is invalid." The red light laws are valid and the law is that tickets must either be contested or paid (and paid if unsuccessfully contested), so I can't and won't advise to not pay the ticket. However, I stand by my answer with regard to the realities of enforcement in LA County.

I found this to be a nice, accurate summary of the pros and cons of not paying:

http://la.curbed.com/archives/2011/07/pros_and_cons_to_skipping_out_on_paying_your_red_light_ticket.php

You have to decide for yourself what is right for your situation. Personally, I would ignore the ticket because it would literally have no impact on me and it can't be enforced. I would "place it in the trash", as you mentioned.

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Brandon M.
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