Photo Traffic Tickets

Many people just pay photo tickets  believing that the photograph makes it too hard to win. In fact, photo tickets come with a series of hoops for the government which often makes them more winnable than traditional tickets.

Once you hire an attorney we will give the court and prosecutor notice that we are “challenging the statutory preconditions to the issuance of the citation. We typically call this a King Motion, after a case called “State of Oregon v Kermit King”.  ORS 810.436 and 810.439 lay out the preconditions like a checklist.

The precondition I get the most traction out of at trial is 810.439(E) or the sister statute 810.436(d);  which require the government to show that the citation was mailed within 6 or 10 days respectively. Since the cop didn’t mail it the government will have to bring someone who has personal knowledge about the mailing. If at all possible, save the envelope the ticket was mailed in so we can check the postmark. If we can show it wasn’t postmarked in time, we should win!

Many of my clients tell me that they didn’t see the required signage. Most cops working the vans simply testify that they put the signs up and that is the end of it. Judges tend to believe that it’s more likely the driver missed the signs than that the cop is lying under oath. There are times, especially with fixed photo radar, that we can impeach the officer’s testimony with photographs showing the signs were not in compliance.

Another question I get a lot is about the photos themselves; they tend to be blurry and sometimes even dark. The legislature seemed to take bad photography into consideration when they added the rebuttable presumption to the preconditions. That means it is up to the defendant to show that they were not the driver. Typically the government has burden of showing that the defendant was driving but that has been shifted in these tickets.

If you aren’t the driver, sign the certificate of innocence and send it back ASAP. Unless you are a business or government entity you do not have to rat out the driver. If it was you or you can’t tell, hire a lawyer,  plead not guilty and go to trial. False swearing is a felony, you don’t want to turn your traffic ticket into a crime of moral turpitude.

As in any legal matter, it’s always easy to get a good result with a lawyer by your side.