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How to Get Out of a Red Light Camera Ticket in Texas

by Stephen Thomas on April 23, 2013

About Texas Red Light Cameras

In Texas, as with many states, the installation of traffic light cameras is a very polarizing subject. In general, people tend to appreciate anything that helps to keep the public safe—until; of course, they’re caught and issued a red light camera ticket.

Once they get the ticket in the mail, most people suddenly become very interested in these red light cameras—specifically, what the options are for appealing the ticket. Don’t worry – we’ve got you covered. Here’s everything you need to know:

  • Cameras are programmed to only photograph vehicles that have entered the intersection after the light has turned red.
  • The Texas Transportation Code states that cities must install signs that indicate intersections where red light cameras are being used.
  • Photo Enforcement cameras are used only to cite drivers that run red lights. They are not monitoring other traffic violations, such as speeding, etc.

How Much Can These Tickets Cost?

The average cost of a Texas red light camera ticket is $75. Conversely, the average cost of the same ticket issued by a police officer is $250.

Contesting Your Ticket

If you have received a red light camera ticket in Texas, and feel you’ve been cited unfairly, you can contest the violation. In order to increase the likelihood of getting a dismissal or reduced fine, you’ll need to request a hearing. This process varies from city to city. For example: in Fort Worth you can fill out a form on the back of your ticket, but in Houston you must fill out a separate form. Read your ticket very carefully, and make sure to submit your request before the deadline. Even if you lose at your hearing, you may still inquire about appeal procedures.

If You Weren’t Driving

Occasionally, a driver will receive a ticket in the mail for a red light they did not run. If you weren’t driving the car at the time of the violation, you may be able to get out of the fine.

There should be a declaration or affidavit that is included with the ticket, called the “Affidavit of Non-Liability” or the “Declaration of Non-Liability.” Submit this form, along with a note explaining who was actually driving the car; or if the car no longer belongs to you, include a copy of the bill of sale.

It’s important to note that even if you weren’t driving the car, certain Texas cities (Plano and El Paso are two examples) tend to ticket the registered owner, regardless of who was actually behind the wheel. Provided, of course, that the car wasn’t stolen.

So if you happen to get a red light ticket in the mail, fear not—you may be able to get out of paying the fine. Just plead your case, and let them know that you’re a good driver. If you have any evidence that you’ve taken a Texas defensive driving course, they might just cut you a break.  Just make sure it doesn’t happen again!

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