December 17, 2013 > Letter to the Editor: Red light camera tickets
Letter to the Editor: Red light camera tickets
Cities that install red light cameras use a Courtesy Notice when the driver's image does not seem to match that of the vehicle owner. This notice is mailed to the owner and asks the owner to "nominate" the driver. Typically, the driver is a friend, relative, or employee of the owner. Fremont, however, in these sorts of cases involving an obvious mismatch, issues a real ticket, not a courtesy notice. There is a world of difference.
Courtesy notices have no legal weight and can be ignored. The real tickets (Notices to Appear) which Fremont Police issues in cases of an obvious mismatch require the owners to pay the fine or appear in court or face real legal consequences which include a $300 additional assessment and suspension of the owner's (not the driver's) driving privileges. To contest the citation, which should not have been issued in the first place, takes multiple trips to the courthouse requiring 3-6 hours or more.
These tickets, issued by Fremont, are made under the penalty of perjury signed by the issuing officer that the image captured by the camera matches the owner's description when it clearly does not. Perhaps as many as 100 to 200 times each month, the officer stipulates to the court to something which is obviously not true.
Fremont Police and the City Attorney's office steadfastly defend this practice. Which offense is more egregious? Allowing someone to use your car or committing perjury?