Red light tickets are difficult to beat in court, simply because it's your word against the officer's as to the position of your vehicle at the time the light actually turned red.
But running a red light violation can be beat.
Use the same method taught on the previous page for U-Turn traffic tickets to dissect the traffic code you are accused of violating. Look for anything in the code you know you did not violate.
If that doesn't work, you will have to argue the position of your vehicle at the moment the light turned red.
Most state laws are the same regarding red light violations. They all say something to the effect that no part of the vehicle can enter the intersection after the traffic light turns red.
However, if the traffic light turns red and you are already in the intersection (to make a left turn for example), then it is NOT a red light violation.
The most important thing you will have to do is create a little uncertainty as to the position of where your vehicle was when the light turned red. You have to show that you did not enter the intersection after that time.
Bear in mind that arguing the position of your vehicle doesn't necessarily mean you have to prove it. All you have to do is create a little reasonable doubt.
With a red light ticket, you do have some different options to pursue in defending yourself. If the officer was at a right angle (approaching from the street that intersects the street you were traveling on), you may be able to show that the officer could not have seen your traffic signal change.
Take a little drive back to the scene and see if the traffic light was visible from the officer's perspective. If not, take pictures immediately and bring them with you to court.
Show the judge your pictures and ask him if he can see the traffic signal. If he can not, I would motion for a dismissal.
If the officer was not facing the traffic signal and says that the traffic light turned red... object immediately since he was not an eye witness.
Another possible defense would be to show that from the officer's point of view, he could not have made an accurate observation as to the location of your vehicle the instant the traffic signal turned red.
There may have been some obstructions that prevented him from having a clear view of the intersection such as hedges, fences or buildings. This could bring up the possibility of blocked visibility which may assist you in defeating the ticket.
If the officer was behind you, it's possible that from his angle he couldn't see exactly where the front of your vehicle was at the time.
Again, take pictures of other vehicles going through the same traffic light and do it at the same time of day you got your ticket. Take pictures from the same vantage point the officer had.
If traffic was heavy at the time, the judge may side with you.
With your pictures, show the judge the officer's point of view and indicate that with all the traffic in-between your car and the officer's, he could not have had a clear view.
The next two defenses basically require you to give excuses as to why you ran the red light. Here, you are not denying you committed the infraction, just that there were uncontrollable cirumstances that forced you to do so.
If you know anything about me, I'm not one for giving excuses in court. But when it comes to these types of tickets, sometimes you have no other choice.
Another defense you could use would be the 'out of necessity' defense. This defense basically brings the idea of a dangerous situation at hand.
For instance, maybe the streets were icy or wet at the time. When you tried to come to a stop, your car began to slide and you had no choice but to run the red light.
You could go on to say that by going through the red light, it was actually safer to have done so as opposed to sliding uncontrollably into traffic.
Pictures would go a long way here. Drive back to the scene as soon as possible and return with a camera. Take pictures of the icy or wet road and anything else that could boost your stories credibility.
With this defense, you simply tell the judge that a huge semi, ambulance or any other large vehicle was in front of you blocking the traffic light from view as it crossed through the intersection.
As the traffic light appeared, it was too late to stop since your car had begun to enter the intersection. With no alternative other than stopping in the middle of the intersection, you proceeded (with caution) through the intersection.
This happens a lot with people in smaller cars. Again, taking pictures here would help your case. Go to the same intersection and get behind a semi (or other large vehicle). Take pictures of the back of the vehicle (to show that the traffic light is blocked from view).
Take this picture with you, show it to the judge and plead your case the best you can. If you have a small car, take a picture of that as well. It just proves your point a little better.
To beat a red light ticket, you have to get a little creative. Pictures and diagrams are usually frowned upon in traffic court, but if they can help prove your case, then by all means bring'em.
More traffic ticket defenses below...
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