How to Avoid a Photo Enforced Ticket

by Amy Kniss

This article details how to avoid a photo enforced red light ticket. Winning a dismissal will keep the ticket from increasing your insurance rate or damaging your driving record.

How to Avoid a Photo Enforced Ticket

The best way to avoid a photo enforced ticket is making sure you come to a complete stop before making a right-hand turn. The next best way is to do your homework! If you receive a "Photo Enforced" ticket in the mail for running a red light, look up the section of the Vehicle Code you're charged with violating.

Return to the scene of the alleged crime. The law requires that warning signs must be posted at each "photo enforced" camera intersection. It also requires that the signs are visible to traffic approaching from all directions, or, in the case of some states, at all the main entrances to town including, at a minimum, freeways, bridges, and state highway routes. In California signs must be at least 30 inches wide and 42 inches high, they must be at least 6 feet above the pavement level (to the bottom edge of the sign).

Next take a preemptive step by requesting all of the information under discovery. In addition you may also want to write a letter to the Traffic Court (listed on your ticket) and request original or certified documentation that establishes that the signal was installed and operated according to the law. Also

Check to make sure that the picture of the driver in the photo is you and that the photo presents a clear and identifiable image of you. If it does not it is grounds for you to challenge the ticket. Part of the Vehicle Code that allows the use of an "automated enforcement system" requires that the images the system captures be clear if they are to be enforceable. It is perjury to claim that the photo is not if you if you know otherwise.

Were you turning left? If you were, find out the length of time the light stays yellow. Photo enforcement systems require that yellow lights remain on yellow for a minimum amount of time and relates to the speed limit on the road. Check your state's traffic manual for more details on these requirements. A short yellow light is an easy way to generate revenue, but depending on speed limits in the area it may not be a legal one.


  • check Be aware of road conditions and traffic signs.
  • check Come to a full stop when making a right turn on red.
  • check Do not accelerate on a yellow light.
  • check Know your state's Vehicle Code and your rights under it.

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About the Author

Amy Kniss' goal is to help people make smarter financial decisions, and buying a home is among the biggest financial decisions most people make. When you’re informed about your housing budget, must-haves and loan options, purchasing a house can be a satisfying and exciting experience.

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