Don’t Let a Ticket for Running a Red Light Ruin Your Day

running a red light doesn't have to ruin your dayIn the giant scheme of things, getting a traffic ticket for running a red light, doesn’t have to ruin your day.  In fact, as I tell my clients, if this is the worst thing that has happened to you, you’re doing pretty good.  It’s all about perspective.  In fact, you might look at it as a slight reminder to slow down, take an extra 5 minutes, smell the roses sort of thing.

Sure getting a ticket is annoying, but it doesn’t have to be the huge pain you might think.  And it doesn’t have to mean a pain in the wallet either.  The first thing you need to do is determine what type of ticket you received.

A ticket for running a red light can come in two forms.  You can either get a ticket from an officer who pulls you over, or you can get a camera ticket in the mail.  They are both different, and must be dealt with differently.

A traffic ticket from a police officer carries points and is a more “traditional” type of ticket.  The police officer pulls up behind you, turns on the flashing lights, and your heart sinks.  As he slowly walks over to your car, all you can think of is how to try and get out of it (by the way, that topic is covered here).  Unfortunately, in most instances, you can’t get out of it and are stuck with the ticket.  

No worries, really, it’s going to be okay.  

You have three options, but two of them aren’t in your best interest.  As I’ve written about before, you can either pay it and get points, pay it and go to school, or fight it.  Whether you fight it with a traffic attorney or fight it by yourself, fighting a ticket is the only way to get it dismissed.  There are legal defenses that can be used for running a red light, only by fighting your ticket, can you take advantage of them.

Now the other type of ticket you can get for running a red light is from a camera.  These “camera” tickets are the latest and greatest (according to the cities that put them in and have them generating revenue 24/7), but have loads of constitutional issues that make them unpopular (and, if you ask me, illegal too).

In Florida, one of the ways the legislature was able to pass these red light cameras through, was to take the element of points out of them.  So, even if you pay it, you will not get points.  That’s the good news.  The bad news, is that if you pay it within 30 days, you will pay $158.00 (ouch) and if you pay it 30 days after that, you will have to pay $277.00 (double ouch).

Of course, just like a red light ticket from an officer, the way to avoid paying the fine is to fight it.  Successfully fighting a red light camera ticket is different than fighting a ticket from an officer, but it can be done.  In fact, we do it all the time.  

There are a whole host of issues that can be raised with a camera ticket ranging from whose name is on the vehicle registration, who was driving, who is the owner, was the driver turning or just flying right through?

The important thing to remember is that just because you were pulled over, or received a ticket in the mail, doesn’t mean you have to let it ruin your day (or your insurance premium).

Knowing you can fight it, and knowing that you aren’t stuck with the points, will go a long way towards your peace of mind.  There’s too many more important things out there to really worry about.