Saturday, April 2, 2011

Red Light Camera

by David McCarthy

Picture this: You have received a ticket in the mail for running a red light at a "photo-enforced" intersection. For a change, you were actually the driver of the car and not just its owner, And you have decided to fight the ticket. So, what next?

One, you go to court on the date recited on the ticket or on the notice that follows the ticket. You will not go to trial that day. Even in the unlikely event that "the State" (or the City) is prepared to answer "ready" for trial, you will not answer "ready." The case will be continued for trial to a "date certain."

Two, on the date for trial you will approach the prosecutor and ask what he/she intends to do that day. Odds are you will be asked to stipulate to the facts. This invitation requires a non-committal response, e.g., a smile and a nod. By and by the case will be called on for trial. The prosecutor, having no undeniable proof of an agreement as to the facts, may solicit a stipulation to them in the presence and hearing of the judge.

Whereupon you will say, no, and that you want to cross examine the technician who maintains the camera. The state will move for a continuance. You will object and move for an order dismissing the case for want of prosecution. The state will move for a "nolle prosequi" and that will be the order. (The state will have the right to reinstate the charges. The chance of that happening is all but nil.)