Written by Stryder Wegener
As you pass through an intersection or travel down a road in King County, you may see a flash and grow concerned – a traffic camera just snapped a photo of you. You’re confident that you didn’t do anything wrong, so you keep driving. Unfortunately though, a ticket arrives in the mail days later. What do you do? There’s no police officer to explain why you received the ticket, and you’re positive that you didn’t break the law. If this is the situation you find yourself in, you’re likely asking yourself, “can I fight a camera ticket?”
The Seattle traffic lawyers at Emerald City Law Group have years of experience helping clients fight camera tickets in King County. If you’ve received such a ticket and want to know your legal options, call us at (206) 973-0407, or fill out our online form to schedule a free case consultation.
Contesting the Ticket
King County has camera surveillance to enforce red light violations and speeding violations in school zones. If a driver runs a red light or speeds through a school zone, the camera snaps a picture, and then a ticket is mailed to the registered owner of the vehicle.
When you receive a camera ticket in the mail, it may seem like your only option is to pay the fine. This is not the case. If you did not do anything wrong, you could contest the ticket. If this is the route you want to take, contact a King County traffic lawyer at our firm right away.
What Exactly Does the Picture Show?
One of the fundamental problems with camera tickets is that they photograph only the vehicle, not the driver. When a camera snaps a photo of a red light or speeding violation, the ticket gets sent to the owner of the vehicle. Washington law allows for this based on a presumption that the owner was driving the vehicle at the time that the offense was committed. However, vehicles don’t commit traffic offenses, drivers do. It’s important to note that the owner of the vehicle isn’t always the person driving the car.
If you’ve received a camera ticket and you were not driving the vehicle at the time, you can complete and mail in an Affidavit of Non-Responsibility stating you were not driving the vehicle at the time. The form lists three options:
- Your car was stolen (you must include a copy of the police report)
- Your car was sold to someone else (you must include a copy of the sale documents)
- Your car was under the “care, custody, or control” of another person
Note that you do not need to submit any information with the form concerning who was driving the car at the time the offense was committed.
Other Potential Defenses
If you were driving the vehicle, there might be other defenses that you and your attorney can present to get the ticket dismissed. Here are some of the issues you can raise with the ticket:
- The camera was not properly calibrated or was otherwise malfunctioning.
- The photo is blurry – either the license plate of the vehicle is unclear, or the violation is not clearly depicted.
- There are technical defects with the ticket. It does not accurately reflect the date and time, it’s unsigned, or it lacks other important documentation.
If there were circumstances that you believe justified the offense, contact a traffic lawyer from Emerald City Law Group to learn more about how to proceed.
Contact a King County Traffic Attorney
Just because you received a camera ticket doesn’t mean your only option is to pay it. You can fight a camera ticket and win. Emerald City Law Group works on behalf of Seattle and King County residents who have been charged with traffic crimes. Call us at (206) 973-0407, or contact us online to schedule a free, initial evaluation of your case.