Ticket for Running a Red Light? How to Fight It in Court

Traffic violations are often due to driver mistakes, but there are certain instances when factors outside of the driver’s control come into play and lead to a violation. You may not have seen the light turn; you were distracted; the yellow light was too short; you were trying to avoid getting hit by another car. If you feel like you have a good defense, you can fight a ticket for running the red light in court.

Elect to Go to Traffic Court

The first step is to go to traffic court. Running a red light offense is handled in traffic court, unlike other traffic-related misdemeanors, which are handled in criminal court. However, you must elect to go to traffic court, as opposed to paying the fine. If you do the latter, you lose your chance of fighting the charge against you.

Possible Defenses

Possible defenses that you can raise in traffic court include malfunctioning lights, blurry camera footage, the yellow light was too short, or the lights were obscured through no fault of your own. In many cases, the state will produce camera footage showing the incident, so it is best to examine the footage to see if they can help corroborate your defense.

Prior to your appearance in court, you can ask for your copy of the footage to determine if it shows you at fault or not. For example, the footage may not have captured a clear recording of your face or of your license plate.  If you can establish that the driver is clearly not identifiable in the footage, then you can establish that you cannot be identified as the driver and therefore the charges should be dropped.

What if an Officer Testifies?

Your chances of having your case dropped decreases if an officer shows up to testify. Judges are more likely to believe a traffic officer’s testimony. In cases like these, you can disprove the officer’s testimony by showing that he or she couldn’t have seen the violation based on his or her location. Any defense that questions the officer’s credibility can help persuade the judge to believe your version of events.


In the event that the judge rules against you, you can always appeal. Make sure that you file your notice of appeal in a timely manner. Filing a notice of appeal gets the process going. Appeal rules vary widely from state to state, so check with the court clerk to have a good idea of what rules apply in New York.

Why Work with a Traffic Ticket Defense Lawyer?

It is during the appeals process that working with a Long Island traffic ticket defense lawyer becomes crucial because, on average, the chances of overturning a traffic court judgment is small. Your lawyer can review your case and make sure that your defenses are backed by evidence. He will also make sure that you can file on time.

Working with a local traffic attorney is a wise move because defenses for traffic cases vary from state to state. Your Long Island lawyer is in the best position to advise you on what the specific remedies are, according to the details of your case. He is also likely to be familiar with how traffic cases are handled in the local courts so he can advise you on what to do to avoid damaging your chances for a favorable verdict.

If you truly believe that you didn’t deserve to get that traffic ticket, working with a lawyer can help you get that charge dismissed so you can go on with your life. Get in touch with your Long Island traffic lawyer today.