Motion-activated cameras are increasingly used to implement speed limits and red lights. The two primary types of motion-activated cameras used to implement traffic laws are red-light cameras and speed cameras.

Although camera systems differ depending on the manufacturer and how a municipality uses them, the camera is activated at red lights when a car enters an intersection after the light has turned red. The camera will take a photo of the license plate. A red light camera ticket is mailed to the car’s registered owner.

Red-light cameras take photographs of cars as they enter the intersection while the light is red, and speeding cameras use comparable technology to determine drivers who exceed the speed limit. Surveillance cameras are usually mounted on or near traffic signals at busy crossroads. They also take photos of license plates to determine and then send a citation to the lawbreaker.

Are Speed Cameras Legal?

Like most legal inquiries, the best response to this is, “It depends.” In states permitting speed cameras, the cameras can be contested for many causes. These causes include claiming that the monitoring technique is illegal or that the camera sites did not have appropriate warning signs.

Nonetheless, in states that permit speeding cameras, they will be implemented. Sometimes the highest speed allowed in the photo-enforced zones can adjust without warning, leaving motorists riddled with shocking fines.

Not all states permit speed cameras, however. At least ten states, including Mississippi, have banned their use.

How Are Traffic Cameras Utilized Against You?

When you obtain a traffic camera ticket, you face fines and late fees if not paid on time. The footage can be utilized to charge you for a violation, even if you have exited the state. In other words, long after you have left a place, you can still receive a ticket.

What are the Laws Concerning the Use of Surveillance Cameras?

Running a red light or stop sign is forbidden in all states. Each state also has its own traffic laws, and many states use surveillance cameras to implement their traffic laws. The use of these cameras is contentious, and various states have come up with other guidelines about the use of these cameras, such as:

  • Prohibiting the use of these cameras completely;
  • Imposing limitations in terms of how and where they can be used; or
  • Deciding to use the cameras to implement speed limits or traffic signals.

Some states do not address speeding and red-light cameras at all. In the interest of due process, law enforcement officers generally inspect the evidence from the cameras to make sure that a transgression has transpired before a citation is sent out.

Analogous to the formal enforcement of traffic laws, motorists are permitted by most red-light camera systems to be in the intersection while the light is red for about a half-second before they are given a citation. This reduces the impulse to slam on the brakes when approaching a yellow light when a camera is seen.

In terms of federal law, federal courts have declared that cities have the freedom to use speeding and red light cameras. Lawsuits that challenged private businesses’ use of red-light cameras have been disregarded or overthrown.

How Long Do Traffic Cameras Keep Footage?

Suppose you’ve been given a ticket due to a traffic camera. In that case, you’ll want to get a lawyer as soon as possible to obtain a replica of the footage. You should also reach a car accident attorney if you need the footage to demonstrate your claim. This footage may be deleted or recorded over in as little as 24 to 72 hours in some locales. Once it’s gone, you won’t be able to utilize this footage as evidence to demonstrate that you did not perpetrate the offense.

Do Traffic Cameras Go on Your Record?

Some states treat these offenses like parking tickets, while others regulate them as a standard moving violation. Every state is different across the United States in treating these tickets.

Can I Challenge a Traffic Camera Ticket?

Yes. Every red light camera infraction or speeding ticket will contain instructions on contesting the ticket. Some drivers have successfully challenged tickets on procedural grounds when the system is not set up correctly, leading to a prolonged appeal.

The first thing you should do is log on to the camera’s online system and ensure that the image is of your vehicle. Suppose the car shown is yours, but you can establish that someone else was driving with proof of theft or because the other motorist is willing to acknowledge that fact. In that case, you can usually challenge the ticket.

How Much Do Red Light Tickets Cost?

The cost of a red light ticket will depend on the jurisdiction where you got the infraction. Frequently the ticket will contain a penalty as well as administrative expenses. For instance, in New Orleans, there is a $105 fee plus $30 administrative costs, so the driver will pay $135 for the infraction.

What is the Argument Around Surveillance Cameras?

There is some debate over the usefulness of surveillance cameras. Law enforcement groups and traffic safety proponents argue that red light cameras and speeding cameras save lives. At the same time, critics contend that such cameras increase casualties.

The critics also say that such cameras increase municipal earnings rather than make streets safer. A study by the Federal Highway Administration (FHA) on red light camera systems figured that such systems raise highway safety while lowering crash-related costs.

However, the National Motorists Association questioned this study. It asserted that such cameras are useless, costly, and violate due process.

The discussion linked to due process of law correlates to how evidence of speeding or running a red light is confirmed because it is compiled by a machine rather than a human being.

But most jurisdictions confirm the image evidence with a traffic officer before administering a citation. There is controversy over how the violation is served and whether the citation must be served in person. Officers who personally witnessed the violations traditionally handed out speeding and red light tickets.

Mail service of citations has typically been viewed as lawful if the defendant has the opportunity to recognize receipt of the citation or if the defendant requests personal service. Suppose the person fails to respond to a mailed photo enforcement ticket. In that case, this typically leads to a default guilty judgment against the offender.

Should I Contact a Traffic Ticket Lawyer?

The use of surveillance cameras to enforce traffic laws is becoming more common. The laws that govern their use can vary depending on the state. However, there is controversy around the use of these cameras. It is important to know your rights and obligations in terms of traffic laws.

If you are charged with a traffic violation based on the use of these cameras, and you want to challenge the allegation, consult with a local traffic ticket lawyer before proceeding.

Use LegalMatch to find the best attorney suited for your surveillance camera traffic ticket needs. There is no fee to schedule a consultation with a lawyer on LegalMatch.