Whenever a written notice to appear has been issued by a peace officer or by a qualified employee of a law enforcement agency on a form approved by the Judicial Council for an alleged violation of Section 22451, or, based on an alleged violation of Section 21453, 21455, or 22101 recorded by an automated traffic enforcement system pursuant to Section 21455.5 or 22451, and delivered by mail within 15 days of the alleged violation to the current address of the registered owner of the vehicle on file with the department, with a certificate of mailing obtained as evidence of service, an exact and legible duplicate copy of the notice when filed with the magistrate shall constitute a complaint to which the defendant may enter a plea. Preparation and delivery of a notice to appear pursuant to this section is not an arrest.
It should be mailed within 15 days. Yes you can fight it. If the images are clear, you can consider mounting the following defense: If no employee from the company that maintains the red light camera device shows up to testify, you should object to the photos being admitted into evidence, saying, “Your Honor, since no one has appeared to authenticate the photographic evidence, I object to such evidence for lack of foundation.” If the photographs are excluded, there is no evidence to convict you. (On the other hand, if the judge allows the photos in evidence over this proper objection, you may later have a basis for an appeal if found guilty.)
If the photos are allowed into evidence but the images are not clear, you can consider challenging the photo’s clarity, arguing that the evidence is not convincing enough to convict you. You should not agree to testify unless you can truthfully say that you were not driving the vehicle at the time the picture was taken.
If you ran the light to avoid a serious accident or harm to others, you should make that argument, and it’s possible that the judge may find that you acted out of “necessity,” which may be reason enough to find you not guilty.
Another possible defense to a red light ticket is that of missing or non-visible posted signs that are supposed to warn of photo enforcement. In California, the laws require such warning signs. Go back to the intersection to investigate whether the signs there comply with the law. If they don’t, and you prove that to the court with photos and diagrams, you have a good chance of beating the ticket. These are only a few examples but yes you can fight your ticket in many ways.
See link to website on how to fight a California red light ticket: http://highwayrobbery.net/redlightcamsticket.htm
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