Cars, Government, Personal Finance 

Fighting Red Light Camera Violation Tickets

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I was caught running a red light by a red light camera in downtown Baltimore three weeks ago (the notice came in the mail last week) and did a little searching online to see whether I had much of a chance contesting it. The reality is that I ran it because I didn’t want to slam on the breaks to stop myself and because I thought I could make it, in actuality I didn’t make it and am entirely guilty. Even though I was guilty, I still wanted to see what my options were since the ticket was going to cost me $75 (no points, so no insurance ramifications) and I figured that warranted at least a little bit of digging with Google for potential solutions.

(In the end, I paid the $75.)

The best traffic ticket information website out there has to be Ticket Assassin, their red light ticket section has all sorts of good information worth reading and where I did most of my research. The only downside is that the site is focused on California residents and residents of other states can only use this as a frame of reference. For information about the red light camera program in Baltimore, check out the City of Baltimore red light camear page. I think Ticket Assassin gives you a good idea of the sort of red tape you’ll have to go through, in any state, before you’ll be let off the hook.

The reason I didn’t contest the red light ticket was because I felt my time was worth more than the $75 fine. I didn’t want to contest the ticket and then have to spend all the time (a few hours) and gas (I’d have to drive downtown, likely in the middle of the day) it would take to go to the courthouse and try to conjure up some excuse as to why I shouldn’t get the ticket. And, if I failed, then the ticket would be $100 + court fees, adding insult to perceived injury. In the end, it’s wasn’t worth it to me.

For those of you who think I should’ve contested it out of principle… sorry, I just don’t feel that the use of red light cameras is such an injustice. Plus, I didn’t want to pay an extra $25+ considering I was absolutely guilty.

{ 49 comments, please add your thoughts now! }

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49 Responses to “Fighting Red Light Camera Violation Tickets”

  1. FMF says:

    I think you made the right financial choice. I would have done the same thing.

    Now, what would you have done if you were innocent — say, you went through the light when it was yellow (or at least you thought it was). Would you have fought just on principle?

  2. jim says:

    They have people verifying the ticket before they send it out, unless it was something that was obviously erroneous I probably wouldn’t contest it either because I wouldn’t know. If it was a clear error (like it wasn’t my car), then I would have to research really how long it would ‘probably’ take to contest and decide. If it was an hour or two, maybe… anything longer and I’d probably just eat it.

  3. dakbo says:

    How much per year will this cost you in insurance premiums?

  4. jim says:

    None, no points and it’s not reported… basically it’s like me hanging the cop $75 and him telling me to have a nice day, Tijuana-style.

    • Curious says:

      Just to clarify, this is considered a non-moving violation? It doesn’t add points to your record and it is not reported to the insurance company?

  5. Cap says:

    ticket assassin is by far, the best resource for fighting a traffic violation ticket (in california)

    numerous friends of my tried the system reference out and most have positive result. I wonder do they still have that honor system to download first, then send in money second. heh.

    gotta agree w/ the choice too, especially since you did run it. there was a few times where I got my mugshot taken at the light due to the detection’s error.. and never once was a ticket mailed out.

    the one time I did ran a light was also the first time caught by the camera, luckily it was also the first time I got the car.. so no license plate.

  6. Rob Carlson says:

    There’s a state minimum for the yellow portion of a traffic light. I think it’s 3 seconds. If you can prove that the light was not following it (and therefore giving you a reasonable chance at the speed limit to come to a controlled stop), there’s a chance to beat it. That’s all I know. I drive like a 80 year old, so I’ve never had the chance to find out.

  7. jim says:

    Yeah, I’ve read about that but nothing on the letter indicates the yellow light time and I believe you have to get them to calibrate it or something to figure out the actual time it gave you. What if they go calibrate it, find out it exceeds that time, do I have to pay for the cost of the cop to go out there? I guess I could’ve but unless it was an easy eyeball check, forget it.

  8. FMF –
    Yellow means prepare to stop….trying to beat a yellow light is illegal if it turns red while you are in the intersection. According to police when you are approaching a light, you should be prepared to stop (ie not try to keep going because it’s yellow).

  9. Joshua says:

    Last night, i was driving and i was on the phone with someone. The light turned yellow but i didnt stop cuz i didnt wanna slam the break and endup skidding in the middle fo the intersection. The light was literaly about 1 second before it turned red. Im pretty sure about it cuz i even counted in the back of my head instead of responding the person on the phone i was talking to.

  10. Melinda says:

    Ticket Assassin doesn’t provide that much information and they are completely unresponsive to emails. I tried to fight my ticket with them and they took my $25 and never provided any assistance. What a shame.

  11. Anthony says:

    I second what Melinda said.. I paid them in January and even filed a request to get access to their exclusive membership area and have yet to hear anything from them. Don’t give them a dime unless you feel generous. Another option is to check with the National Motorists Association however their legal kit is a bit pricey.

  12. Cali Girl says:


    1.) MOST information that’s helpful is FREE on the site. You can access it as a non-paying member. But honestly, you can find most of it online via your local DMV or courthouse information already. A google search also brought up the info for me. Basically just look up how to do a TRIAL BY DECLARATION, and if you lose that, then you can request a new trial. You can also search the DMV database to find specifics on the actual law you broke by it’s number. EG: “Basic Speed Law”, etc.

    2.) The promise “Patrick” Bernard Mulroy makes to give you personal advice via email is a total and complete LIE. He WILL NOT respond to ANY email sent to EITHER email address he gives you after you pay and register, NOR will he respond to the unpaid form email you can send directly from the site. I did several tests with all email addresses given (including the “URGENT” email address that he promises to respond back to before 24-48 hours). In the tests I did, I emailed from different email addresses I own, just to see if he would respond to one person and not another for some reason. This went on for several months. [B][U]HE NEVER REPLIED ONE SINGLE TIME TO ANY EMAILS I SENT TO HIM. NEVER. [/U][/B] When you email him as a paid member, you aren’t just emailing to a person. Your email generates a “post” on a help board and it states on there that someone from his website will post a response back. NOTHING comes of this. EVER.

    In my case, I paid the $25 specifically so that I could ask him directly what to do in my own ticket situation. All that I got for the $ was “access” to a couple examples that someone might use in their ticket defense. In my case, none of them applied and all I got a ticket for was breaking the speed law. The examples they had online (I think there were three??) all didn’t apply to me, so I needed to specifically ask him about my scenario. For example, one of the questions I had was about “laser” versus “radar”.

    Because I paid through Paypal, they do NOT, repeat, DO NOT refund your money for services not rendered. Not receiving the service you were promised and paid for does not warrant a refund from Paypal, they simply do not care. Please keep this in mind. You will NOT get your money back.

    TICKET ASSASSIN IS A SCAM. Please do not become yet another victim scammed by this dishonest person. Charging for access to free advice would be fine if that’s what the $25 was for… but to PROMISE to give one on one personal advice and simply refuse to even answer one email after several months is not only appalling, but is FRAUD.

    You have been warned.

  13. cj says:

    I registered and paid by credit card on the 14th of April, 08. My card was charged on the 15th. They still show me as unpaid. No response to myriad email requests on my part. It’s clearly a scam. DON’T USE TICKET ASSASSIN!

  14. mary jane says:

    i have to agree with all the other folks about the patrick mulroy and his ticket assassin website. i got a ticket for red light/limit line violation and i kept trying to email him and he never responded, NEVER! Even after several attempts. he is a joke and his website is a scam – be warned. if you have a special situation that you need help with you can forget it, and THATS A PROMISE FROM ME TO YOU.

  15. CB says:

    I agree, Patrick at Ticket Assassin has never responded to my email. In fact, he keeps asking if I paid when I did. Yes I feel scammed. There are a few samples but not like the “libary” of documents mentioned on the website.

  16. Erin says:

    Ticket Killer is a much better system

  17. Mike says:

    Just so you know – Patrick Mulroy has a website that may have good info on it, BUT, do not send him money, he will just keep billing after you already paid and he will NOT provide the personal service that he promises. – Use the site for free but don’t send money.

  18. Another Mike says:

    I wish I would have seen this site before I paid my $25 to Bernard “Patrick” Mulroy at
    I also wanted “personalized” assistance and wanted to do the “right thing” by supporting his site. After numerous e-mail to him without any response, I filed a Paypal dispute but I guess that will lead nowhere.
    Fine, use the materials on the site but I agree, DO NOT PAY HIM ANYTHING!!!! You will get nowhere with him.

  19. Another Mike says:

    BTW — I DID get my $25 returned from Paypal yesterday. I guess Mulroy did not even respond to Paypal’s dispute correspondence.
    So it is worth it to file.

  20. mohamad says:

    that was a good thing u did that ya its westing of time

  21. Lee mento says:

    In California it’s kinda hard to fight a redlight camera ticket. First they have you on camera and they bring it in in front of judge on computer. For running a redlight it cost me
    446.00 I filed for traffic school.The judge made me pay 500 bucks i still have to go to traffic school and pay 60

    more bucks


  22. allenJ says:

    I recently fought a red light camera ticket and won. I was photographed by the 2nd and E st camera. I was shocked when I received the fine, $505, including traffic school. I decided to fight the ticket and requested trial by mail. I did my research and submitted a “not guilty” plea, based on hearsay evidence, and asked that the case be dismissed. I maintained that the officer was not present at the alleged offense, and was not present during the set-up, testing, operation or verification and validation of the system. A few weeks later I received a notice that the officer requested the case be dismissed and my bail was to be returned. If I had been found guilty, I planned to ask for a trial de novo, and if guilty there, I planned to appeal the verdict. They were going to have to work for my $505. My guess is it was too much work to actually prove the case and they decided to go after the other suckers that roll over and pay the money.

    • Nelson says:


      Can you give me the wording you used for your response. I just got a $465 ticket in the city of beverly hills (no i dont live there) for making a right turn on a red light and I didn’t stop. I want to do a trial by mail. The only thing is that they have me on video also.



      • Lei says:

        Hello Nelson,

        I am in the same exact situation as you are, except my fine is $480 which is $15 more than yours. Has anyone actually responded back to your post on regards to this? I want to know how I can fight this violation.

        I look forward to your response.


    • Melissa says:

      Since you were able to fight your case and win, I was wondering if you had advice on how to appeal my verdict?

      I lost my Trial by Declaration and have to go to a Trial de Novo.


    • howard says:

      Hey Allen, I was wondering if you could share your declaration? The fine is ridiculous at $500 dollars for a rolling stop. Would be much appreciated.


  23. allenJ says:

    Sorry, this was in Davis CA.

    • Kim says:

      allenJ, I could sure use that info…I am in Fairfield CA and have the exact same red light case. Can you help me?

  24. Thomas says:

    The truth is you are not guilty.Just because a person makes a little honest mistake does not mean he should have to pay money, if thats the case just hand over your paycheck to the state, because there are hundreds of things we do wrong every day so just because the state uses your money to invent a way to catch your mistakes doesnt give them the right to charge you. pretty soon our whole life will be in bondage to the state. then we will work just to pay them.

  25. Glenn says:

    I hate these red light and speed cameras. I should mount secret cameras on police and other state officials and stream it live and record moments where they mess up so everyone can see that everyone can invade their privacy and catch them doing things wrong.

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