Moving violation ticket - shady, but isn't it just easier to just pay?
May 16, 2014 8:55 PM Subscribe
So, this is frustrating, but do we just have to suck it up? Partner was driving car at night about 15 miles an hour down a poorly lit and deserted intersection in San Francisco and got photographed by a police camera before
the reached the crosswalk. They were so surprised, they did not come to a full stop as they made a rolling right turn at that 10-15 mph speed. They then got photographed again and a ticket for $500 for not stopping in the intersection. I do think that the first flash of the photograph is probably a shady trick to do exactly what happened - startle the driver into committing an error, but I'm tempted to just have them pay. They feel like they were ambushed by the bright flash and are scheduled to contest in court. What say you, hive mind - what would you do?
posted by It's a Parasox to Law & Government (16 answers total)
What's annoying is that they were driving at about midnight down a poorly lit street in san francisco, driving slowly at about 15 miles per hour, to try to see the signage. Slowing down to stop at the intersection, the bright flash of the police camera flashes. This is confusing to them because they aren't in the crosswalk.
In their confusion they lean forward, squinting to see the signage and are trying to figure out why they just got photographed. But here is their mistake - rather than come to a full stop, they slowly roll the car into the empty intersection into a right turn, are promptly photographed again, and two weeks later, get a $500 ticket in the mail.
I asked my partner why they didn't stop but slowly rolled into a right turn instead, and they said that they just had a brain freeze as they were trying to figure out why they just got a bright halogen light of the camera flash shone in their face after the darkness of the street, when they so clearly weren't in the crosswalk. They were a little bit blinded, so they just continued to roll slowly forward into the deserted interaction, turned, and tried to find their way out of the neighborhood with obscured signage.
What makes them mad is that they said it felt like an ambush, because the first halogen flashes on before you've even committed an error, and you only have a short time to process that (so if you get startled and hit the gas, or continue in any way from the police light, you then get caught in the second snapshot).
My partner was going to write a letter to contest it, but I convinced him that it might be worth a court date, so he asked for one. But now I'm not so sure if it wasn't better to just go in and just pay the fine, lest we get slammed for more. We have access to legal representation through my job, which I might nudge him to call, but it's just so darn frustrating because it feels like he got tangled in a speed trap.
So, what would you do? Would you suck it up, contact the lawyer, go to court and throw yourself on the mercy of the court? Go to court and try to talk to the police officer beforehand? We're not on the same page about what they should do, so we thought we'd ask the hivemind.