Stephen Schultz | November 3, 2023 | Car Accidents
If you’re like many Missourians, you probably aren’t in favor of the state’s red light cameras. Getting fines and points on your license because of a single photo that may not explain the whole scenario can seem unfair.
However, ticketing based on red light cameras is still a legal practice in St. Louis, and ignoring a red-light ticket because you think it’s unjust will only land you in more hot water.
Understanding Traffic Light Cameras
There is some confusion regarding traffic cameras vs. red light cameras.
The purpose of traffic cameras is to monitor traffic flow. They are placed in areas such as tunnels or are mounted on high poles or street lights, and they are classified as “non-enforcement” surveillance cameras overseen by the Department of Transportation. Speeding or other traffic violation tickets cannot be issued solely by being filmed on a traffic camera.
Red light cameras, on the other hand, are installed to help prevent drivers from running red lights. They are enforced by the St. Louis police department and are overseen by state authorities. Red light cameras connect to traffic signal lights to monitor movement at intersections with crosswalks.
The purpose of red light cameras is to protect drivers and pedestrians from injury. If a driver runs a red light, the camera automatically photographs the license plate number.
The number is linked to the driver’s information, and the following details are noted:
- Location, time, and date of the incident
- Amount of time since the light turned red
- Vehicle speed
A ticket for running a red light (or any other driving infraction caught by the camera) is then issued to the vehicle owner by mail. Most red light cameras are operated by third-party companies that send the footage to Missouri law enforcement.
Red light running is a frequent and deadly traffic violation. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety found that red light cameras reduced the number of fatal crashes at intersections by 14%.
Can You Fight a Red-Light Ticket in St. Louis?
Paying for a red-light ticket is easy, as an option and instructions to “Pay Ticket Online” will be included when you receive it in the mail. However, if you feel the ticket is unwarranted, you have the right to challenge the ticket in court. Check the “contested hearing” box on the back of your traffic ticket and mail it back as directed.
Hiring a lawyer will increase your chances of winning a contested ticket case, as they will complete an investigation and organize all the necessary paperwork. They will negotiate with the prosecutor to have your red-light ticket charges reduced or dropped, and if the case does go to court, your attorney will represent you in front of a judge.
What If I Ignore the Ticket?
Visitors to the state, as well as some residents, are often tempted to ignore their red-light tickets. It’s easy to say you never received it, but ignoring the ticket could end up costing you thousands and even time in jail.
Other consequences for unpaid traffic tickets in Missouri may include any of the following:
- Large fines
- Court appearances and associated fees
- Attorney costs
- Misdemeanor charges
- Suspension or revocation of your driver’s license
If you believe your red-light ticket is a mistake, it is much better to plead not guilty and contest the issue through the proper channels.
Finding Help For a Red-Light Ticket
Like most states, the Missouri legal system allows citizens to contest traffic tickets they believe are unjust. Whether you were issued the ticket while driving a truck, car, or motorcycle, a lawyer will protect your rights and help ensure you aren’t punished for something you didn’t do.
Contact Our Car Accident Law Firm In St. Louis, MO
If you’ve been injured in a car accident, please contact Schultz & Myers Personal Injury Lawyers at the nearest location to schedule a free consultation today:
Ladue, MO Law Office
9807 S 40 Dr, St. Louis, MO 63124
Creve Coeur, MO Law Office
999 Executive Pkwy Dr #205, Creve Coeur, MO 63141