New York City Camera Tickets
Written By: Benjamin Goldman, Esq.
At some point you will have approached an intersection and seen lights automatically flashing as people drive across it. Commonly known as Red-Light cameras, these surveillance systems were put in place to monitor busy intersections in cities and ticket as many violations as possible. As the vehicle moves over a sensor, the camera snaps an image of the vehicle that triggered it. The owner of the vehicle will then receive a notice in the mail with the image, vehicle information and fine.
While there have been many challenges to the constitutionality of the practice and the validity of the findings, drivers need to know that red light cameras are here for the time being. To better understand the ramifications of driving through these intersections, motorists should have a working knowledge of the system.
The Department of Transportation is tasked with reviewing the footage from the cameras for all possible violations. They then issue notices to drivers about the triggering event and will have a $50.00 fine attached to it. If the fine is not paid within 30 days, there will be a $25.00 late fee added on. Red light camera violations cannot be more than the initial $50.00 fine and subsequent $25.00 fee. This is because of the challenges that attorneys and motorists have made to the constitutionality of the system. Keeping the fines at a “minimum” does not trigger property interests, which would lead to later due process arguments. This argument is also why red light camera violations will never result in points on your record, and why they are not criminal offenses.
While the fines and penalties are not as high as other infractions, motorists do not have the option of arguing that they were not driving and therefore not responsible. The car owner will get the ticket regardless of who was driving. In many cases, the image of the vehicle crossing the line is enough to secure the violation. These notices should not be taken lightly or be left unanswered.
Unlike a redlight ticket issued at a traffic stop, a camera ticket does not have points. However, multiple red light violations can add up to a significant financial obligation. There has been talk of creating registration suspensions of cars with too many tickets. While proceedings are not criminal, motorists still have rights. You can fight them but the fine amount is kept low enough to make it not worthwhile for most people to fight them.