Tuesday, April 15, 2014

California Appeals Court Upholds Red Light Camera Case

There has been a litany of cases recently by attorneys seeking to overturn the red light camera ticket laws in California.  From whether the evidence is admissible on hearsay grounds to the issue of the right to cross examine, the courts have painstakingly hashed through the legal morass to give some guidance in the area.  This case deals with yet another issue pertaining to these violations.

Vehicle Code section 21453, subdivision (a) allows a city to install automated traffic enforcement systems at intersections that will photograph a driver who fails to comply with the traffic signal. Section 21455.5, subdivision (b) requires the city to make a public announcement of the system at least 30 days prior to the commencement of the enforcement program, and to only issue warnings to violators for the first 30 days. In June 2006, Culver City installed a system at an intersection without complying with the public announcement or 30-day warning period. Two years later, the system photographed appellant as he drove through a red light, and a citation was issued. Applying rules of statutory construction, the court agreed with appellant's argument that the word "system" in section 21455.5 refers to the camera at a particular intersection rather than the entire city-wide red light camera enforcement program. Thus, for each new camera installed at an intersection, there must be compliance with the public announcement and 30-day warning period. However, these requirements are for the benefit of those violators within the initial 30 days after the system is activated and are not a jurisdictional prerequisite to enforcement of the red light traffic law. Thus, appellant's conviction for a red light violation two years after the system was installed was valid. (CCAP).

Matthew Ruff is a Culver City DUI Attorney with nearly 20 years experience in criminal defense.  His articles address the ever changing world of criminal law in the state.