Has anybody gotten out of a ticket from a speed camera?

Recently, “a friend” got busted for 41 in a 25 on MacArthur Blvd NW in his little red convertible.

I am being fined $100 or $200 for this, depending on when I decide to pay. I am considering mounting a defense based on the inability to determine the driver of the vehicle. I never though the fogged rear window would be a blessing.

Do you know af any resources regarding beating the DC traffic camera system?

Does anybody know how to get out of a camera ticket or is it an impossible dream?

11 Comments so far

  1. Lawbreaker (unregistered) on October 13th, 2006 @ 1:14 pm
  2. Liz (unregistered) on October 13th, 2006 @ 1:36 pm

    Try to determine whether or not there were any ambulances or police cars patrolling through the area with their lights on at that particular time. I believe a friend of mine got pardoned for the speed/red camera because of an ambulance that was running sirens around the intersection at that time (even though he wasn’t necessarily trying to move out of the way). ???

  3. Maia (unregistered) on October 13th, 2006 @ 1:44 pm

    The infractor won’t be getting point on their license, it is simply a fine as the owner of a car caught speeding.

    Determining the driver of the car is unimportant, and quite frankly, I am a little pissed the friend doesn’t pay the fine for a law they were breaking (unless there was a mitigating circumstance such as the aforementioned emergency vehicles).

    Try observing the speed limit and you won’t get a ticket.

  4. Tom Bridge (unregistered) on October 13th, 2006 @ 2:43 pm

    As much as I hate speed cameras, you gotta pay the ticket for now.

  5. Mike (unregistered) on October 13th, 2006 @ 2:45 pm

    The system for these things is absolutely ridiculous. If you weren’t driving your car the only way to get out of the ticket is to rat out whoever was. I guess for DC the American presumption of innocense only applies if you can provide the court with someone else to pin it on.

    I got a ticket from the same MacArthur Blvd camera. My ticket was for 37 in a 25 so it was $50.

    I observe reasonable speed limits but this particular 25 zone is a joke — it’s a wide (usually empty) road next to the Georgetown Reservoir. There’s no pedestrian traffic and no cross streets.

  6. DCist Martin (unregistered) on October 13th, 2006 @ 3:04 pm

    I’ve been busted by that camera before, but short of having the city up the speed limit, there’s nothing you can do. Your friend got caught speeding, and that’s all that matters. The only way to get out of the ticket — and this is noted on the ticket itself — is if your car was stolen, part of a funeral procession, or it was an emergency. If none of these apply, save the system the time and money and just pay up!

  7. danny (unregistered) on October 13th, 2006 @ 3:07 pm

    Mike, If you were not driving the car, you don’t necessarily need to rat out your friend — you can just ask them to pay you back — any good friend would. You don’t lose anything since no points are assigned to your driving record.

  8. Tiffany (unregistered) on October 13th, 2006 @ 3:40 pm

    I have serious doubts about the reliability of camera tickets. I have a friend who is going to court on Monday to fight a red light ticket:

    The photo included with the ticket CLEARLY shows that the light was YELLOW when he was supposedly running the red light.

  9. Mike (unregistered) on October 13th, 2006 @ 4:47 pm

    Danny, I understand, but it’s a matter of principle. If I’m charged with a crime and the government has no evidence that I was even in the area when the crime occured, then that should be that. The case should be immediately dismissed for a lack of evidence.

    You can argue that I have responsibility for my car and who I let drive it and you’d be right, but that isn’t what the charge is.

  10. Don (unregistered) on October 13th, 2006 @ 5:00 pm

    I hesitate to defend speed cameras, but as far as the principle of evidence of you being in the area – I believe the contention is that it’s irrelevant. The ticket isn’t being assessed against you, the driver, it’s against you, the car owner. We accept a vicarious responsibility in other areas of our life – if a branch on your property falls and damages your neighbor’s fence, you’re liable. You didn’t drop the branch yourself but you’re expected to take responsibility for failing to secure/prevent it and make good.

    Obviously the red light/speeding situation isn’t damaged property and the parallel doesn’t hold for the consequences of the action, but the question of vicarious liability is the same.

  11. Mike (unregistered) on October 13th, 2006 @ 7:36 pm

    Don, if that were the case it’d be fine, but it isn’t. The ticket is being assessed against you, the driver, even if you weren’t the driver! The charge is legally no different than if you were pulled over and written a ticket. DC is saying: “We have no evidence that you were driving, but we’re charging you on the assumption that you were.”

    A more apt homeowning comparison than the civil issue you mentioned would be if someone did something illegal in your house and you were charged for their crime. Say the cops have video of someone going into your house and coming out with drugs but they have no idea who the seller in the house is. The cops would not then just call it a day and automatically charge the homeowner with dealing drugs.

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