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Lucy, Esq.
Lucy, Esq., Lawyer
Category: Traffic Law
Satisfied Customers: 30168
Experience:  Lawyer. Former judicial law clerk. Worked for District Attorney's Office in Traffic Court.
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My boyfriend was driving the speed limit southbound on hwy

Resolved Question:

my boyfriend was driving the speed limit southbound on hwy 61 in Hannibal, MO and was issued a citation (via camera) for running a yellow light in rainy/icy conditions. He applied his brakes and started to hydroplane through the intersection, nearly losing control of his truck, and elected to continue through the intersection (with no other traffic conflicts) in order to maintain positive control of his vehicle. The camera recorded this as a red-light violation, however, and issued him a citation. He would like to appeal this "violation" but has been unable to get ANY justice from the Hannibal court system. Any input is appreciated.
Submitted: 7 years ago.
Category: Traffic Law
Expert:  Lucy, Esq. replied 7 years ago.
Hi Jennifer,

Thank you for using Just Answer. Well, first, your boyfriend is going to want to take care of that warrant. Because it was the DA's mistake, the DA should actually ask the court to recall it for him.

Regarding the ticket itself, if the officer does not show up, or if your boyfriend is not identifiable as the driver in the picture, the ticket will be dismissed. However, the law says that, in icy or rainy conditions, you need to drive slowly enough to stop safely. Unfortunately, under the circumstances, the fact that your boyfriend went through the light because he was unable to stop safely is not a defense to the ticket. One thing he could do is see if the DA is able to negotiate the fine for the ticket, or if he has the option of going to traffic school to avoid getting the points on his record.

Good luck.
Customer: replied 7 years ago.
Not only did the officer not show up (it was a camera that recorded the "incident," and he was not identifiable as the driver - but they used the truck license plates), but when he arrived at his SCHEDULED court date (per mailed documents), he was NOT even on that day's docket. (Apparently the prosecuting attorney did NOT relay the fact that he had spoken to my boyfriend and changed the court date) and they even had a warrant for his arrest!!! Additionally, he slowed immediately when the light turned yellow and was driving on a downhill slope with a short yellow light. There HAS to be some kind of legal recourse for this ineptitude (on the part of the prosecutor) and entrapment (minimum yellow light on downhill slope). Thank you for your time~ Jennifer
Expert:  Lucy, Esq. replied 7 years ago.
When the camera takes a picture at a red light, the photos are reviewed by a police officer (or, in some states, two) before they are mailed. Generally, one of the officers will need to show up at trial to explain the picture to the court, explain that the camera is reliable, and tell when it was last serviced to establish accuracy. Due process entitles a person who is accused of committing a crime to have the state prove that.

Entrapment occurs when the state does something that induces an ordinarily law-abiding citizen to break the law. Entrapment requires more on the part of the state than the placement of cameras and requires that the person accused is someone who would not have broken the law without the state's interference. In this situation, an entrapment defense would require that a police officer induced your boyfriend to drive an unsafe speed such that it was impossible for him to stop for the yellow light.

Regarding the DA, I absolutely agree that the state made a mistake. However, unfortunately, a scheduling error will not entitled a person to have the underlying ticket dropped. The DA has a duty to correct the mistake, recall the warrant, and make sure there are no additional negative consequences, but does not have to dismiss the original ticket.

I apologize if that's not what you were hoping to hear. Sometimes, the law just isn't on our side.
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